The Unknown Network, a study commissioned by Aerohive Networks of 560 IT decision makers in schools, found widespread dissatisfaction in the current deployment of Wi-Fi services. The findings show that 92% of IT decision makers in schools recognise the importance of high-quality Wi-Fi for the learning experience but only 41% of respondents feel they have deployed Wi-Fi that provides enough visibility and control to support students with their learning. According to the study, while access to budgets remains competitive, investment in Wi-Fi and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) connectivity solutions will be a major priority for a large proportion of IT managers in 2016.
Respondents believe high quality Wi-Fi will most likely improve learning outcomes for IT/technology, science, and maths. This is a significant finding, given that global demand for a workforce skilled in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects continues to grow. However, only 42% of IT managers feel they have the controls in place to manage an influx of new devices and a lack of network intelligence means many cannot meet their school’s Wi-Fi demands. This has created what Aerohive terms as the ‘network of the unknown,’ preventing schools from fulfilling their duty of care to students and providing the best learning experience.
A staggering 95% of IT managers feel teachers and students aren’t satisfied with school Wi-Fi systems. The underlying problem is revealed to be poor visibility over the portfolio of devices being used, and how they are being used, leading to a lack of control. Without this network of intelligence, IT managers suggest that they are unable to plan for Wi-Fi demand and cannot meet the teaching needs of their schools. A total of 78% of educational establishments think they will need to review and update their Wi-Fi provision within the next year to compete with the best schools in their area. For some, the need is even more pressing: 48% think that this review needs to happen now or within the next 6 months.
Using network intelligence to respond to new developments, schools have a better chance of mitigating duty-of-care concerns, reducing improper use of bandwidth, and ensuring that Wi-Fi provision fulfils its main purpose- improving learning outcomes for students.