Are you getting the most out of your network today? What if I ask that question in five years? At the speed technology is currently progressing, the network you deployed last year, or are deploying now, will be out of date before your current class of freshmen graduate. What if there was a way to protect your investment, affording you the opportunity to upgrade as new technologies enter the marketplace and ensuring your network can handle the demands of 21st century learning?

With the demands placed on K-12 networks it’s becoming harder for small (and large) IT departments to keep up and meet the needs of the students and educators. Driven by trends such as BYOD, 1:1 initiatives, and eBooks, new education technologies are being developed and deployed on an ever increasing basis. It’s imperative to keep users connected to the network seamlessly, effortlessly, without continual intervention. Enter the demands of the Internet of Things and you have a tsunami of data traversing your network every nanosecond. You can filter out the stuff you don’t want, you can implement policies to address deployment of new tools and resources, you can prioritize traffic, but the flood is coming. And it’s up to our CTOs, Technology Directors, Network Administrators and Campus Technology Specialist to keep everything flowing so our students can get to the tools and resources they need to succeed.

The FCC has decided that data is king and has made major changes to USAC’s E-rate program to ensure schools (and libraries) have access to funds necessary to update their networks, but many question if that’s enough. I’d like to think it is, as they have included support for managed services programs where the hardware is managed and even owned by a third party which can be upgraded at the will of the school district. These types of solutions allow school technology leaders to rest assured that their network is able to handle the onslaught of devices coming onto their infrastructure, without the hassle and worry of what’s coming next. As we see patterns indicating a looming increase of traffic, districts need to be able to deploy new technologies and new equipment to ensure the learning environment isn’t interrupted.

Here at ADTRAN we are committed to enabling school districts with innovative technologies and tools meet the demands of 21st century learning. We were the first to virtualize the WLAN controller, deploy virtual chassis technology and increase the reach of Ethernet, all of which remove burdensome hardware cost. We’ve recently released the Bluesocket 3040 series 802.11AC wave 2 APs with built-in features to intelligently optimize the Wi-Fi experience for end users! Our research and development into Software Defined Networks is leading the pack and already providing service providers with more options than they’ve ever had.

The icing on the cake for many is our award-winning ProCloud Subscription Service, which won Best in Show at this year’s ISTE conference, and delivers managed service providers an easy way to offer schools (and libraries) the latest and greatest networking technologies at affordable prices, with no CAPEX investment and upgrade paths built in!

So is the network you’ve deployed today, ready for the next five years?

For most of Patrick Foster’s 17 years in the High Tech industry, he has been dedicated to ensuring schools and government agencies have access to innovative and award-winning technologies. As a member of ADTRAN’s Public Sector Development team, Patrick is committed to bringing leading cloud and network solutions to government and education IT leaders to ensure their constituents and students are connected to the tools and resources needed to succeed in an increasingly connected world. Patrick Foster is the Public Sector Development Manager at ADTRAN.