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27 March, 2023

DfE School Guidance – Meeting Wi-Fi Standards

27 March, 2023

Is your school meeting the DfE’s Wireless Network Standards?

In January 2024, the Department for Education updated their guidance to schools regarding how to meet digital and technology standards. This standard specifies the minimum requirements for wireless networking to promote a safer and more efficient practice.

The wireless network standards for schools and colleges guidelines highlight the standards your school should meet on wireless network performance, coverage, management and security.

  • Wi-Fi Alliance approved Network standards of utilising Wi-Fi 6 Standard.
  • Have a fully functional Wi-Fi signal throughout the school and externally where required.
  • Have a solution that can centrally manage the wireless network.
  • Install security features to stop unauthorised access.

We are able to guide you through these guidelines and help you implement a Wi-Fi solution most suitable for your school.

The DfE set out four standards your school needs to meet:

DfE Wi-Fi Standards for Schools- Tel Group
DfE Wi-Fi Standards for Schools- Tel Group
DfE Wi-Fi Standards for Schools- Tel Group
DfE Wi-Fi Standards for Schools- Tel Group

1. Wi-Fi 6 Standard

Utilising Wi-Fi Alliance Approved Wi-Fi 6 Standard across your network provides a high performance solution with the speed and capacity to ensure all devices can connect to the network without slowing down operations. The wireless network should be configured to support network segregation and QoS.

A full fibre service provides the capacity and speed needed for effective use of online learning tools, as well as flexibility to future proof your school through more cost effective cloud-based solutions.

It is recommended that you upgrade your infrastructure to Wi-Fi 6 as and when you are looking to upgrade your underperforming or unsupported solution.

2. Fully Functional Network Signal

Your school will need to ensure that there is strong signal coverage across the whole premises where devices are to be used. This means your school requires Wi-Fi Access Points to be introduced across the site, e.g. one access point per classroom to support simultaneous use without reducing the performance.

At Tel Group, we are able to conduct a site survey and provide a heat map of your school to show the coverage range for each access point.

3. Centrally Managed Solutions

As your wireless network will be made up of many access points across the premises, you will require a central management solution where your network can be monitored and configured and issues can be identified and resolved. It also needs the functionality to deliver automatic and manual software security updates as soon as they are available.

At Tel Group, we are able to provide a scalable central management tool that can be used to configure the wireless access points, monitor performance and provide alerts in the event of a failure.

4. Security Features to Stop Unauthorised Access

Schools store a lot of sensitive data across their network which needs to be protected from unauthorised access, whilst simultaneously allowing authorised users to access the resources they require. Inadequate security can lead to theft or misuse of sensitive data, loss of access to school systems and result in significant disruption and cost to resolve.

Regular and guest users should be set up to prevent unauthoriused access, with appropriate authorisation and authentication methods. Any administrative accounts that have access to make configuration changes, must be secure and fully documented.

When your school is ready to upgrade your underperforming and unsupported network, Tel Group will be here to help guide you through it, adhering to DfE standards throughout.

The DfE set out eleven categories your school needs to meet: