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ProLabs enables campus network upgrades for online learning

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Several key South African universities have reported good progress with online learning for their students since the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the country’s lockdown situation.

“Before the pandemic, growing data consumption meant that the demand for bandwidth had already resulted in a race between consumers’ appetites and providers’ best efforts to supply it”, said Marcel Fouché, networking and storage general manager at value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited Africa. “Today, as the world moves ever more swiftly into remote working and learning, the implications for bandwidth are more critical than ever.  University life, with its emphasis on teaching the young professionals of tomorrow as well as its critical focus on technology and medical research, plays a hugely important role in the quest to ensure that data provision is able to match demand.”

“Universities are adjusting to the influx of e-learning and tele-education. There are complex and varying digital infrastructure components that need to function properly to support the day-to-day operations of a university, from enrolment, to payment, to online coursework, to library and databases, research, web applications for learning, and more”.

According to ProLabs, universities need to adapt right now to changes in the following scenarios:

  • Security: Both students and lecturers are accessing university networks from outside the on-premises network, which exposes potential security gaps.
  • Increased reliance on cloud communication and collaboration platforms: Universities need to develop new student engagement platforms to provide robust learning opportunities, including virtual campus visits, new student orientation and virtual lecture rooms.
  • Operational intelligence: With the current need to engage in contact tracing in a bid to prevent and control future outbreaks of the virus, university infrastructures will also need to support operational intelligence models through multiple learning modalities that could include video, mobile device data and applications.


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