Some rural central Alberta schools have received a Wi-Fi boost.
Wild Rose School Division students are not only using Wi-Fi 6 technology for their school work, but also to keep connected with their communities.
The technology was introduced earlier this year at schools in Rocky Mountain House, Caroline, Drayton Valley, Condor and elswhere.
Jaymon Lefebvre, the school division’s director of IT services, said the district is ahead of other jurisdictions in welcoming the higher bandwidth technology, which also has the capability to serve more users.
This is important for students and teachers in rural settings, where there is limited internet access, or none at all. For this reason, the school district supports internet for classroom learning for both staff and students, but goes a step further, and gives them access for personal use.
“We’re not just supporting devices for the learning purposes, we also have a mandate to support community connectivity, so we feel it’s part of our role being rural to support kids to come in and download their Netflix and update their iTunes, and live in a digitally connected world, just like they would in a high-density urban area.”
The IT expert explained the school division sees an influx of new devices during the start of a fresh school year – September – and in January, just after Christmas.
This September, the division expects to see students with Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices. Having Wi-Fi 6 allows the school division to be ahead in the game and not play catch up, explained Lefebvre.
The newer technology improves user experience and is able to better balance legacy devices and the new Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices.
“If you go to YouTube, you can change the resolution of the video you’re watching, and I can guarantee you Wild Rose School Division students know how to pick the maximum resolution,” he said with a chuckle.
Wi-Fi 6 will also provide better support for virtual reality devices, given the higher bandwidth capability. Lefebvre said the school division is seeing an increase in those devices.