Business tech
    19 July 2022


    A smart, secure network enabling the digitisation of education in SA

    With hybrid learning being the new normal at most educational institutions, digital transformation has become imperative.

    A network has to enable hybrid ecosystems that encompasses smart virtual classrooms, digital collaboration tools, a plethora of devices, multiple sites, online lecture streaming, and more. Traditional, siloed networking systems are taking strain with all these new demands that manifest in slow performance or unresponsive systems, not to mention poor data security.

    Educational institutions use bandwidth-hungry solutions that require smarter, more secure, robust, reliable, and faster technology to support students and faculty members whether they’re accessing learning materials – onsite or remotely. Having the right connectivity to the classroom, the correct network management tools, and the best software to bring it altogether is imperative to digitising educational institutions.

    The modern networking solution in action with Virtual Classroom

    Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) meets the complex IT needs of the modern educational institution. It is at the centre of bridging the gap between legacy systems and new technology, as it can utilise existing network components and does not require the ripping and replacing of all legacy infrastructure. This also minimises upfront set up and implementation costs.

    SD-WAN was put to the test, earlier this year, when Vodacom Group driven by its purpose to connect for a better future, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education (DBE), conducted a Proof of Concept and installed its Virtual Classroom solution at various schools in rural areas across three provinces in the country. This included the installation of hardware at the schools to deliver Wi-Fi over a secure, Cloud-based Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) network.

    The Virtual Classroom solution forms part of Vodacom’s larger Connected Education platform, which was created to transform the education sector by leveraging the power of technology to bridge the digital divide in schools. Launched in 2020, in partnership with Microsoft South Africa, the platform is a single educational space where learners can connect with their teachers and access productivity apps such as Microsoft Teams, OneNote, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Underpinning all of this is a secure, encrypted network solution: SD-WAN.

    Vodacom clients using the scalable Vodacom Business SD-WAN solution have enjoyed improved network connectivity and security, cost savings, and better visibility across multiple campuses and education sites. The solution has enabled increased, efficiency and productivity as it streamlines networks across multiple locations – locally and internationally. As a result, educational institutions are equipped with a single-pane view of all data used across these multiple locations, delivering better administration for them, and more reliable, ‘always on’ accessibility for students.

    Compared to legacy Wide Area Networks (WAN), SD-WAN outperforms because it boosts efficiency by managing bandwidth availability and usage, traffic routing, and prioritisation of business-critical protocols as well as offering reliable and high-quality connectivity across all sites. It is also unique in that it examines essential network traffic metrics, such as latency, packet loss, jitter, and availability, using this data to respond proactively to real-time network conditions, selecting optimal paths for data packets.

    Why choose SD-WAN from Vodacom Business

    Vodacom Business provides an end-to-end SD-WAN solution, managed by Global experts. We provide both the connectivity layer, the digital network overlay and the digital applications that may be on the radar, like Cloud, security, and software for critical business functions. So, you get all your ICT solutions from one partner who can also implement your digital ambitions at your pace.

    SD-WAN increases bandwidth for education critical applications (such as live-streamed lectures, research material, or other video conferencing resources). Working alongside your connectivity layer, it gives on-campus IT departments a single-view dashboard to help expedite the detection of faults and to effectively maintain network security and upgrades at all your campuses or virtual classrooms.

    Vodacom Business serves 936 multinational clients across Africa, by choosing a trusted provider to set up SD-WAN – you’re ensuring uninterrupted learning in a new era of digitally enhanced education. This is the first step in shaping a new generation of great minds, capable of unlocking even more innovation off the back of technology for a bright future.

    Click here to find out more about Vodacom Businesses SD-WAN solutions


     - Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels