Removal of BYOD Wi-Fi creates unnecessary complications

School-issues laptops hold own host of problem

Colin Canaday

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.