From Private Wireless Networks with LTE or 5G technology to Wi-Fi 6E, colleges and universities’ CIOs, CTOs and other education technology leaders must ensure their institution have the proper connectivity solutions to meet the needs of students, faculty, and administration.
Wi-Fi 6E is the designation for Wi-Fi 6 mobile devices that can operate in the new unlicensed 6GHz Wireless spectrum. Wi-Fi 6E is the answer to universities that want to provide faster speeds, more bandwidth, and lower latency to students and professors.
Providing this next-generation of Wireless is paramount since 96 percent of students have ranked access to Wi-Fi as the most important technology for studying. It has been estimated that the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) networked devices is going to reach 29.3 billion in 2023.
This is a necessary upgrade to seamlessly provide peak Wi-Fi network performance that support new technologies such as 8K video, Augmented and Virtual Reality, digital resources, video streamed presentations, and virtual learning environments; all these technologies will make educational institutions more attractive and user-friendly, contributing to an increase in enrollment.
What colleges and universities need to do to upgrade their network to Wi-Fi 6E:
Upgrading an entire campus network to be Wi-Fi 6E-capable involves a series of steps that will ensure the change happens smoothly, according to Wyebot, a Wireless Intelligence platform (WIP) for Wi-Fi automation.These steps include the following:
- Study network utilization to predict which areas will see the most improvement in network performance: Upgrading the entire network will take time. Start with the areas of campus which are your main priority. These are the areas with the most dense-deployment of Wi-Fi-connected devices and where students and other end users will experience the most benefit.
- Analyze existing power and determine if support is available for Wi-Fi 6E: Institutions need to be ready to meet the increased energy demand that comes with the network upgrade.
- Work with all leadership to minimize the impact on students, faculty, and staff: Everyone from IT leadership to maintenance to student services to administration must work together to design the upgrade timeline to ensure any disruptions and outages are minimal.
- Keep network analytics and benchmark performance metrics up-to-date: Checks must be carried out before, during, and after the upgrade in order to have analytics that clearly define network performance and behavior. This will reveal any possible incompatibility issues before they impact students.
“University-level educational institutions have been shown to benefit from Wi-Fi automation. In order to support the dramatic proliferation of mobile devices as a result of more e-learning initiatives over the past few years, such as the growing number of personal devices in student housing and high-density classrooms, the technology’s proactive analytics, constant network visibility, and vendor design are needed,” said Roger Sands, CEO and co-founder of Wyebot.
In order to simplify the Wi-Fi upgrade process and protect long-term performance, universities can use Wi-Fi automation which combines hardware and software to automate the proactive analyzing and testing of the Wi-Fi network, connected devices, infrastructure, and RF ecosystem. This will simplify network optimization before, during, and after an upgrade.
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