Understanding Device Capabilities

Smart Education Networks by Design (SEND)

A key observation is smartphones and tablet computers will be highly familiar and heavily used devices for the majority of students. Students are bringing these devices into the classroom and attempting to access whatever networks are visible to them. Keep in mind that these are, in effect, highly capable portable computers. As device capabilities and connectivity options increase, and costs decline, it becomes relatively straightforward for students to access a growing abundance of rich digital content and online resources. In such an environment, robust and reliable education networks become a critical enabling infrastructure element for teaching and learning effectiveness. Furthermore, network designers and planners need to operate under the assumption that both the total population of devices and the volume of data traffic driven by those devices will increase dramatically over the next several years.

A challenge that IT leaders must also address when supporting out of school connectivity is that student data protection measures and online access controls need to remain as enforceable as they are when a device is connecting from the classroom or school.  

Mobile Device and Access Management:

Thorough and thoughtful network planning is critical to efficiently supporting mobile devices and protecting against their unique risks. Inconsistent management tools and policies across the Wireless-LAN and mobile broadband — which often result from addressing mobile and personally-owned devices as an afterthought — will substantially increase complexity for network managers and drive up IT costs.

  • Well-defined access policies that consider multiple device types, operating systems and use cases are critical to a successful mobile device strategy. The vendor community offers a number of helpful management solutions and should provide support for the following needs and guidelines:
  • Ensuring devices accessing the network aren’t inappropriately modified and are free of malware which is software that can negatively affect school network performance
  • Ensuring that connectivity is provided only to positively identified and authorized users on devices meeting district or school requirements
  • Maintaining visibility into all users, devices, and applications running on the network
  • Ensuring the transfer of content access policies from in-school settings to external wireless settings both Wi-Fi and mobile broadband
  • Enforcing device-level security measures such as remote wipe, enabling management of lost, stolen or otherwise non-compliant devices at any time.

previous guideline: connecting outside of school