What are the main reasons for poor WiFi in schools and how can you improve it?

When your students, parents, guests, and teachers find your WiFi lacking it can be a big issue that holds back learning. But what are the main reasons for poor WiFi in schools and how can you improve it? Today, we’ll look at the top impacting factors and how to address them in this 3-minute read.

Outdated WiFi tech

If your WiFi only uses the 2.4GHz band, SCA (Single Channel Architecture) or isn’t WiFi 6; you should look at upgrading it immediately. The demands of modern computing and connectivity really require a faster, more reliable connection than these outdated models.

Too few, too many or gapped APs

If there are gaps or pools in your coverage area because you have too few, too many or too spaced out APs, then your connectivity will suffer. According to Performance Networks, “Even if you have full coverage but your APs are transmitting on full power, it can result in distanced devices slowing things down or not being heard by the APs they are trying to connect back to. On the face of it, the signal can look ok to you and your device, but if you’re experiencing issues and a lack of APs is not the problem, the likelihood is your device cannot be heard by the AP as you don’t have the same Transmit power.”

Incorrect configuration

School WiFi needs to be set up to allow for secure guest, student, and employee connections. Think about the correct power settings and bands for the types of devices that will be accessing the network. And if you’re grouping APs, assign the controller with specific parameters to ensure the loads go to the right place. An expert partner can help you to do this.

Interference

Think about all the different signals competing for airtime in the world around us. Other WiFi connections, radio waves, IoT devices and dozens of other competing messages could be clogging up your WiFi network. Usually, the culprit is closer to home with the school’s own infrastructure and layout that’s causing issues. Your upgrade partner can help you identify and fix interference that’s within your control.

Incorrect infrastructure

Having an insufficient infrastructure for your school’s needs can lead to issues. It includes the wireless access points, the firewall, size/bandwidth of your Internet pipe, and switches. So, look to upgrade the infrastructure where needed to better capitalise on the faster speeds and more reliable connections that WiFi 6 can offer.

Insecure access

Your students, guests, teachers, admin staff and contractors need access to the WiFi network on site. But failing to ensure tight security can cause slowdowns as viruses and malware infiltrate your connections. To get around this, make access control lists for your internal WiFi and create a heavily firewalled separate guest network to keep the traffic gated from each other.

Outdated drivers

A device driver lets your OS talk to your hardware. If you’ve had a slow connection for a while, your non-critical automatic updates may have been turned off centrally to preserve bandwidth across the school. This creates a compounding problem as school computers will stop getting the updates, they need to properly connect or remain connected to the network. This goes for all system & firmware updates for your mobile phones, PCs, IoT and wireless routers too. These often install critical fixes that make your WiFi connection work better, so make sure you install all recommended updates.

Ready to look at your specific use case? These are the main reasons for poor WiFi in schools, but this list isn’t exhaustive. To improve your WiFi, talk to our team of networking experts. We can help you understand what’s causing your performance issues and how to correct them quickly and easily.

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