Today’s education landscape is dramatically different from what it was a couple of decades ago. Gone are the days of chalkboard learning and a single campus computer lab that everyone shared. Access to laptops and tablets, online learning solutions and the personalization of the learning experience through digital tools have become de rigueur for many of today’s students – this is what they have come to expect and demand.
Educational institutions, whether they are K-12 school systems, public or private universities or research organizations, are all grappling with the best ways to leverage technology to create competitive advantages and meet these new expectations. They’re looking for cost-effective, easy-to-implement ways of differentiating their offerings in an online and global environment, increasing enrollment and/or access to funding – while also reducing their risk in terms of compliance, security and business continuance.
These trends are converging and driving the industry to the cloud. Traditional/legacy networks can burden colleges and universities with network complexity, strained application delivery and single points of network failure. As institutions make the transition to the cloud to solve their data management and access challenges, they have a critical need for solutions that can help them bridge the gap between their existing environment and implement a more agile and flexible next-generation learning network.
This is where a partnership with Juniper Networks can help educational institutions realize their visions. Our solution portfolio for education, Juniper Connected Campus, provides higher education organizations with a secure mission-critical network built to sustain the rigors of the new digital learning and research environment. Scalable and resilient, it supports a diverse set of devices and applications in distributed environments, whether they reside in the cloud, data center or over the WAN – while removing operational headaches and lowering costs.
Consider our work with Merit Network, which owns and operates the longest-running regional research and education network in the United States. Merit was looking to connect urban and rural users and K-12 school districts in Michigan while supporting new virtual learning application needs. Through the deployment of routers and switches, Merit was able to deliver network solutions to these communities. As a result, for the first time in history Michigan has a fully autonomous statewide K-20 infrastructure.
Another example is Montana’s Missoula County Public School district, which was looking to boost network speeds and better support growing mobile traffic. Juniper helped Missoula transform its legacy infrastructure using products in the Connected Campus portfolio, thus increasing network speeds, reducing traffic bottlenecks and overall modernizing Missoula’s infrastructure and positioning it for the future.
To the extent that the learning experience becomes increasingly digitized, the demands for technology integration and innovation in education will only increase. As the above examples illustrate, a cloud-enabled infrastructure model that provides educational institutions with access, agility and control will help position them for the next generation of learning and beyond.