K-12 Education and CirrusWorks
In January 2016, CirrusWorks provided a no-cost 90-day pilot program of the Governor device in selected educational venues across the 8 regions of Virginia. Participants experienced improved internet performance and fewer help desk tickets associated with poor internet. See the full VDOE pilot results here.
Online testing, in-classroom devices and video-rich media are all driving the need for fast WiFi for students and teachers. Traditional approaches to improving Internet speed – from adding bandwidth to installing complex packet shaping software – are expensive, time-consuming and often fall short of ensuring smooth, reliable network performance.
Thankfully, an innovative and cost-effective device is available to schools struggling with bandwidth performance issues. The easy to install CirrusWorks Governor device has proven to enable faster, more reliable Internet for students and faculty in K-12 schools, especially during peak periods of network congestion, providing simple, effective WiFi improvement. The network appliance installs in minutes and is maintenance free.
Benefits at a Glance
- Improves your existing bandwidth optimization
- Automatic updates, configuration and network monitoring
- Enhances traditional content filters and network management tools
- Lowers cost of bandwidth and IT support
Online Testing, In-Classroom Devices and Video
The way we learn and the venues used for education are changing rapidly. Online testing, in-classroom tablets and laptops, and video-based curriculum are now firmly rooted in the education experience. Classroom time is precious, page-turn delays during online testing are not an option, and faculty and students do not want to waste time waiting for files to download or videos to stream.
Adoption of Cloud-Based Applications
As school systems migrate applications and file storage to the cloud, the amount of simultaneous data transfer has grown exponentially. With data being retrieved and stored outside the education venue, the cost and labor involved in developing and managing a reliable school network continues to rise. This becomes even more acute when multiple school districts pipe data through a centralized hub before accessing the public Internet.
Increasing Reliance on High Performance Internet
New applications, devices and cloud-based systems all depend on high-performance, optimized Internet. The challenge is that the local circuit often falls short. Demand for bandwidth often exceeds available supply – generating local WAN circuit congestion, packet delays and ultimately poor service quality.
Why Adding Bandwidth Isn’t Enough
When collisions and delays are experienced on the Internet, the traditional course of action has been to increase the bandwidth of the WAN circuit. Adding bandwidth is not only expensive, it has proven to be insufficient. In recent years, universities have studied the effects of increasing bandwidth, mostly to find that demand rises to meet the bandwidth and continues until the new circuit is also overwhelmed. Simply opening a bigger pipe does not necessarily solve the problem.
Traditional Packet Shaping – Complex and Expensive
Traditional packet shaping solutions require months to setup and configure – often costing upwards of $50,000 – $100,000 in software and consulting. IT budgets are tight and technical staff generally lack the time and expertise necessary to setup, maintain and continually monitor packet shaping software. As a result, for most schools, traditional WAN optimization or packet shaping solutions are simply out of reach.
Enhance Existing Rate-Capping Policies
While rate capping frees up bandwidth for certain groups of users most of the time, it falls short when simultaneous demand for bandwidth exceeds available supply, particularly within a given rated tier. Schools often experience this phenomenon during online testing or when students simultaneously download class projects at the end of the period. Suddenly, capping students at 5 Mbs/sec during an online test, for example, can result in slow page turns due to high retransmissions – forcing teachers to synchronize testing throughout the day.
The CirrusWorks Governor next generation bandwidth management device provides the following benefits:
- Reduces the Need to Add Surplus Bandwidth. Adding too much bandwidth is an expensive, short-term fix that rarely solves the data congestion problem, especially during peak usage periods. CirrusWorks ensures that your available bandwidth, regardless of circuit size, is maximizing its efficiency for all users.
- Lowers IT Costs. Limited configuration is required in most network environments, making the Governor a good choice for busy IT staff. Advanced users can customize their setup for maximum control. Since the Governor engine automates the process for you, there’s no need for training or dedicated IT staff – saving you time and money. The Governor’s self-learning algorithm even improves network performance over time, making ongoing adjustments unnecessary.
- Automated and Dynamic. CirrusWorks improves traffic flows by making instantaneous decisions about the optimal prioritization scheme to be applied to the traffic – all in real time. By constantly making “best fit” decisions, traffic becomes normalized and tends to stay optimized – averting the rushes and surges often seen in traditional packet shaping implementations.
- Augments Traditional Packet Shaping. The CirrusWorks Governor was designed to co-exist with other packet flow devices on your network, including routers, firewalls, gateways, content filters, traffic shapers and L2 or L3 switches. The Governor complements your network, maximizing your previous infrastructure investments, and enables effective rate-capping to ensure guests and staff get the online experience they expect.