Education - K-12 Schools
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 And even if they did, the outdated infrastructure probably would not support mobile users.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.
Important features for K-12 schools:
- Can provide wireless extensions to any voice platform
- Wi-Fi or DECT
- Wireless handsets can receive urgent text messages (eg fire, duress alarms, evacuation)
- Range of handsets to suit different applications (eg admin, outdoor, staff protection/duress)
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.
Designed for the All-Wireless School
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.
- Wireless Like Wire. Meru's virtualized Wireless LAN offers all the performance that users expect from wired Ethernet combined with the mobility of cellular.
- Quality of Service. Data applications get all the bandwidth they need while toll-quality voice is assured.
- Fewer Access Points. Meru requires fewer access points on your campus than other solutions, stretching your IT dollars further and simplifying maintenance.
- Airtime Fairness. Each client in a packed library gets a fair share of the airwaves, letting legacy clients coexist peacefully with the latest 802.11n devices.
- Strong Security and Simple Management. The network takes control of every device's behavior, ensuring that applications get the resources they need and attackers are blocked before they connect.
Important features for K-12 schools:
- Support for wireless data, voice and video with QOS
- High user densities
- Ability to provide wireless coverage over large areas
- Simple to install / simple to manage
- Limited IT resources (inhouse expertise and budget)
- Support for simultaneous multiple:
- Wi-Fi clients (a/b/g/n) - Meru Airtime Fairness means WLAN performance is not influenced by slower devices
- Devices (notebooks / netbooks/ iPhones/ smartphones)
- Operating system Windows (XP, 7), Apple etc
IP Telephony / UC
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:
- Lower total cost of ownership: IP Telephony lets schools leverage their existing data infrastructure to drive network costs down and cost effectively deploy telephones in classrooms. IP Telephony also allows schools to lower network management and maintenance costs by moving them to a single network environment. Lastly, IP Telephony gives schools the ability to share applications across the network thereby cost effectively enabling features and functionality, which were not previously available or affordable.
- Improve staff productivity and reduce costs: Relevant and intuitive applications such as Outlook integration for voicemail and fax enable teachers to be more productive and responsive to parents and fellow staff members.
- Enhance School Safety: Having an accessible IP PBX allows school administrators to proactively disseminate critical information to staff and parents during an emergency. IP Telephony also allows school administrators to communicate with teachers and staff anywhere on school grounds thereby dramatically improving response times and improving outcomes during emergencies.
Important features for K-12 schools:
- Outlook integration
- Voicemail / fax to e-mail - manage calls from parents and other teachers from office or from home, or from smartphone (iPhone, Blackberry etc)
- Support for a wide range of SIP voice and video phones
- Presence and chat via PC screen shows teachers availability to take calls
- Supports wireless extensions for users outside of the classroom
- Built-in conference bridge allows multiple teachers to hold telephone meetings
- Point and click - easy call handling for reception to transfer calls to teachers
- Supports both traditional (analogue or ISND) and VoIP calls
- Call recording and monitoring
- Call reporting and logging
Network Access / Security
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.
Managing the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon
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:
- Easy-to-use, one-click self-provisioning capabilities
- Centralised, customisable portals for guest authentication
- Automatic notification services by email or SMS message
- Powerful reporting, auditing and customisation capabilities
- Secure role-based access with granular policy management enabling differentiated levels of access
Network Access Control (NAC)
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
- Register computers, game consoles, PDAs, and other networked devices.
- Check computers for up-to-date OS patches, anti-virus and anti-spyware protection, and restricted applications such as P2P.
- Allow users to remediate any compliance issues without having to engage IT staff.
- Add access security to your wireless deployments.
- Track all network access and usage. Broadcast important messages and emergency notifications instantaneously to all network users.