E-Rate and Network Management – How Simple It Can Be with the Right Partner

For today’s K-12 schools, technology and teaching have become intertwined. Students, faculty, and administrators rely on your school’s network to support their online teaching and learning needs.

Yet, upgrading to a state-of-the-art network will put a strain on most schools’ minimal budgets. The result? Everyone is leaning even harder on your IT staff. These small teams are now flooded with request to solve constant issues with slow and unreliable connectivity – your IT department is likely operating at capacity. And that’s before you even consider trying to incorporate new technology.

You know E-Rate funds are available to ease this burden, but the process can feel so cumbersome you may be reluctant to put yet another demand on your IT staff. Extreme Networks has a better formula.

For over 20 years, we’ve helped schools use E-Rate funds to obtain an eligible solution for simple network management so that they can optimize learning outcomes across the student body. Our culture of agility ensures we fully comprehend and cater to your school’s specific needs.

Understanding the Background and Current Priorities

In bygone days, most people took the term “networking” to mean human connections for outcomes such as securing employment, gaining university acceptance, or making a big break in a given industry. Today it’s a commonly known IT term. Regardless of etymology and whether it refers to online connections or human ones, at its core, networking is always about the same thing – a flow of information that leads to greater opportunities.

Although we’ve gone from chalkboards and projectors to computer screens and live video streaming, when it comes to educational opportunities, the big picture remains consistent: To be effective, teaching and learning have to complement one another. This collaboration requires staff to be equipped with the necessary tools to optimize the student learning environment. Teachers need reliable connectivity to support planning, organization, and control throughout the school year to create the best possible lesson plans. To create the best possible lesson plans, teachers need reliable connectivity to support planning, organization, and control throughout the school year.

Next, students need access to their digital learning tools and a network with enough capacity to support them. Technology has to be easy to use and adaptive, so progress isn’t impeded by issues like slow downloads and uploads, lag time, or outdated and incompatible interfaces, just to name a few common tech bugaboos in today’s academic environment.

Bottom line? Your network affects everyone and everything at your school. It needs to be simple to manage and convenient to update. Yet, for most schools, this is far from the case. How much of this sounds familiar?

  • Your IT staff are unhappy because they have insufficient technology and unreliable equipment.
  • They’re doing their best to address faculty, administration, parents, and students requests, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
  • The combination of limited staff and a lackluster network has led to a significant distrust of the technology and your IT team.
  • All of these factors have undermined collaboration and detracted from your school’s mission of education.

None of this has to be the case when you have a technology provider capable of improving the network and simplifying its management. Better yet, the right vendor will deliver an E-Rate eligible solution, so you can make the most of your budget.

Improving Network Management and Educational Outcomes

With modern wired and wireless network management, you can take the stress away from your IT team by ensuring your network is easy to manage. A user-friendly interface will immediately lessen the volume of tickets from frustrated non-IT staff. By moving away from aging and cumbersome infrastructure, all team can more easily troubleshoot minor problems and work more efficiently.

Once your IT department is freed up to focus on their true mission, their operational efficiency will experience measurable improvement. The right network provider will deliver artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered analytics for enhanced situational awareness, so network operators can get ahead of bottlenecks, maintain connectivity, and keep the information flowing.

This technology will also boost their ability to analyze application and Wi-Fi usage trends, so operators are empowered to make the changes to enrich communication and engagement for faculty, administrators, students, and their families.

Cloud-driven networking makes all this possible by giving your IT staff more control of your network’s overall performance via fabric technology. With a modern cloud computing platform composed of an interconnected web of servers, high-speed connections, and switches, your network operators can easily add, move, and change your network configuration. Deployment is painless with on-premises and private or public cloud options. Now you can extend your network best-suited to your school’s needs.

IT professionals in education have attested to these benefits. “As a district, we are committed to leveraging technology to develop and improve student learning and prepare our students for today’s technical workforce,” said Jason Jones, Director of Technology at Wyoming Area School District. There was an urgent need to provide our users with a reliable, high-performance enterprise wireless environment. By leveraging Extreme Networks’ technology, not only have we implemented an entire wireless network that supports BYOD, but we’ve also deployed a virtual desktop infrastructure that allows our IT team to centrally manage the entire network from a single screen.”

Extreme Networks delivers machine learning, artificial intelligence, analytics, and automation to make simple network management a reality. And when it comes to E-Rate, our agile staff are with you for every step of the digital transformation

Learn More

To learn more about how we can help you use E-Rate funds to simplify network management for your IT team, check out the Extreme Networks E-Rate Resource Center.

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