Education WiFi

How to set up WiFi Hotspots for Education: Cloud Solution for Schools and Universities

May 29, 2024

By the end of 2023, ITU says 5.4 billion people, two-thirds of the world’s population, had access to the internet, but the remaining 2.7 billion still can’t get online. Even though 95 percent of the world’s population is now covered by 3G, 4G, or 5G telecom networks, many schools still have trouble getting good internet and WiFi hotspots. This is especially true for students in low-income communities and rural areas.

No WiFi, no Education

Like many other things, the internet and smartphones have completely changed education and transformed the way students communicate and entertain themselves. The days when out-of-school learning only needed paper and pencil are long gone. Today, students live their lives online and use internet-based resources for so much of modern personalized education. Nowadays, too many educational processes depend on digital technologies that require a stable internet connection.

Reliable internet was a problem before 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted hard truths about the digital divide that hasn’t gone away. Even America’s internet wasn’t prepared for online school, and some students are caught in the “homework gap.” Now, everyone is working to change all that. With the proper Wi-Fi infrastructure, educational centers can create personalized learning platforms and leverage various external resources, transforming how students learn.

Education WiFi hotspots

What should be considered when providing robust Wi-Fi hotspots at schools, universities, or colleges? Of course, choosing the appropriate hardware depends on coverage needs and user loads. However, it is much more important to integrate hardware with a management system for a WiFi network that will fully unleash its potential and provide the necessary functionality according to the educational institution’s needs. Here, it is worthwhile to elaborate on the key points and educational WiFi top features, with the benefits of choosing Powerlynx for WiFi hotspots management:

  • Scalable and Flexible Infrastructure, compatible with multiple hardware devices, matters most for educational institutions with complex multi-level wireless networks. Compatibility with numerous Wi-Fi access points and Wi-Fi routers, including high-performing or cost-effective ones, from different brands, used for indoor/outdoor deployments, medium and large scale. All of this provides the needed flexibility to get the optimal configuration. Powerlynx works with Mikrotik and Cambium devices and accommodates other devices supporting the RADIUS protocol.
  • Centralized Network Management, with control of multiple locations from a single dashboard. Cloud management software allows remote WiFi network management, control, and monitoring. It’s a more cost-effective solution for instantly deploying and maintaining Wi-Fi hotspots without costly server infrastructure or technical expertise. With Powerlynx administrators can effectively manage hotspots in different locations and check other main statistics and network analytics.
  • Customized WiFi Access for students, staff, and visitors. Setting up multiple access levels for various locations and users is quite common. Different use cases are possible here: schools or universities can define the conditions and customize hotspot splash pages for different locations (library, stadium, main campus, etc). The administration may also need individual hotspots with a splash page with a distinctive view of special public events. Powerlynx features easy access, the ability to log in with a phone number or email, and OTP verification. Onboarding new devices is effortless with passwordless sign-in and always secure. Staff members can access WiFi hotspots through a branded captive portal. Visitors can use special paid custom vouchers with an assigned Data Plan tailored to their needs. These plans can include speed or data limitations, validity based on online time, specific days, and hours, or even the ability to use multiple devices simultaneously.

Easily create custom internet plans to WiFi Hotspots for Education

  • Monetization with Ads. Educational institutions can partner with local communities and brands to extend WiFi coverage. Powerlynx’s built-in dedicated AD module boosts hotspot monetization by showing users video and image ads before connecting to the Wi-Fi.
  • Protection against Scams, Malware, and Unwanted Content. Additional services like DNS web content filtering are crucial for school environments with minors. This ensures students can access only appropriate and safe content, enhancing the academic experience while maintaining security. It can be Whalebone on-premise DNS resolver or any other similar service. It’s up to you what to use. All of them will work with Powerlynx on top of your WiFi access points, effectively blocking all inappropriate content.

Meet our Partner — The Project Isizwe

A vivid example of the Powerlynx application is seen with the free WiFi education initiative by Project Isizwe. Following the successes and learnings from Tshwane, the organization is now on track with an ambitious goal to provide affordable, reliable, and unlimited internet in all South African classrooms. The organization already deployed free WiFi hotspots across 69 schools, uncapping education for more than 500 educators and 20,000 learners across South Africa.

Here’s an example of a school in Johannesburg, South Africa, where such a hotspot has been implemented. Check the video below with our CEO, Alex Vishnyakov, and Richard Macalonke, Head of Technical Services at Project Isizwe.

This deployment used Mikrotik equipment and Cambium access points. In this particular case, Project Isizwe uses a branded captive login page that allows users to log in via phone number. Only when connecting to the Wi-Fi hotspot for the first time. Next time, sign-in goes automatically with cached credentials, so students are redirected to a page where they can select a free plan or redeem a voucher. Also, Powerlynx offers the option of customizing splash pages with branding for each location and the ability to log in with an email address or SMS OTP Code Verification.

In this school, each student receives 1 GB of free internet per day per device and can redeem vouchers for additional access. Powerlynx allows customizing everything and creating different tariff plans to suit various user needs, with adjustable speed, time, data, and validity limits. This ensures that every student has the resources they need to succeed academically.

These real-case story examples showcase the Powerlynx software potential for Schools and Universities to streamline WiFi hotspots management, unlock digital learning tools, and improve internet accessibility for the best educational outcomes.

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