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PCP: BYOD Wi-Fi

Starting in the 2021 school year, Park will no longer have a student network

September 30, 2021

Removal of BYOD Wi-Fi creates unnecessary complications

The aftermath of the decision to remove the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) network is clear: even less student control. Yet, the decisions being marketed under the guise of equality and efficiency, students are left to question if it achieves its goal or simply creates more headaches down the line.

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) network provided little usefulness before COVID-19; schoolwork was either paper-based, or students could use the school-provided computers which connected to the staff Wi-Fi. In essence, the student network was used almost exclusively for phones. Now, with COVID-19 still here, and the policy changes and decisions brought with it, such a network would prove invaluable.

Students are currently only capable of connecting to the internet at school using school-issued laptops. The idea behind these laptops is not a bad one; they create a baseline of connectivity, ensuring that, in an ideal world, everyone is able to access their assignments and complete their required work. The points at which this plan fails are the edge-cases: people will forget to charge their laptops, people will leave their laptops at home,  technology issues will occur. In these cases, it would make sense to have recourse — to have a system and network in place to allow students to bring their own devices and to have a Wi-Fi network to connect to.

This doesn’t even touch on the underwhelming capabilities of the school-issued devices that students are now relegated to. Devices are under seemingly draconian rule, with extensions like “Lastpass” and even Google created and verified “Google Docs Offline” being completely blocked. These computers are designed and set up for cheap, energy-efficient work and nothing more. Being left with no alternatives other than to use these devices, completely disregards even the notion that students may want (or need, in the cases of specialized classes they may require disallowed software) to use a different personal device during school.

These devices work perfectly for the baseline they are meant to be used for, but do little more than that. Having a student network, or even just a guest network, solves all of these problems. There will always be more issues to deal with (connectivity, security, network speed), the BYOD network all but proved this, but they can all be fixed with time. Having that infrastructure in place, first, is key.

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Removal of BYOD Wi-Fi beneficial

The decision to remove the bring-your-own-device (BYOD), otherwise known as the student Wi-Fi, was a positive decision that reduces complications.

One issue that arose during distance learning last year was technology. Some students didn’t have a stable internet connection, and students weren’t able to join Zoom calls or work on assignments.

Now that all students have been given brand-new chromebooks, it allows for them to not have to worry about tech complications. There isn’t a significant need for the student Wi-Fi due to all the chromebooks being automatically set up with Park’s Wi-Fi, which has been strengthened to meet the needs of students and staff.

The removal of the student Wi-Fi also stabilized the technology issues, in which students without solid technology and students with technology, have been put on the same platform.

Although keeping the student Wi-Fi is a good idea, there have been multiple instances where either the student Wi-Fi was too weak or it was down, which at times made it pointless and impractical. By putting all students on the same Wi-Fi platform, it removes the extra stressors associated with connection problems.

Now that the student Wi-Fi has been removed, the school Wi-Fi has also been boosted and is much stronger and is more reliable and stable. The stable connection allows for more productivity and less time wasted due to internet problems.

Although many students, including myself, are disappointed to not be able to bring devices into school and have Wi-Fi, the change has helped me stay more organized. I find myself working on online assignments through my Chromebook and I’m staying focused while doing so.

The removal of the student Wi-Fi has been advantageous, and although there have been times where the student wifi has been reliable, it isn’t enough to keep it running.

 

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