Steps to Consider when Upgrading a District Network


Before launching a network upgrade across a school district, it’s important that resellers and district IT leaders consider all aspects of how the new hardware will impact the schools, and how well the pieces work with legacy hardware components.

During a recent EdTech webinar, “Time for a Network Upgrade?” Jason Wiggins, technology director of Nacogdoches Independent School District, offered some relevant pieces of advice to consider when upgrading a district network:

  1. Plan for the future by examining the present. Resellers should determine the needs of users and what they want to do. It’s important to monitor bandwidth and current Internet usage to ensure speeds are up to spec. Lastly, prioritizing functionality and user-friendliness can encourage user buy-in.


  1. Put security first. A school can have the best network in place, but if they don’t protect it, their users are not going to be able to use it and there likely will be downtime.


  1. Consider all network equipment. When determining port counts, resellers should consider all desktop and wireless devices. Students will typically have around three, while educators can have up to five. IP security cameras and locks should also be taken into consideration.


  1. Secure sustainable funding. Equipment may be top-of-the-line when it’s first acquired, but if IT doesn’t have the funding to support it with updates or replace it when the time comes, users will suffer. It’s critical to help schools secure sustainable funding through grants and other programs.


  1. Nail the timing. Get on top of school board approvals, funding, and equipment acquisition early. This will make sure implementation goes as smoothly as possible. Otherwise, IT will have to work after hours and setup will fall behind.


  1. Document everything. It’s important that Resellers and IT staff write down all of a school’s VLAN infrastructure setups and IP address schematics, as well as processes and project plans. Documentation is necessary to keep everyone easily up to date.


  1. Consider the physical space. Many schools are outdated. Resellers and IT departments need to consider the setup and capacity of electrical outlets when installing new equipment. It’s also important to look at the utility systems that are in place. In the absence of server or network closets, schools need to consider where to place loud equipment to ensure that it is far away from instructional areas, so learning won’t be disrupted.


Watch the full webinar at EdTech


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