Future School IT Network and Technology Needs
By Joseph Ferdinando, president, HotHeadTech.com
If the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic has taught us anything, it is that the world is changing and that it is necessary that we change with it. Services once considered essential to everyday life have been shown to be non-critical, and entire sectors of the economy such as business conferencing and education have been revolutionized.
The use of IP technology has evolved from simply being a way to connect computers, and it has transformed into a means to connect people. Nowadays, IP technology finds use in all walks of life, but the sector in which it has the greatest potential to do the most good is undoubtedly education. IP technology, when leveraged in the form of voice and video communication has the potential to change schooling as we know it.
This can be achieved through its impact on improving security, unifying communications systems, streamlining digital media systems, and enhancing mobility.
The world is beginning to take data security and information safety more seriously, and IP technology offers a unique way to blend a variety of security technologies with embedded security in routing and switching platforms to give your school network the best possible protection. Some of the network technologies available to be leveraged by IP technology include:
- Network Admission Control (NAC): In essence, this product ensures that all devices with access to the network infrastructure strictly comply with security policies. This gives you the opportunity to authenticate, evaluate and authorize all users before they are granted access to the network. It is easy to see just how this works to improve network security as you can remotely control what devices have access to your network.
- Firewall Solutions: There can be no network security without a reliable firewall. Like the name implies, a firewall functions as a layer of protection for your private information. The benefits of a firewall include its relative ease of use, scalability, as well as its transparency.
- Security Policies: You can think of this as a sort of security guard that determines if users and their devices can access your network. It is a scalable, high performance system that governs everything from user authentication to administration access. It gives you the opportunity to focus on the more delicate aspects of management and administration while it functions as a central hub for handling security clearance for users and their devices.
Unifying Communications Systems
One of the most amazing implications of the use of IP technology is the manner it with it forms a synergistic association with other aspects of the network. This means that students can seamlessly integrate instant message with rich-media conferencing, and work with IP telephony and unified messaging to give you all the solutions you need in one package.
This refers to a system that can be used to deliver services ranging from call processing to video and mobility functions to IP phones, mobiles and VoIP gateways. In essence, IP telephony gives you the ability to reach and connect up to one million people in a network of 1000 systems, or a more modest 60,000 users within a single system. What’s more, these services are programmed to be reliable through the use of built-in redundancy systems as well as to be compatible with a wide range of third-party phones and dual-mode devices. With IP telephony, you retain your ability to integrate with pre-existing systems such as email, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Unified Client Software
It doesn’t matter if you prefer to work in a Mac OS, Windows or on mobile; the beauty of this technology is that it seamlessly supports any variety of applications that you may want. It doesn’t matter if you prefer video conferencing or if you’re more of an instant messaging person; all these applications and more are available to you.
Presence and Instant Messaging
This innovation gives you the ability to know when your schoolmates and colleagues are online, and has been demonstrated to boost productivity by a significant amount.
IP Video Surveillance
It is extremely beneficial, both from a legal and humanist perspective, to always be aware of where your students are at all times. This can help protect them from harm, serve as much needed evidence in the event that lawsuits arise, and also help monitor and ensure the safety of sensitive information like exam papers and student data. Usually, conventional CCTV systems are limited by their inability to display recorded video remotely. IP video surveillance provides this and more with noted improvements in efficiency, productivity and cost savings.
Digital Media Systems
As has been previously discussed, the use of digital media systems provides a flexible, scalable and centralized means of rapidly disseminating information to large numbers of students at a time. This means that you can display information relating to tests, reminders about assignments or details about field trips in a manner that is both convenient and easy to interpret.
It is often said that the average smartphone nowadays possesses an equivalent of the computing power to the computers that helped send man to the moon. The enhanced mobility that comes with the use of IP technologies gives students the ability to carry out their school work on the go. It means constant and easy access to connect to laptops, PDAs, printers, video cameras, video conferencing units, and IP phones, giving the students access to all the information they need at the touch of a button. It is also important to acknowledge the role that this plays in fostering cooperation between all members of the school ecosystem.
You can have all these functionalities and more with the use of Wireless LAN controllers which give you uninterrupted access, connectivity and security. Each WLAN controller supports 802.11a/b/g and the IEEE 802.11n draft 2.0 standards, meaning that you have access to a range of tools that you can tweak to meet your school’s individual needs.
The effects of a general advancement in technology have begun to make its effects known in the educational sector. With the use of technology, it is possible to enhance interconnectivity, interaction and learning without a significant increase in costs.