Is Your School Network slow?

Why is my school network slow?

A slow school network can hinder student learning by slowing down classroom teaching and reducing the number of resources available to teachers and pupils. There could be several different factors that affect the speed of your school’s broadband; in this blog, we will look at the leading causes of slow school broadband and what can be done to fix these issues.

School network

Causes of a slow school network:

Old technology

A problem the DfE is trying to resolve is the use of old technology in schools. Old copper wires degrade, which can slow down connectivity compared to a full fibre connection, which is also much faster.

The DfE requirements have now recommended schools should move to a full fibre connection as soon as possible. We have summarised the recommendations here.

Bandwidth/Capacity

In addition to a full fibre connection, the DfE have recommended:

  • Primary schools should have a minimum of 100Mbps download speed and 30Mbps upload speed.
  • Secondary and Colleges should have a connection with the capacity to deliver 1Gbps download and upload speed.

A frequent issue for schools is their school broadband does not have enough bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data transmitted over an internet connection in an amount of time, often referred to as capacity.

Number of users

We have found that sometimes schools do not plan for their future need when implementing their network. When schools has grown in the total number of users since the beginning of the contract and has surpassed its school network capacity.

Congestion

Another issue that could cause slow school broadband is congestion. If every school member tries to open a website simultaneously, the system will be running close to the capacity, where it is likely to see a drop-down in speed. Congestion can also be caused on the network by resource sharing, traffic shaping, google classroom and online backups, requiring higher bandwidth.

Scheduled maintenance

School networks will need maintenance from time to time; this will be done by your school internet service provider (ISP) or by network providers like BT/Openreach or Virgin. While maintenance is going ahead, this can cause slow connectivity.

What can you do to fix your school network?

Speak with your school broadband provider.

The first thing to do would be to speak with your school broadband provider to see if there is any maintenance going ahead; be sure to make sure they always contact you when they become aware of any issues that could reduce the quality of service receiving.

Check your speeds

When agreeing to your contract with ISP, it will state the speed at which they promise to deliver. If they are underdelivering, check whether that speed changes over time. If it does, then speak with them and if the issue does not resolve, speak with a new School ISP.

Check your internet speed here.

Plan for the present and future

Always plan your school network for the current and future needs of the school. Look at your school’s IT plan for the next 3 or 5 years and work out what capacity and service you might need across the 3 or 5 years.

Upgrade to full fibre as soon as possible

This solution will fix any issues with old hardware or infrastructure that could be causing slower connectivity. DFE has recommended moving to a full fibre connection to ensure schools have reliable and fast connectivity and are not limited to degraded copper wires.

Find more about connectivity types here.

Summary

The main takeaways:

  • Plan a school network for the current and future needs; making sure your bandwidth is suitable for any future changes to your school IT.
  • Follow DFE recommendations in upgrading to full fibre connectivity as soon as possible and follow the recommended download and uploads for your type of school.
  • Keep in contact with your School Broadband provider to ensure you’re always getting the correct speed.

Experiencing slow connectivity?

Coconnect is a specialist provider of fast, secure and reliable broadband for schools and MATs. Get in touch. Alternatively, book a call and see how we can help you.

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