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Today, the majority of classrooms are not equipped with desk phones. The existing voice system for most K-12 environments is a traditional PBX (private branch exchange), which provides a basic telecommunications link from the main office to the world outside of the school. This system typically does not allow teachers to communicate with each other or enable them to be reached directly by parents. It also does not let mobile staff, such as security and maintenance personnel, communicate with teachers or office staff. In addition, most schools do not have the budget to upgrade their existing PBX and install new phone lines for every classroom. And even if they did, the outdated infrastructure probably would not support mobile users.
Schools also face the serious need to improve school safety and security. One of the major factors in these issues is inadequate communication. A teacher that is unable to react quickly and effectively to a minor problem could see it balloon into a major crisis. Should that teacher be cut off from the rest of the school in a temporary classroom or the playing fields lot, the problem is greatly exacerbated.
For these reasons and more, wireless voice is a clear choice for educational institutions. Wireless technology can be used to extend voice services to areas where it is currently unavailable.
Mobile computing initiatives are changing the way children learn in K-12 environments. Laptop carts, video learning and one-to-one computing programs have combined with small IT staffs and shrinking budgets to drive the need for a reliable and intelligent wireless network.
A reliable network can mean the difference between wasted class time and a session that rapidly engages students in a rich educational experience. Meru Networks makes wireless networks that simply work, enabling teachers to teach instead of dealing with IT issues.
From the beginning, Meru designed its network for the All-Wireless Enterprise: an organisation that never needs to depend on wires for connectivity. For K-12 institutions, this means that a whole class of students can log on anywhere while data, voice and video are carried reliably.
With industry-leading virtualized Wireless LAN technology, Meru delivers the most predictable and highest performance wireless network. Whether covering class rooms, assembly halls or libraries, Meru provides the fastest deployment at the lowest cost.
Both the cost of wiring and maintaining a traditional PABX has historically been cost prohibitive for schools to provide telephones throughout a school. With heightened security risks, increasing demands from parents to communicate with teachers and needs to improve productivity, the model of limited voice capability in a school is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.
As most schools adopt LAN data networks, the opportunity arises for schools to address these demands with a voice over IP (VoIP) telephony solution.
IP Telephony yields several benefits to K-12 schools, including:
Education is a segment which has specialised needs for public Internet access. An educational campus community demands high levels of access to both the public internet and the institution’s internal networks and requires stringent control over management of usage and bandwidth. Both wired and wireless connection availability is expected in almost every building on campus, labs, libraries, and residence halls. Examples of stakeholders in need for a broadband internet connection are students, faculty, staff and official visitors.
The challenges in managing network access are being amplified by the new generation of personal smart devices including iPhones, tablets and other devices that students and staff want to use on campus. The BYOD phenomenon is seeing a flood of diverse Wi-Fi® devices entering networks claiming their share of WLAN resources. Networks must be prepared to deliver secure, scalable wireless network access to a diversity of devices and users
Wireless networks should be capable of enabling one-click self provisioning of client devices for secure 802.1x connectivity.
BYOD Guest Access Management Requirements:
Educational institutions have security demands that are unique. K-12 school districts with shared computers and visiting laptops; boarding schools with resident students and faculty. colleges and universities with a multitude of resident and commuter students associated with computers, smart phones and game consoles - all need secure access to the network.
Add the visiting guests, faculty, lecturers and parents, as well as a myriad of IP-enabled devices and the need for Network Security becomes a necessity
Wireless also introduces new risks and vulnerabilities to a campus network. As wireless technology proliferates, "wired" network security and strong WLAN encryption are insufficient protection from emerging wireless threats. The usage of wireless devices creates a new challenge for school administrators and IT managers trying to maintain control over Internet usage. Students connecting wirelessly to a neighbouring home, business network, or municipal wireless network can surf the Internet bypassing the schools content controls and monitoring.
Without the right tools to understand what is happening in the air, confidential student information may be exposed. Misconfigured access points, a rogue (unauthorised) access point, an employee connecting to a neighbour's network or a hacker sitting in your parking lot - all these can open a back door into a network and compromise data. In order to protect sensitive data, an effective wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS) needs to protect networks by monitoring and defending airspace, 24/7 without adding administrative burdens.