Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

The Small District Challenge: Smaller Schools and Districts Face Some Unique Challenges When It Comes to Defending against Ransomware

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

The Small District Challenge: Smaller Schools and Districts Face Some Unique Challenges When It Comes to Defending against Ransomware

Article excerpt

When the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SEDTA) issued its latest recommendations for broadband capacity, there was a major difference in the current report as compared to the 2012 report related to how it handles estimates based on district size. One particularly interesting note is how it considers smaller school systems.

In 2012, the State Education Technology Directors Association's original set of bandwidth goals offered a lone minimum. By the 2017-2018 academic year, every school should aspire to provide Internet access speeds of 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) for every 1000 users; whether those were students, staff or guests.

In the report just issued, "The Broadband Imperative II: Equitable Access for Learning," SETDA reexamined their recommended capacity from the perspective of school size.

While medium school districts (those with around 3,000 students) stayed the course at 1 Megabit per second (Mbps) per student for 2017-2018, smaller districts (fewer than 1,000 students) now have a target of at least 1.5 Mbps per user with a minimum of 100 Mbps for the district. Large school systems (those with more than 10,000 students) have a goal of at least 0.7 Gbps per 1,000 users.

SETDA bases its recommendations on "research, analysis of data sets from districts across eight states regarding both capacity and usage, and consultation with experts in the field." The report emphasizes, "some districts will need more than the recommendations depending upon their digital learning environments."

Study the math for a moment, though, and you'll quickly realize that smaller districts are actually being pushed to have more capacity per user than mid-sized and large districts. "Basic administrative and automation functions" consume a larger proportion of the overall network usage. That actually increases the per-user bandwidth requirement.

For example, the report states, "an extremely small school with 15 students and a 1.5 Mbps per user connection technically meets the current connectivity requirement, but they don't have enough bandwidth for more than a few intensive bandwidth activities at the same time. …

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