Making the internet work, wherever in the world you're educating

International schools make heavy use of web-based learning thanks to international curricula and pioneering use of personalised learning approaches. So learning outcomes depend on reliable, fast access to online content which can't always be guaranteed.

Some schools simply can't get the bandwidth capacity needed in the first place; others have lots of bandwidth but still find classroom connectivity is slow.

That's why so many schools are deploying web caches to optimise their often-expensive bandwidth and deliver much faster web access in the classroom. Caching is particularly effective for schools because a high proportion of a school's web requests are repeated from one student to the next. So, by storing and serving web content from a local cache you:

  • Eliminate wasted lesson time when whole classes wait for content to load
  • Give students and teachers faster access to large files like video
  • Offload those sizeable software updates that congest your network
  • Increase device numbers for 1 device-1 student and BYOD schemes
  • Manage excessive spikes in traffic, e.g. start-of-lesson all-at-once demand
ApplianSys has the only fit-for-purpose solution dedicated to schools web caching. It's been deployed in over 150 countries and is overwhelmingly the most selected caching appliance in the United States' E-rate scheme (>50% of funding requests) which helps schools to obtain affordable connectivity.

Read on to learn how other international schools have benefited from deploying web caches and how to get CACHEBOX for your school.

How caching helps schools

Get far better value from small connections

The uniqueness of school web traffic, with its large 'start-of-lesson' spikes in demand (for mainly duplicate requests) has significant consequences for bandwidth management. These traffic peaks are often used to define how much bandwidth capacity a school needs. However, since these same peaks are highly cachable, caching can significantly reduce the amount of capacity needed.

When a school purchases bandwidth to cover these spikes in demand the amount of unused capacity is dramatic, consuming technology budget that could be better spent on devices or content.

Where high-capacity connections are simply unavailable, caching is often the difference between e-Learning that delivers improved learning outcomes and abandoned experiments with education technology.

Caching enables 'burstable capacity' at low cost. So, schools can easily handle large periodic surges in demand while only paying for average throughput which is typically less than 1/5th of peak demand. It offers huge value to rural schools because it delivers accessibility at a fraction of the cost of satellite connections.

"We have not had to upgrade our Internet connection since we have gained 25% of 'free' bandwidth. We've saved around $3,000 per month"
Jeff Klancke, IT Director, Harare International School

Speed up web access

Teacher tools like Lesson Management or Adaptive Learning Systems typically use embedded video to encourage independent learning, keep students engaged and clearly communicate complex ideas. When this content feels slow, these benefits can be lost.

Upgrading bandwidth will help you deliver fast internet to more users, but the speed at which your users can access content depends on many other factors. From the physical sending of data to the ability of a content provider's web server to meet demand, many causes of slow content are outside of your control.

"At ICS all types of learning content have been accelerated where it matters - in the classroom, significantly improving the overall student learning experience"
Joke Jong, IT Director, International Community School - Singapore

Tackle bandwidth hogs

Whilst some schools are fortunate enough to have easy access to affordable bandwidth, others find that high-capacity links are extremely expensive or worse, simply unavailable.

By storing copies of web content the first time it is accessed and serving repeat requests locally, schools can make relatively small links go a long way. A school with lots of student devices - particularly one with a 1:1 scheme - will find that more than 50% of their bandwidth is consumed by software updates.

OS, anti-virus and application vendors regularly provide updates to improve performance, usability and security. These files are often enormous, swamping your network when simultaneously accessed by thousands of devices.

Schools that deal with this by deploying a cache remove a significant burden on their internet connection, freeing bandwidth capacity for teachers and students to use in class.

To avoid using most of your capacity to download software updates your 1:1 needs the 1:1,000 approach that only caching can give you: 1 download to support 1000s of devices!

"We used to have issues with software updates causing congestion and teachers would complain about slow speeds. Since bringing CACHEBOX into the network, we're seeing huge bandwdith savings on software updates and haven't had complaints from teachers!"
Anthony Outerbridge, IT Director at Somersfield Academy

Why schools choose CACHEBOX

ApplianSys has adapted CACHEBOX over 15 years to deliver on the key drivers for education authorities.

Caching performance

CACHEBOX deals with the special content, network and bandwidth conditions which make standard caches ineffective in schools.

Ease of use

From plug-and-play deployment to its intuitive user interface CACHEBOX delivers on simplicity, minimising total cost of ownership.

Low cost

CACHEBOX is engineered for sensible pricing, with a range of models to suit the needs at schools of different sizes.

CACHEBOX meets the challenge of caching schools content

Issue CACHEBOX Delivers
Schools content is particularly complex.
Most caches can't optimise education content, Learning Management Systems and Learning Object Repositories
Working with education content providers, ApplianSys ensures that their content is made cacheable or is optimised in some other way
HTTPS is particularly challenging - generally it can only be cached by expensive solutions ApplianSys has engineered features to handle HTTPS that work in schools deployments
School content may be used once per term, by which time other caches would have cleared it from storage as unpopular Protects important content from deletion so that a local copy is always available
School web traffic is uniquely 'spiky' with huge demand at the start of each lesson. Which is really bad for remote schools with unreliable internet connections or very narrow bandwidth. School features like pre-caching and USB upload ensure content is there when it's needed, even if the school is not yet online.
Web content is a moving target. What caches today will break over time as content providers like YouTube change delivery methods ApplianSys creates new algorithms to combat changes made by content providers, delivered to the device via automated software updates