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Back-to-School Tip #1: How Intelligent WAN Optimization Advances K12 Digital Learning

Posted by Resilient Intelligent Networks on Sep 13, 2017 5:27:53 PM

School is back in session.  With the start of a new year comes the need to create safe, dynamic digital learning environments to enhance teaching and student engagement with online instruction and testing resources. Will your network be able to deliver the bandwidth, performance and security they require?

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In today’s hyper-connected world, educational resources are constantly competing for bandwidth with traffic generated by an array of BYOD devices and apps. New testing regimes require online testing access for all students while emerging initiatives like Google Apps for Education, Pearson and YourTutor drive the growing use of mobile devices in the classroom. In fact, more than 50 percent of teachers now say they have a 1:1 ratio of students to devices, up 10 percent from just a year earlier.

It’s not surprising then that mobile learning, followed by bandwidth and network capacity, is education IT leaders’ No. 1 and 2 priorities for the coming school year. Unfortunately, 63 percent don’t have adequate bandwidth to support digital learning. More than half of education technology professionals say their IT budgets are flat this year and unable to meet today’s needs, never mind the ever-increasing demands of the future.

Tips to Bring K-12 Bandwidth Up to Speed

To provide optimal network and internet connectivity under such tight budget constraints, many education technology professionals are turning to intelligent WAN optimization to:

  • Prioritize critical learning applications. With most students having one (and often more) mobile devices at their fingertips during the school day, it’s no surprise that your network is burdened by non-educational traffic to sites like Snapchat, Spotify, Instagram and more. With no way to prioritize educational apps over recreational apps, school networks quickly bog down, delivering poor service across the board.

  • Avoid costly bandwidth upgrades. School networks need the ability to block/limit unnecessary traffic (think video streaming, online gaming, etc.) during peak school hours while ensuring critical learning applications get high priority. Without the ability to allocate the right bandwidth to the right users, applications, devices and locations at the right time, critical learning initiatives cannot succeed.

  • Safeguard funding. Funding programs such as  E-rate are often tied to legislative initiatives like the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which makes the IT department responsible for students’ online safety. Unfortunately, if tech-savvy students are using virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass firewalls and content filters to access networks like TOR or download inappropriate content, all bets are off. Once your CIPA compliance is in question, so is your funding.

How Intelligent WAN Optimization Advances Digital Learning

Exinda’s Network Orchestrator for WAN Optimization checks off all three boxes. It combines interactive analytics, an intelligent recommendation engine and powerful traffic-shaping, bandwidth monitoring and WAN optimization capabilities to drive digital learning success factors including:

  • Prioritizing bandwidth for critical applications — ensuring they’re supported by the right resources at the right time

  • Enforcing appropriate network use and making sure you always have proof of compliance at your fingertips.

  • Supporting reliable, secure student access, and at the same time, simplifying the task of managing bandwidth allocation across all users, devices and apps.

As a partner of Exinda, Resilient can help ensure your students and educators have the on-demand bandwidth they need to succeed. We specialize in creating advanced networking and security solutions to safeguard K-12 networks from threats while meeting regulatory compliance. Contact us to learn more or schedule a demo.

Topics: traffic shaping, bandwidth management, network visibility, app performance, wan optimization, critical learning applications, digital learning

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