Students Who Never, Ever Touched an RJ-45 Cable

By Bruce Miller
Group of K-12 students studying on their school-issued tablets

Students in school today have never lived in a world without Wi-Fi, and they understand and are vocal about the quality of their connection. You don’t need to ask what they think of the Wi-Fi: they will let you know. Last year in 2019, Wi-Fi celebrated its 20th anniversary. During the technology’s lifetime, over 25 billion Wi-Fi-enabled devices have shipped – over three times the entire world’s population. Education was an early adopter of the technology and remains the largest market for Wi-Fi products today. But how do schools create and manage Wi-Fi access that consistently satisfies students and faculty?

Wi-Fi is a fundamental utility and lifeblood for all types of schools. Whether an elementary school or a university campus, Wi-Fi connects students, faculty, guests, sports fans, printers and a plethora of other IoT devices to the internet. Wi-Fi enables the fundamental mission of schools – learning. It opens up the entire world of knowledge by connecting students to their teachers, other students, learning systems and online tests.

Each year, we see more and more use cases develop for wireless connectivity in schools. It is an easy and inexpensive way to connect all types of IP devices to the internet – laptops, tablets, phones, printers, projectors, cameras, refrigerators, thermostats, door locks, lighting, digital signage, gunshot detectors – the list goes on and on. Many K-12s, and most all colleges, have open BYOD (bring your own device) policies which allow students and teachers to bring their own devices to school and connect them to the school’s network. This creates some key challenges, including:

  1. The sheer volume and density of connected devices.
  2. The network capacity required to support them.
  3. Getting the devices to easily connect without IT assistance.
  4. Ensuring only authorized users are connecting.
  5. Quickly and easily solving any issues across thousands of users and devices.

Cambium Networks has been supporting the learning mission of educational institutions for over 13 years by delivering wireless connectivity that just works, making wireless a true utility – anytime, anywhere. Collectively, the Xirrus and cnPilot solutions connect thousands of schools, tens of thousands of sites and millions of students and teachers to the internet around the world.

Why do schools look to Cambium Networks to support their Wi-Fi needs?

  • Scalable performance – Wireless just needs to work, no matter where you are on campus. Connectivity needs vary greatly across a campus, from offices to lobbies, classrooms, auditoriums, gymnasiums, libraries, sports stadiums, outdoor quadrangles and more. High-density areas like auditoriums are where significant challenges can occur when hundreds or thousands of devices want to connect at once. Xirrus multi-radio access points (AP) with software-defined radios scale to higher densities than any other solution on the market, supporting up to nearly 1,000 connections per AP and multiple gigabits of traffic. Fewer APs are required, which means a lower total cost of ownership since cabling, switching, installation and maintenance requirements are reduced.
  • Application intelligence –Xirrus solutions enable you to control 2,000+ applications to ensure learning is always put first! With Application Control, you can prioritize learning applications like Blackboard, Google Apps or YouTube, while blocking apps like Netflix, BitTorrent, Instagram or peer-to-peer gaming. This flexibility enables you to match the wireless network to the specific needs of your school.
  • Robust security – You can trust a Cambium Networks wireless network. Multi-layer security is embedded in the solution, from fundamental data encryption, to user authentication that integrates directly to your Microsoft Azure and/or Google G-suite directories, to application and firewall policies that allow you to lock down access to vulnerable IoT devices. Security should not come with the compromise of complexity, and Cambium Networks’ EasyPass solution is designed to do just that – make it easy to securely connect and use Wi-Fi.
  • Ultimate simplicity – Managing it all has to be simple as you run with a lean IT organization. Cambium Networks’ cloud-based XMS management system is purpose-built to do exactly this – make your life simpler with features like zero-touch provisioning, advanced workflow-based user interface, agentless and certificate-less device onboarding, drill down troubleshooting and more. Give it a try!

Meet with Cambium Networks Wi-Fi experts at the BETT conference in London, Stand NN-67.

Published January 19, 2020