Districts Face Considerable Challenges With School Technology Upgrades

schools face technology upgrade challenges

According to an Ecessa infographic, all but 1 percent of schools predict that they will need to increase bandwidth before the 2016-2017 school year begins. Oftentimes, when administrators take a look at their school technology connectivity needs, they realize that the legacy systems they have in place for Internet access simply aren’t cutting it. As a result, district decision-makers examine the possibility of a technology upgrade. However, this process can come with significant challenges that must be addressed for successful adoption of new connected systems.

The infographic noted that one of the biggest obstacles to infrastructure upgrades in the education space is cost, and these concerns are by no means unfounded. For example, one district in Montana recently estimated how much it would cost to update its aging infrastructure, including core wiring, servers and other infrastructure components. The Missoulian reported that all told, an infrastructure update would run the district more than $3 million.

This cost only includes the purchase and deployment of the upgrade, and does not take into account any maintenance or other subsequent costs. The infographic pointed out that these ongoing expenditures are also a top reason for concern, especially when access to state and federal funding is often difficult to come by. Although the FCC has taken steps to bolster it E-Rate modernization initiative, less than 10 percent of school administrators think that this funding will be available to address their individual infrastructure upgrading issues.

Schools can’t put off infrastructure updates
However, in today’s educational sector, these updates cannot wait. The Wall Street Journal reported that about 72 percent of schools have connectivity resources that are too slow to fully realize the benefits of digital learning. In fact, the average school has the network bandwidth speed of a typical American home, despite the fact that schools serve 200 times as many users.

“Just as people are getting excited about the power of what the Internet offers to students and teachers, they are running into the buzz saw of infrastructure,” Evan Marwell, EducationSuperHighway CEO, told The Wall Street Journal.

Furthermore, Richard Culatta, Education Department office of educational technology director, pointed out that right now, a number of countries have better connectivity resources available for students than the U.S. offers.

“If we don’t put significant national focus on the problem, it will simply perpetuate,” Culatta said.

Thankfully, Ecessa has specialized solutions to solve these such issues in a cost-effective manner. For schools operating on WAN technology, Ecessa’s WAN virtualization can maximize existing resources so that expenditures are reduced while the network is optimized for never-down access to online educational materials.