Major upgrade for schools’ Wi-Fi and network services

Network Networking Ethernet
Martyn Williams/IDGNS

Network for Learning (N4L) — the Crown company that provides WiFi and internet access services to almost 100 percent of New Zealand schools — has initiated a four-year program to upgrade network services in hundreds of schools.

Under the new support program Te Mana Tūhono (the power of connectivity), announced by the minister of education Chris Hipkins, N4L will begin replacing more than 12,000 switches and 38,000 wireless access points across New Zealand’s 2450-plus schools, and will provide support via its helpdesk. 

The government’s head of education infrastructure services, Kim Shannon, said the aim was to remove the burden on schools to monitor, maintain and manage the internet inside their classrooms.

“Around 200 schools will get their equipment replaced before the end of June 2020. These will be schools with limited access to IT support, and with aging network hardware that is coming out of extended warranty. The remaining schools will be upgraded over the following four years.”

N4L said that, as with previous IT rollouts, it would appoint a panel of local IT support companies to assist with the replacement of network switches and wireless access points, and would be “partnering with highly-skilled technology companies which have a proven track-record of working successfully with schools.”

If a school’s wireless Internet equipment fails before it is scheduled to be upgraded, then N4L will fix or replace it, as part of a programme that’s been in place since 2018 when N4L began extending the warranty support on school network hardware. 

In August 2018 N4L announced plans to upgrade schools’ internet access services with better filtering and VPNs, and with smart reporting tools to better understand and manage student internet use.  A panel of eight IT service companies was named to undertake the work.

A year earlier, in November 2017 N4L announced a program in conjunction with Chorus to upgrade schools’ Internet access to gigabit speeds, and to allow students to access their school network from home over Wi-Fi.


Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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