Nov 15 2022

5 Reasons to Take Advantage of Wi-Fi 6 in Your Local School District

Don’t lag behind. Here’s why K–12 schools should upgrade their networks and devices now.

Though the technology first appeared on the market a few years ago, adoption of Wi-Fi 6 is recently surging in K–12 school districts. Adoption happens as devices become available, and IT leaders continue to see new Wi-Fi 6-compatible devices emerge.

This is the same reason that Wi-Fi 6E — which had previously made a major buzz in K–12 conversations — hasn’t taken off in schools. There just aren’t as many compatible devices available for that Wi-Fi standard.

To take advantage of Wi-Fi 6, districts will need the right infrastructure, devices and cabling to support it. Though many schools are making the switch, some IT leaders and administrators are considering whether their schools are ready for an upgrade. Here are five reasons to say yes to Wi-Fi 6:

1. New Devices Are Wi-Fi 6 Compatible

Many of the new devices hitting the market are Wi-Fi 6 compatible. This includes smartphones, tablets, laptops and other technologies educators and students use daily.

Chromebooks remain in high demand in K–12 districts, and one of the ways schools can make sure these devices work well in the classroom is to ensure good wireless connectivity. New devices won’t help push education forward if students can’t get online because the network is slow or overwhelmed.

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2. Students and Classrooms Are Equipped with More Devices

On average, today’s student has three devices, each vying for a network connection during class. In addition to the many student and educator devices on the network, there are classroom technologies requiring Wi-Fi, and some Internet of Things technologies seeking to connect.

Wireless networks wouldn’t historically have been able to support all these connections; however, new infrastructure offers the bandwidth to ensure everyone gets online.

3. Upgraded Networks Are Easier for IT Teams to Manage

Newer network technologies are smarter than their predecessors, with more automated features that can relieve frequently understaffed K–12 IT teams of manual tasks. For example, many vendors offer dashboards, where IT admins can view and manage their networks from a single pane of glass. Management of the network can be done in a couple of clicks.

Other aspects of upgraded network technology include intelligent features such as access points that automatically reroute traffic to another nearby AP when the number of connections is too high. This is vital in K–12 districts, where users often are streaming videos or accessing cloud applications that require more bandwidth.

MORE ON THE CLOUD: CASBs are helping K–12 schools bolster their cybersecurity.

4. Analytics Allow IT Professionals to Monitor Networks

Wi-Fi 6 technologies come with analytics capabilities that enable network monitoring for IT teams in K–12 school districts. IT professionals may have some insight into their older networks, the analytics available with Wi-Fi 6 allow a more robust view.

IT administrators will be able to monitor traffic, hotspots and heat maps on a school’s network with advanced infrastructure in place.

5. Network Components Are Backward Compatible

Just as Wi-Fi 6-enabled devices will continue to connect to older Wi-Fi standards, hardware such as access points and switches are also backward compatible.

This means schools beginning their move to Wi-Fi 6 can run new cabling and install network hardware as part of their device refresh or E-rate cycles without worrying about making the upgrades all at once. The new tech will continue to support their existing network components.

When it comes to making these upgrades, CDW’s team of strategists can help.

CDW can bring access points to the school’s campus to determine the best brand to choose and the best location for them. From that initial wireless assessment to installation services and knowledge sharing, IT teams can request assistance through every step of the process. The team at CDW also offers managed solution services, in which its experts can support a K–12 team with monitoring, alerting, repairing, upgrading and more.

This article is part of the “ConnectIT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology” series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.

[title]Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology

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