How ENT Helps Schools Adapt to COVID-19
Helping local schools is serious business for us at Essential Network Technologies. That’s been especially true since the COVID-19 pandemic required schools to embrace online education practically overnight.
Networking technology has been crucial to this transformation. Let’s take a look at how.
Level One Support Desk
Online-learning technologies posed a raft of challenges for teachers embracing online learning, often for the first time. From webcams to cybersecurity to videoconferencing software, teachers in our client schools had to learn a lot in a short time frame.
All of these new responsibilities require technical support — people who can answer questions about passwords, logins, applications and other issues. Our Level One Support Desk came to their rescue time and again. And that helped them teach their students and reduce technical glitches that would have created chaos in their online classrooms.
Incidentally, support desks have multiple levels:
- Zero — information like web pages and PDFs that users can read on their own time. A question that cannot be answered here gets sent up to the next level.
- One — Direct answers to basic questions from a real-time support rep. Usually, a support desk call starts at Level One and escalates to higher tiers to resolve more difficult problems.
- Two and Above — In-depth application, system and network support. We handle most problems in-house, but we may have to bring in experts from our software partners at the higher support levels.
Effective remote learning is all but impossible without a Level One Support Desk, so we place a strong emphasis on customer support.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
ENT helped several local schools and organizations implement VPNs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why are VPNs so important? Because they create a secure connection to remote users. A standard internet connection may have light security that’s easy for skilled hackers to overcome. Home Wi-Fi networks also are notorious for poor security.
A VPN typically creates an encrypted mask over the traffic traveling through it, making it extremely difficult for a hacker to break through. Since schools have become targets for cybercriminals, VPN is a powerful tool for protecting the data of teachers and their online-learning students.
One of our school clients had a large percentage of students with no home internet access. We created a system to transmit a Wi-Fi signal across their school parking lot, which made it possible for them to connect wirelessly and securely from that location.
This kind of project requires flexibility, creativity and extensive experience with wireless connectivity technologies. These are all specialties of ours at ENT.
Avaya IX Workplace
Avaya IX Workplace Client has a robust suite of telephony tools that have been a huge help to our school clients during the pandemic. At the most basic level, the program reroutes calls from people’s work phones to their cellphones and desktops. Teachers appreciated the ability to communicate with parents without revealing their private phone numbers.
Avaya IX Workplace also enables videoconferencing, text messaging, Windows desktop integration and many more functions that have kept teachers and students connected during a trying time.
Schools and other organizations often lack the technical expertise to install, manage and support sophisticated communication networks. ENT’s expert technicians and support staff provide managed services that plug these gaps.
Technologies like servers, workstations, networks, security, backup and support systems all require in-depth experience and advanced technical certifications. Our expertise in these areas gives our education clients access to world-class technologies they could never operate on their own.
Please contact us if your school, business or nonprofit needs a technology upgrade or new services to deal with the continuing challenges of COVID-19.