The adjectives “robust” and “reliable” are used to describe IT networks. Robust describes the capacity of the network to connect users and provided them with the network information each request in a timely manner. A robust network will allow many users in a classroom to connect with little delay, and there will be little latency observed in the network traffic. (Latency is the term used by IT professionals to describe slow connections.) Reliability refers to the amount of time the network is available, accepting new connections, and sending and receiving authorized data packets. In general, a network that is not robust will fail for large numbers of users, while one that is unreliable will fail intermittently.
For most computer users in schools, “the network is down” (because it is not reliable or not robust) is an unacceptable situation, so IT professionals seek to improve the capacity of the network to provide and maintain connections and manage network traffic. While IT professionals understand the work of building and managing reliable networks, collaborative IT management depends on educators who understand the nature of the network as well as school leaders who understand enterprise networks, so they do not place unreasonable demands on the IT professionals. Further, it depends on IT professionals who understand the unique IT needs of school populations.