Successful Hybrid Learning Requires the Latest Network Technology

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a shift in education, where schools have aggressively adopted hybrid learning models. Distancing mandates have made it impossible to bring entire student bodies into buildings and classrooms at once. Thus, the hybrid model emerged, where students rotate between in-person and remote learning every day, every other day, every week, or whatever suitable arrangement each school has settled on.

The hybrid model combines in-person and remote learning by integrating digital engagement between the classroom and remote students. For some, it may actually provide a more effective learning environment than the traditional model with the additional flexibility it provides to meet a variety of student needs, while allowing increased focus on those students who are in the classroom. As it develops it may be more than a quick fix.

But, for it to work, the technology has to be in place to effectively deliver the classroom content to remote students. That means not only equipping educators with the video cameras, digital screens, and audio devices to capture classroom activity, but the network infrastructure must be in place to connect with the remote audience. An entire school trying to deliver high bandwidth video content at the same time can create serious network bottlenecks and create poor experiences.

Audio Video Bridging (AVB) technology is designed specifically for this kind of environment. AVB is a series of IEEE standards designed for streaming real-time, low-latency, synchronized audio and video content. At a high level, it works by reserving a portion of available Ethernet bandwidth for real-time traffic – the content being streamed from classrooms. By splitting all network traffic into two pools, AVB switches are able to easily prioritize the most critical traffic – the classroom streams – and schedule all other traffic around it.

Extreme Networks offers a wide range of AVB-enabled switches that allow schools to get the most out of their hybrid learning environments. Extreme’s switch design maximizes scalability, redundancy, density, and energy efficiency to provide the highest efficiency to educational institutions as they adopt new learning environments.

  • Improved QoE – Low jitter, low latency connections delivery crisp, clear audio and video with reduced noise for an exceptional experience.
  • Scalability – As audio and video technology evolves, Extreme’s scalable switches allow institutions to easily and cost effectively match their network infrastructure to new technology requirements.
  • Greater TCO – AVB is designed to handle many-to-many connections, allowing a simpler and less costly network infrastructure deployment that can handle streaming from many classrooms.
  • Reduced wiring – Fewer switches mean less cabling, which saves costs, time, and confusion.
  • Ease of management – Extreme’s AVB switches can be managed through ExtremeCloud IQ, giving IT teams a single-pane-of-glass view into their entire network infrastructure and connected devices, simplifying management and troubleshooting.

There’s no question adopting new learning models has been challenging, but with the right technology in place, the adjustment is much easier and educators can focus on teaching, while students are guaranteed a quality learning experience. AVB switching and other streaming technologies can be leveraged for many other needs beyond remote learning, once things return to normal – whatever that normal may be. With increasing demand to stream sports, concerts, and other school activities online, for instance, the investments schools make today allow them to create deeper connections with their communities into the future and deliver better experiences outside the classroom. But, it all starts with the right network technology.

This blog was originally authored by Robert Nilsson, Director of Vertical Solutions Marketing.

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