ICT (and Wi-Fi) purchasing for education

Jon Trelfer

Jon is a specialist in supply of ICT and WLAN Installation.

Jonathan works for the award winning ICT supplier, Computer Products Ltd. As Business Development Manager, he works closely with heads of ICT and technical teams, using his advanced product knowledge to advise and source specific ICT hardware. With nearly a decade of experience, and over 400 Wi-Fi installations completed in the UK alone, he is ideally placed to offer his experience and knowledge regarding WLAN deployment, and the supply of ICT within educational facilities.

Website: www.c-p-ltd.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Due to my exceptional mathematical prowess during the very early years at school, I was occasionally given the exalted and coveted pleasure of being allowed to play a maths game on the schools one and only computer! It was a brown BBC, more affectionately known as the “BEEB”. It sat in the library, and received longing looks by every pupil that happened to walk past. Anyone who remembers these BEEBS will now be thinking about the advancements in ICT, and how far we have come technologically in the last 20 years.

Unless future proofing is considered when purchasing ICT, a school may as well cash out the annual ICT budget, and throw it into the boys’ urinal on the first corridor. The constantly changing nature of ICT is very nearly its downfall. This simple fact must be embraced before any purchase order is signed relating to ICT.

When considering the utilisation of Wi-Fi throughout a school for example, caution should be exercised when choosing hardware manufacturers. Although some re-sellers will bend over backwards to beat price – I categorically guarantee that the cheap price will only provide a network unfit for purpose. I become more and more frustrated when I see routers and access points deployed in schools which are designed for home domestic use. Try using more than 3 laptops simultaneously, and the hardware may as well join the floating cash on the first corridor.

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In 5 years time, how many tablets, laptops, ipads, computers, phones, and printers around the school will require a Wi-Fi connection?

Standard procedure within education is to provide 3 quotations during the procurement process. In the case of installing Wi-Fi throughout a school (and ICT purchases in general), this procedure is more of a hindrance than a help. Having a basic understanding of relevant technologies is a much better use of time and resources, and will eventually provide a school with a more cost effective and long term provision of ICT.

I wouldn’t be so bold as to instruct a school on the reviewing of quotations for value for money. Nor would I ever suggest that the level of technical knowledge amongst educational ICT staff is inadequate. I would simply suggest more thorough consideration to the future longevity of ICT purchases within educational environments.

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