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It is undoubtedly a worthwhile exercise for IT and network managers of schools and colleges to consider what is using their local area network (LAN) as they come under more and more pressure.

The rather flippant answer is: “Most things with a plug!”

  • The real answer is rather more complex and...
10/02
2014
What’s jamming your school network?
Posted by Caroline Moore on 10/02 at 03:42 PM Videos and webinars, Education, Data networks, Education,

It is undoubtedly a worthwhile exercise for IT and network managers of schools and colleges to consider what is using their local area network (LAN) as they come under more and more pressure.

The rather flippant answer is: “Most things with a plug!”

  • The real answer is rather more complex and alarmingly long:-
  • Laptops and desktop PCs
  • Printers
  • IP telephones
  • Video conferencing
  • Unified communications
  • Classroom TVs
  • Faxes
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • BYOD devices
  • Digital signage
  • Smart boards
  • Servers and data storage
  • Building management systems
  • Franking machines
  • Fire and burglar alarms
  • Door entry

All these devices are sharing the same bandwidth and are fighting against each other on the network. This all too often creates congestion which slows the network down.

The realisation of the pressure put on a school or college network is the 1st step to addressing your needs.

The 2nd step is the installation of a more suitable network – one that has been configured to prioritise the traffic that needs to be used in real-time, such as IP phones and video conferencing, followed by traffic from laptops, PCs and tablets, and so on.

Segmenting the LAN to deal with the needs of its different users is the 3rd step. Many schools and colleges opt to have an academic LAN, a staff LAN, an administration LAN and even a visitor or bring your own device (BYOD) LAN.

But all these LANs do not mean installing 4 separate LAN cabling and switch infrastructures! The more cost-effective way is to divide one LAN into 4 virtual LANS (VLANs) keeping the data private on each, so pupils cannot access teacher and office data, for example.

And the visitors’ or BYOD LAN will give schools and colleges the ability to control what is viewed via the network on devices brought into the educational environment.

As more and more devices are added onto already jammed networks in schools and colleges, especially as many educational establishments move towards paperless working for pupils and staff, IT and network managers will need to seek out advice to ensure their networks can cope.

Posted by
Caroline Moore's avatar
Caroline Moore on 10/02/2014

Former newspaper journalist, Caroline joined the company in 2008 with no previous knowledge of the industry.

She set about stripping back all the jargon to produce plain English marketing collateral to support the sales teams. Now slightly more well-versed in the dark arts of voice, connectivity and data services, Caroline writes blogs, case studies, data sheets and social media updates to engage with potential and existing customers.

This industry is far cry from her previous working life when she worked as communications manager for Exeter Chiefs and Northampton Saints.


Contact: caroline.moore@swcomms.co.uk