Do you know such or similar statements? "The Wi-Fi at home works much better than the one at school." "Our school Wi-Fi is so slow." "Our teachers don't get along with the Wi-Fi." Or worst case scenario: "Bypassing the school firewall is super easy." The best prevention against such experience reports is a well-planned and powerful school network and Wi-Fi.
LANCOM is specialist in digital equipment for schools and offers experienced support for the digitilization of schools and other educational institutions with a fully comprehensive school network package that is fast, secure, and GDPR-compliant. For a school Wi-Fi that will be free from statements as above.
Wi-Fi in schools is fundamentally important for equal opportunities in education. A modern school network takes all needs and user groups into account – in the simplest possible way and as granular as required.
Secure access, reliable data transmission, and simple operation of the systems are essential for digitilization projects – especially in educational institutions. These requirements apply equally to a school with 50 students and a campus with 5,000 learners. In addition, there are school-specific issues such as special building characteristics, daily processes, and a high level of responsibility for the children and young people.
Udens College: "The biggest advantage is the scalability and flexibility of Whyless and LANCOM. For example, we can now limit the signal strength for each access point. [...] In the latest firmware update, LANCOM has added the option to block multicast traffic. It is always a positive experience when your supplier listens to your needs."
Joey Aben, network administrator of Udens College
A Wi-Fi tailored to everyday school life supports all typical usage scenarios – individual research, video conferencing, collaboration and communication via learning platforms, and applications such as class books and digital timetables. 30 uploads at the same time are commonplace – people often underestimate the amount of data a school network has to cope with.
Teachers and students use a wide variety of stationary and mobile devices. Ideally, they are allowed to access the school network with the school's tablets, but also with private notebooks or smartphones (BYOD: bring your own device). In addition, there are wired or Wi-Fi-capable work devices: whiteboards or digital boards, projectors, printers, and servers.
High-speed Internet is needed for all these scenarios, user groups, and devices. Hybrid learning that is flexible in terms of time and location, as well as modern teaching methods can only be implemented with a secure, fast, stable, and interference-free wireless LAN and LAN in all classrooms and function rooms. This can only be guaranteed with a sufficiently dimensioned Internet line and a powerful gateway at the school site.
In the school sector, "secure" means above all "compliant with youth protection and data privacy". Children's and young people's personal data, from family constellations to certificates and grades, are absolutely worth protecting. Content that is harmful to minors, on the other hand, has to be excluded from the school network.
Wi-Fi in schools: Knowing the topics relevant to the audit
- Keep administrative effort for school network and Wi-Fi low: simple operation, user-friendly interface, clear user management (e.g. adding additional students with appropriate access rights), different connections in all rooms for flexible selection of appropriate digital teaching aids
- Take into account users, devices, apps, and the network itself in your IT security concept and ensure the highest level of cyber and data protection
- Build a future-proof WLAN and IT network: plan for increasing data rates and new Wi-Fi standards such as Wi-Fi 6E, consider technical and social developments (new digital devices and apps), enable growth through scalable IT infrastructure
Getting ready for the lesson: Build the school network
As a first step in equipping or modernizing the school network, it is advisable to survey the initial situation and conduct a demand analysis:
- Which user groups exist, which applications do they use or will they use?
- What are the reasons for and types of access?
- How many users access the school Wi-Fi at the same time? And from where?
- Which functions are needed particularly frequently? (Example: "Wi-Fi off")
- What duties and tasks must be fulfilled: Data and youth protection, duty of care, provision, administration?
- And what security requirements result from this?
Modern, efficient teaching at the ravages of time
Teachers have different attitudes towards the digitization of teaching. They range from great openness to complete rejection. In addition to the media competence required for the use of digital teaching aids, the didactic and pedagogical quality should be maintained even in digitized lessons and the authority of the teaching staff should not be endangered.
With the appropriate involvement of teachers, however, there is considerable potential in student-oriented, high-quality digital learning, which is sure to increase the enthusiasm and learning success on all sides.
Competent coordination of self-recommended IT
IT coordinators at schools are often (IT) teachers themselves and should not be overburdened by the extra work. Their strong intrinsic interest in digitilization and their prior knowledge predestine them for competent management of the school network.
With clear responsibilities, smooth operation without lengthy waits for approvals, and corresponding acceptance and recognition from their colleagues, they can best use their digital technology expertise for the benefit of the entire school.
Contemporary, exciting learning with the highest level of success
Students live in an increasingly digital world and expect to use the technology they are familiar with in everyday situations, such as in the classroom. Their enjoyment of the school day usually grows when they can use their own digital skills and learn with contemporary tools.
With digitalized schools, modern devices, and a powerful school Wi-Fi, better learning success not only benefits the students themselves, but society as a whole.
Progressive school management with an eye on the future
School directors tend to be receptive to the outcome of a digitalization initiative because it enhances the quality and attractiveness of the school. However, the effort and costs associated with the initiative, which are often difficult to estimate, and stakeholder management are often a burden.
As long as mistakes and delays are avoided through reliable planning, however, the school management is sure to win the appreciation of students, parents, teachers, the city administration, and the state education authority.
Best educational opportunities and efficient cooperation
Parents generally have their children's best interests at heart. They are therefore interested in the best possible and most up-to-date education, but often have very different ideas about this. Homeschooling and communication with the school in particular are areas that can be optimized with a high-quality school network.
If the security of the children and a high level of data protection are guaranteed and the academic success and happiness of the children are increased, nothing stands in the way of a digital school from their point of view.
Data and youth protection: planning the school network in compliance with the law
- Separation of networks: sensitive personal data (grades, contact data, letters, etc.) vs. non-critical educational data
- Access control and firewall for protection against data theft and manipulation
- Content filter for checking data packets from the Internet
Security and duty of care: Provision of a fit-for-purpose network infrastructure
- Hardware components: routers / gateways, firewalls, switches, access points
- Access control: authorized groups and individuals, internal and external applications, protection against cyber attacks
- Cloud-based network management
A well-functioning school Wi-Fi is based on a professional network infrastructure in the background. We distinguish between three dimensions:
- Primary area: primary cabling (cross-building campus network; typical: fiber optic cable)
- Secondary area: Secondary cabling (backbone cabling within a building; fiber optics, currently typical transmission rate 10 Gbps)
- Tertiary area: tertiary cabling (workplace cabling; twisted-pair copper cabling, at least Cat5e, better Cat7)
For a reliable high-speed internet connection and maximum IT security, a gateway or router (DSL or fiber optic) with a dedicated firewall is also required.
The digital equipment for schools offered by LANCOM is innovative, secure, and future-proof. It comprises an overall portfolio of gateways / routers, switches, next-generation UTM firewalls, WLAN access points, ePaper room signage, and cloud management. More than 3,000 school networks throughout Germany have already modernized and optimized their school Wi-Fi with LANCOM.
LANCOM IT networks are precisely tailored to the high demands of school networks: DSGVO-compliant, backdoor-free, "engineered in Germany," and with content filter and BPjM filter for reliable protection of minors. As a member of the "Bündnis für Bildung" (Alliance for education), LANCOM is a reliable partner at the side of schools and other educational institutions.
The education of children and young people sets a decisive social course. The concern to provide the best possible teaching and learning conditions cannot be prioritized highly enough. Functioning IT networks and Wi-Fi at schools are one of the building blocks for this. LANCOM has a wealth of experience in this area.