Optimizing Summer Wifi Updates: Best Practices

ATLIS Corporate Member Wyebot offers the following best practices for analyzing and updating your campus wifi systems. Whether you are installing new hardware, running diagnostics, or conducting security audits, maintaining effective wifi services is a mainstay of independent school technology department work. -- SD

[10-minute read]

child with kiteWhen a school’s hallways and classrooms grow quiet and empty over summer, it’s time for IT to move in. The summer months are when a school's technology department can look over the entire wireless ecosystem and ensure it is ready to meet the needs and expectations of students and staff when school resumes in the fall.  With a school of its usual day-to-day functions, IT has the freedom to test every inch of the wireless ecosystem and make any necessary changes, without also being pulled in multiple other directions.

To take advantage of the summer, we suggest three best practices for wireless maintenance and optimization: new installation and whole network analysis, diagnostics for high-density areas, and security audits.

New Technology Installation and Whole Network Monitoring and Analysis

For most independent schools, summer is the time to deploy new technology.  This can mean installing Smart Boards, purchasing Chromebooks, or updating wifi-enabled security cameras and door locks.  Whatever the device, it’s imperative to connect it to the network and ensure that the wireless component of the solution works as desired.  It isn’t enough to know that the application or solution is operational; IT staff need to know that the wireless connectivity operates at a key performance level.

Ideally, the IT staff should take the time to run this analysis with every new batch of devices brought into the school and then cycle through testing the entire network.  Perhaps everything worked fine when five new Smart Boards were connected, but what if also connecting 25 new Chromebooks causes performance or interoperability issues?  Finding this out over the summer, when the school is much quieter and calmer, gives IT the time to resolve the issue before it can impact student learning.

Radio Frequency Diagnostics for High-Density Areas

Arguably, its wifi is a critical resource in all areas of a school, but certain high density or high demand areas might require special attention. This could be a school’s library, cafeteria, auditorium, or rooms utilized for standardized testing. If wifi doesn't function optimally in those areas, it can affect a larger population of students, and, since the demand for wifi is greater, the possible challenges are greater as well.  Summertime should be used to test the radio frequency (RF) design in these rooms. This means looking at the entire RF coverage field and analyzing channel selection and signal strength while identifying any interference.

IT staff should know how much bandwidth students require to support their needs. From there, IT staff can extrapolate the total aggregate performance needed from the network in each location. Running performance tests that analyze the entire network ecosystem can validate that everything meets expectations. If possible, staff should run the tests over multiple days to make sure the results are consistent.

Security Audits

Security audits should be run throughout the year on a consistent basis, and there’s no reason to stop running them simply because the academic school year is over.  Run a security audit test in each building and over each any service set identifiers (SSIDs) to validate that the services you want enabled on each network are the only ones that are enabled. Discover any open ports or firewalls that represent a security risk, and resolve these issues before the network is used by hundreds of students, staff, and faculty members.

Taking the time over the summer to test and optimize the entire wireless ecosystem puts a school in the best possible place when its students return in the fall.  IT departments will know that all new and existing, technology does its job, that the network is capable of meeting robust demands, and that the school's networks are secure.


 

wyebot logoAuthor: Anil Gupta, CTO [email protected]
Contact: Diane Stokes, VP Marketing and Business Development
[email protected]

 

Wyebot is the leader in Autonomic WiFi Assurance.™  Our Wireless Intelligence Platform™ (WIP) automatically identifies network issues and proactively provides solutions to save IT up to 90% in mean-time to resolution, optimizing network performance and limiting downtime. WIP's Synthetic Network Test Suite remotely diagnoses and troubleshoots issues across the entire network, and our AI-based engine provides client forensics and 24/7 proactive detection, notification, and mitigation.

 

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