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Cloud-Managed Networking: Delivering A Quality Learning Experience with Limited Resources

Bob Nilsson Director, Vertical Solutions Marketing Published 7 Aug 2017

Cloud-Managed Networking: Delivering A Quality Learning Experience with Limited Resources

Imagine you manage the entire network for a large K-12 school system with 21 buildings across multiple acres of land. Teachers and students all need to connect from anywhere, but your network has become outdated. Your teachers are forced to plug their laptops into the wired network every time they move from classroom to classroom, because of spotty and unreliable Wi-Fi. Bandwidth problems make online testing difficult. As the sole IT manager, you are responsible for troubleshooting problems and keeping the network up and running.

This was the situation faced by Chávez/Huerta K-12 Preparatory Academy (CHPA). The school knew a network infrastructure upgrade was necessary to implement reliable wireless connectivity throughout their two campuses. They wanted to provide a high-quality Wi-Fi experience for teachers and students, with secure BYOD. This was an important step in delivering the best possible learning environment and maintaining their “Best High School” status as recognized by US News and World Report.

The Recipe for Better Learning

Chávez/Huerta worked with their managed services provider, Colorado Computer Support, to select a cloud-managed network solution to support their primary goal of providing all students with an advanced and accelerated college preparatory educational program in a supportive and challenging learning environment.

As we found in our worldwide cloud survey of 633 IT and network managers, organizations continue to grow their networks and user bases. At the same time, the IT budgets and staff that support these growing networks are remaining the same or even decreasing. This was exactly the situation at Chávez/Huerta; they needed a network solution to provide a high quality learning experience, yet efficient enough to manage with a small staff.

“When I was looking at Extreme’s network product line, interoperability with our existing solution was a key factor. On top of that, the ability to manage remotely allows me to solve issues quickly, wherever I am.” – Loretta Cruz, IT coordinator, Chávez/Huerta

Chavez/Huerta set important IT infrastructure requirements for their networking, which have been met by the Extreme Networks solution. These criteria include:

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  1. No More Cables
    Faculty and staff are no longer required to waste time plugging their laptops into wired ports before each lesson. They simply stay connected via Wi-Fi across the entire school campus.
  2. Increased Bandwidth and Secure BYOD
    Students and staff now securely and easily log on to the Wi-Fi to access learning applications. This allows students to work on assignments from any location; they don’t have to go to the computer lab for homework. The network can accommodate large school events where many people congregate in one location. Smooth connectivity in all buildings and classrooms has made teaching and learning more effective.
  3. Simple, Powerful and Flexible Network Management
    Loretta Cruz, the sole IT coordinator at the high school, can now manage the entire campus network and all applications from one central location, on-site or remotely. She receives alerts when the performance of an application degrades, even before teachers and students notice a problem. During testing periods, she can prioritize and manage the bandwidth for each application running on the network with an easy to understand dashboard. She keeps it safe by knowing who and what is accessing the network, and can quickly resolve issues.
  4. Enhanced Learning Experiences
    Chávez/Huerta now offers pervasive Wi-Fi and BYOD throughout their entire campus. Loretta manages the entire network with advanced visibility and control over users and applications. When she is at an off-site meeting, she receives alerts and monitors the network remotely with full control. The cloud-managed network solution easily adapts to the changing needs of the school during assessment periods and summer vacations.

When your school looks for an IT solution that accelerates learning, there are significant considerations you should take into account. EdTech’s Six Best Practices for Wi-Fi Deployment in K–12 gives valuable recommendations. Be sure to find a network management solution that:

  • Provides insight into your applications with application-aware analytics
  • Gives you control over traffic for specific applications and devices
  • Keeps your network secure by thwarting malware, ransomware, and botnets
  • Shields your students from inappropriate content and keeps unwanted applications off the network
  • Delivers easy and secure BYOD on-boarding for student and staff devices with role-based access privileges and user identification
  • Offers simple management from a central, powerful, easy-to-read dashboard that does not overburden IT administrators

To learn more about how Chávez/Huerta K-12 Preparatory Academy provides cloud-based Wi-Fi access to students and staff see Chávez/Huerta Embraces Wireless with the Help of ExtremeCloud. Let us help you connect your classrooms for better educational outcomes.

This blog was written by Bob Nilsson and Bettina Baumgart.

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