SD-WAN technology has gained popularity over the last few years as organisations seek to modernise their network infrastructure.
The importance of secondary back up internet connections for schools, colleges and universities
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With the ongoing transition to digital learning, schools can no longer afford to rely on a single internet connection. The UK’s Department for Education (DfE) is promoting using cloud-based technology in schools as it offers many benefits over traditional on-premises servers. However, this means that a fast, reliable, secure primary connection and a secondary backup connection are now essential to ensure that connectivity issues do not disrupt a school’s day-to-day operations.
Why is the DofE promoting the use of cloud-based systems?
All school resources are eventually going to end up online. Finance Management Systems such as SIMS or ARBOR are now being widely used for managing the finances and operations of educational institutions rather than general purpose software as they can be customised and integrated with other systems such as student information and HR. Cloud-based systems, also enable schools to manage their finances in compliance with legal requirements and best practices.
Other factors include:
- Cost savings: Cloud-based technology can be more cost-effective than traditional on-premise servers, as it eliminates the need for schools to invest in expensive hardware, software, and maintenance. Instead, schools can pay for the services they need on a subscription basis and scale up or down as their needs change.
- Flexibility and scalability: Cloud-based technology can be more flexible and scalable than on-premise servers, allowing schools to easily add or remove services as needed and to respond quickly to changes in demand.
- Improved collaboration: Cloud-based technology can facilitate collaboration between teachers, students, and parents, allowing them to access resources and communicate with each other from anywhere, at any time.
- Enhanced security: Cloud-based technology can offer enhanced security measures, such as encryption and access controls, to protect sensitive data and prevent cyber attacks.
- Future-proofing: Cloud-based technology can help schools to future-proof their IT infrastructure, enabling them to stay up-to-date with the latest software and technology without investing in expensive hardware upgrades.
Why do schools, colleges and universities need a backup internet connection?
A loss in connection can seriously disrupt the school’s day-to-day operations, including online classes, administrative tasks, and access to digital learning materials. This can result in lost productivity and learning time for students. It can also be incredibly challenging for remote learners who rely on the internet to access class materials and communicate with their teachers.
Without a backup internet connection, the school may have to wait for the primary connection to be restored, which could sometimes take hours, days, or even longer. This delay can significantly affect the school’s ability to operate and meet its educational goals. The lack of a backup internet connection can also increase the risk of data loss, security breaches, and other problems. For example, if the primary link goes down without backup, sensitive data and information may be lost or compromised.
What are the benefits of a secondary backup connection for schools?
The benefits of a secondary backup connection for schools are numerous, and installing one should now be a priority. Key benefits include:
- Reliability: With a backup internet connection, schools can ensure that their internet access remains uninterrupted even if their primary connection goes down. This is especially important for schools that rely heavily on the Internet for day-to-day operations, such as online classes, digital learning materials, and administrative tasks.
- Redundancy: A secondary backup internet connection provides redundancy, which means that if the primary connection fails, the secondary link can take over immediately. This ensures that there is no disruption in service and that students and staff can continue to access the internet without interruption.
- Disaster Recovery: In case of a natural disaster or another unforeseen event that disrupts the primary internet connection, having a secondary backup connection can be crucial for restoring internet access quickly.
- Critical Applications: Many schools rely on cloud-based applications, Learning Management Systems (LMS), and other online resources for teaching, learning, and administrative purposes. A secondary internet connection can ensure these critical applications are always available, even if the primary connection fails.
- Large User Base: Schools typically have a large user base, including students, teachers, and staff. A backup connection can help distribute the load during peak usage times, preventing the primary connection from overloading and slowing down.
- Cost Savings: Schools can avoid potential downtime and lost productivity costs with a secondary backup internet connection. In the long run, having a reliable backup connection can save schools money and prevent headaches.
In short, not having a secondary backup internet connection can have significant negative impacts on a school’s ability to function, its ability to provide educational opportunities to its students, and its ability to protect its data and information.
How do you install a secondary backup system in a school?
While several considerations are involved in getting a secondary backup internet connection for schools, it is generally not difficult to implement. Many service providers offer backup connections as part of their service packages, and schools can work with their IT staff or a third-party provider to ensure that the connection is set up correctly.
Installing a secondary backup internet connection in your school will depend on various factors, including the type of connection you choose and the specific requirements of your school’s IT infrastructure. However, here are some general steps that can guide you through the process:
- Determine your school’s internet needs: Before choosing a secondary backup internet connection, you must understand your school’s internet needs. Consider factors such as the number of users, the type of activities they engage in online, and the bandwidth required to support these activities. A reputable provider will offer a free consultation to establish your requirements.
- Choose a secondary backup internet provider: Once you understand your school’s internet needs, you can research and choose a secondary backup internet provider. Consider factors such as the provider’s reputation, the types of connections they offer, the bandwidth they provide, and any costs or fees associated with the service.
- Redundancy: Schools must ensure that the secondary backup internet connection provides redundancy by connecting to a separate physical infrastructure or network from the primary connection.
- Evaluate your school’s IT infrastructure: Before installing a secondary backup internet connection, you need to evaluate your school’s IT infrastructure to ensure that it can support the connection. Consider factors such as your existing internet hardware and software, your school’s network topology, and any security concerns. A good supplier will offer a free network check as part of their service.
- Install the backup internet connection: Once you have chosen a provider and evaluated your IT infrastructure, you can install the backup internet connection. This may involve installing new hardware, configuring software settings, and testing the link to ensure it works properly.
- Monitor and maintain the backup internet connection: Once the backup internet connection is installed, you need to monitor and maintain it to ensure it continues functioning properly. This may involve regular testing, software updates, and troubleshooting any issues that arise. Again, using a supplier that provides a Managed WiFi Service will ensure that all of these things are provided within the cost of maintaining your network.
Simpli-Fi’s Managed WiFi Service for education designs and builds fast, robust networks to meet the most demanding technical criteria within the most complex locations throughout the UK.
We aim to deliver the best network design, hardware, installation, managed services and support, keeping schools connected to the digital world.