3 Hotspot Solutions for Schools

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As more educational opportunities move online, schools are needing to address the problem of digital inequality in their student body more and more often. Here’s a guide to the three hotspot solutions available to schools to help students bridge the digital divide.

Personal Hotspots

Personal hotspots are devices that are built to turn a cellular signal into a wifi network. These are great options for mobile hotspots for schools because they can be bought in bulk. Personal hotspots can deliver internet speeds between 5-30 Megabits per second depending on the carrier and where the hotspot is being used. Students will be able to perform basic web browsing, video streaming, and email interaction even at a personal hotspot’s lowest speed. Cellular providers can work directly with schools and school districts to provide a cellular network for the personal hotspots to connect to. Providers can even set up content filters and data limits so educators and parents can be sure children are browsing safely.

Smartphone Hotspots

Mobile hotspots for schools use a school-wide cellular plan, but if a school is unable to provide such a service to its students and families, then a smartphone hotspot is a great option for families who already own a smartphone. The ability to set up a smartphone hotspot to tether to another device might depend on a particular mobile plan. This might require a smartphone upgrade or an increase in a monthly payment, but if a family is able to set up a smartphone hotspot then they’re sure to have wifi that works in their home. Bringing home a school wifi hotspot works if the hotspot’s cellular plan covers the area a student lives in. If an area isn’t covered, then having a smartphone hotspot is a reliable path to internet access, as families know how far their coverage reaches. Speeds will vary depending on a family’s carrier and location, but if a school is unable to provide mobile hotspots for every student who needs one, then an existing family mobile plan can be a great resource to help students connect.

Super Hotspots

A super hotspot is a mobile router that emits a wifi signal into the surrounding area. Super hotspots can be used as fixed routers or as mobile hotspots for schools that want students to be able to connect to the internet while riding the bus. Super hotspots are more complicated to set up than a personal hotspot or a smartphone hotspot, but they offer faster internet speeds and are more reliable. A mobile school wifi hotspot will allow students to do homework during long bus rides and on commutes to sporting events. Busses that have been equipped with these wifi hotspots can be parked in parking lots to allow students to access the internet outside of school hours. Some school districts have even purposefully parked these buses in communities to overcome the digital divide.

If students in your school or school district are struggling to connect to the internet, a school wifi hotspot can help. By making sure every student has access to the educational materials they need, you can help every child meet their full potential.

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