Understanding the basics of school district networks: Network Essentials for Superintendents

Technology-rich classrooms that enable digital learning are not possible unless high-speed broadband gets there first—and that often means upgrading a school district’s network. As with all major district-wide initiatives, superintendents and district leaders play a critical role in ensuring the necessary network upgrades happen. With this in mind, EducationSuperHighway developed Network Essentials for Superintendents, a guide to help leaders accomplish successful network upgrades in their districts.

Network Essentials for Superintendents makes the best practices we’ve seen across districts available – and actionable – for the benefit of other superintendents and district leaders looking to upgrade their network to support digital learning. This post is the first in a three-part series highlighting key points from the guide—you can also download the full version of the guide here.

The first step in leading a successful network upgrade is to understand the basic structure of a school district’s network. With a good grasp of the fundamentals of a district’s network setup, superintendents will be able to better communicate with their tech team and network vendors.

The diagram below provides a high-level overview of a basic district network:
school-district-network

Now take a closer look at a network within an individual school building—this is the Local Area Network or LAN.

school-LAN

With this basic network layout knowledge at hand, the next step is to plan for the upgrade—planning will include determining bandwidth need, a timeline, and putting together a strong upgrade team. Next week we’ll share how to estimate the amount of bandwidth your network needs to meet your digital education goals. Can’t wait? Download a free copy of Network Essentials for Superintendents.