Originally published on MSP Today.
Communications technology has advanced exponentially in recent years, fundamental to the design of our society. The industry has evolved to become more powerful and efficient as new devices are implemented across a myriad of sectors.
Despite this, many colleges and universities across the country rely on dated communications technologies, such as Lync 2013, to provide an infrastructure that is unable to keep pace with modern demands.
Simultaneously, many of these educational programs lack internal IT staff and vendors who are required to proficiently manage the service, either due to lack of funding or misplaced confidence in the current infrastructure.
These mistakes became especially clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, which placed an unforeseen strain on these communications systems, causing an egregious loss in productivity that resulted from the multitude of voice issues that arose, which made communications difficult, if not impossible.
As one example, while many of these campuses have since switched to Microsoft Teams to replace their antiquated infrastructures with a more reliable solution, many failed to establish new PSTN connections. Instead, they opted to remain with PSTN voice still operating on legacy Lync servers.
“This has led to a complicated, expensive, and underperforming infrastructure that lacks coordination between platforms, causing the otherwise extensive benefits of an updated system to lag behind,” said Jeff Li, Senior Director, Risk, Governance, Partners, and Projects at ConnX.
ConnX is a Managed Service Provider (MSP) and Systems Integrator (SI) serving large enterprises, medium size businesses and organizations, and educational institutions.
“It’s time to move to cloud networking and specifically AI SD-WAN to achieve a high quality, stable, and secure platform for real-time communications, including virtual meetings and distance learning, especially for this next generation of students,” Li added.
As digital learning continues to retain its prominence and an ever-increasing array of devices and solutions are introduced to cultivate the education system, it is paramount that these legacy systems are replaced by scalable and agile services capable of providing seamless communication that enables the learning experience, Li explained.
Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is key to providing this extensive service. This solution capably develops pre-existing WAN to enhance connectivity, stability, and performance, ensuring that programs are delivered consistently through e-platforms, content portals, and online classes. Netify report that the utility of the system has driven its explosive growth, stating that the SD-WAN market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 31.2% between 2022 and 2030, increasing from a valuation of $3.5 billion to a projected $30.9 billion during this time period.
For educators, utilization of SD-WAN can completely overhaul a previously decrepit system with various features and benefits, which include:
- Empowered Performance – Call and application performance is improved alongside an altogether faster-performing network that fully utilizes available bandwidth to brandish extensive productivity gains.
- Enhanced Security – With all applications on one network, policy updates can be instantaneously and unanimously applied, while traffic encryption and overall security are also noticeably improved.
- Cost Reduction – With less downtime that can result from a legacy network, and no requirements to replace existing hardware, the incorporation of SD-WAN lowers routing costs for education providers.
- Better Visibility and Control – Benefitting from a centralized structure, providers will be able to manage an entire network from a single overview which minimizes confusion and escalates efficiency.
- Rapid Deployment – All deployments across the network are one-touch and are instigated expressly across a much faster network.
“Remington College has integrated this technology into its various degree and diploma programs offered on sixteen campuses across several states to significant effect,” Li said.
Utilizing the ConnX AI SD-WAN solution, Remington has overhauled its communications network with various benefits provided by the solution, including:
- Centralized SIP trunking with SBCaaS (session border controllers) enhances Teams Direct Routing connectivity while reducing expenses;
- ConnX Seamless Migration service with End-user training and adoption; and
- ConnX AI Assurance Analytics for Voice Call Monitoring.
“By incorporating the ConnX SD-WAN solution into education, colleges and universities can tackle the issues which have continually proved troublesome after the subsequent move to online learning, which surged from the pandemic,” Li said. “By becoming equipped with a more scalable and agile system, educators can continue to provide an uncompromising standard of learning that retains consistent quality across the various resources students can access online.”
Remington College is a group of 12 private colleges in the United States. It offers degree and diploma programs in career fields such as business, information technology, criminal justice, electronics, graphic arts, beauty, and the health sciences.