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:

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