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Hardware Thread, New computer room- what to do??? in Technical; Hi, I have got an issue with a plan that is afoot in my school. We have got 1 dedicated ...
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    Thumbs up New computer room- what to do???

    Hi,

    I have got an issue with a plan that is afoot in my school. We have got 1 dedicated ICT room that is used for 100% of the timetable, we have then got 30 computers in an English room that is used for mainly ICT now, but we do not need it for 100% of the timetable. English use it for about 10 lessons every 2 weeks. Last year the school decided to put 25 computers in a Maths room- hoping that people would share it- I do not think this has happened, unless you are booked in there for ICT the computers do not get used. Occasionally maths may use them to play online Maths Flash games. Now they want to put computers in the HIstory room. This will mean spending thousands on wiring, desks let alone the computers and servers. I can only see these computers being used for Internet browsing and word processing/making powerpoints. I can also not see the History teacher giving up her usual teaching room for every Tom, Dick or Harry to come in and use the computers. I see the computers being used for History as and when they need them but not being a resource for the whole school.

    The cost of wiring and buying new computers for the use of the History dept seems very steep. The wireless network does not support laptops and or other mobile devices. Is there a cheaper alternative to desktops so money can be spent on the wireless so over the next few years we can go to a managed wireless network where mobile devices can be used. I was looking at thin clients?

    Any help would be really appreciated, thanks in advance.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Thin clients need even more of an infrastructure behind them to operate.

    Ben

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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    Thin clients need even more of an infrastructure behind them to operate.

    Ben
    Would it be cheaper to set this up than buy new computers though? We need to invest in the network but I do not know what is the best way to invest. If there is a start up cost then that can be worked with. What sort of set up cost is it?

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    teejay's Avatar
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    You don't get an immediate return on thin clients as you require the server infrastructure to support them, the saving comes in that they last longer than a desktop, but even then desktop lifespans can be extended to quite a long time these days so I don't see much return on doing that.
    The other problem is if you have a dedicated bookable room without it being a permanent base for a specific teacher then no one takes ownership of it and the equipment gets trashed very quickly.
    You could look at laptops, or tablets and the wireless infrastructure to go with it, but again laptops don't tend to last as long as desktops and tablets may be a problem with most of them not supporting flash.

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    sneesam (18th June 2013)

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    In the situation you're talking about with a fairly small number of computers being supported (in relation to secondary schools) you'd be spending way too much on sorting your network for use with thin clients than just getting desktops.

    You're still going to need cabling/desks etc as you mentioned whether you go for thin clients or not, so that doesn't really come into the equation, and as you're saying you don't want wireless items currently there isn't much else to choose from.

    Steve

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    Thank you for the replies, the school has not invested in the network for years. We need to update but i am not sure what is the best way. I think the main problem is if we spend money hard wiring the room it will not get used a lot and will not allow access to computers for the rest of the school. If the wireless was better, could tablets be used to connect to thin client server- and if not used as think client could be used as tablet for web browsing. What would be the main cost setting up thin client- is the server really expensive?

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    I'm not sure I understand any of this. Why hard wire classrooms these days? We are now fully wireless (with the exception of servers and controllers) with one AP between two classes.

    How come your wireless doesn't support laptops or vice versa? Anything that old needs putting in the skip, no?

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    Steve21's Avatar
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    You're basically ending up moving all the processing power from the client onto the server. So depending how many you want to support it can be expensive yes, adding on things like licenses etc. And you still need the end device/client to connect to the server.

    And that still needs all the cabling you'd need for a standard desktop installation. There isn't any less for a thinclient compared to a normal desktop.

    If you're going down the wireless devices route you're still going to need wiring for the access points, and then if you want it cheaply why wouldn't you go down the laptop route? If you're going tablets, and wireless, and thin client you're spending a lot for something that shouldn't be if all you want is "Internet browsing and word processing/making powerpoints" etc?

    Seems the obvious answer would be if you're investing in your wireless anyway, get a class set of laptops to connect to the wireless. If you don't want wireless you'll need a lot of cabling anyway, so desktops.

    Going down the tablet/thinclient route for simple processing needs seems a really expensive/long winded way.


    But just my two cents!

    Steve

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    I'm with Steve. 1 way or another, you WILL need to invest in your infrastructure. Can you take pictures of the room?

    Also, thin client, if you are looking at this route, be prepared to have atleast 1GB throughput to each machine, simply because you are running the desktop from elsewhere and will need the throughput to stream nicely.

    Personally, I would say go desktops, and invest in the room. It might not get much use to begin with, but it will get a lot of use in the end. Trust me!

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    Quote Originally Posted by catch21 View Post
    I'm not sure I understand any of this. Why hard wire classrooms these days? We are now fully wireless (with the exception of servers and controllers) with one AP between two classes.

    How come your wireless doesn't support laptops or vice versa? Anything that old needs putting in the skip, no?
    If I was putting equipment into a classroom as a permanent base I would hardwire it over wireless any day.

    Ben

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    Me too. Wireless is an extra, even with the good quality kit now available. I'll always hardwire as first preference - and I would never, ever use wireless for permanently placed desktops.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sneesam View Post
    This will mean spending thousands on wiring, desks let alone the computers and servers.
    Could you cable the room yourself over the summer? It doesn't have to be expensive - you could just buy a reel of cable, a bulk lot of Ikea's under-desk cable trays, some RJ45 plugs, a crimping tool and a whole bunch of nylon cable wrap and get on with it. For "thin" clients you could use Raspberry Pis, do web browsing locally and run PowerPoint on a Remote Desktop Services server. You would need to spend a thousand pounds or so on the wiring, another thousand or two on the Raspberry Pis and monitors, keyboards, mice, etc, and another three thousand or so should get you a hefty enough Remote Desktop server.

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    FishCustard (18th June 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Could you cable the room yourself over the summer?
    This is what I'd do. If it's just one room that needs wiring, doing it yourself shouldn't be too bad (unless the cab is on the other side of the building or something silly).

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    Quote Originally Posted by sneesam View Post
    Hi,

    I have got an issue with a plan that is afoot in my school. We have got 1 dedicated ICT room that is used for 100% of the timetable, we have then got 30 computers in an English room that is used for mainly ICT now, but we do not need it for 100% of the timetable. English use it for about 10 lessons every 2 weeks. Last year the school decided to put 25 computers in a Maths room- hoping that people would share it- I do not think this has happened, unless you are booked in there for ICT the computers do not get used. Occasionally maths may use them to play online Maths Flash games. Now they want to put computers in the HIstory room. This will mean spending thousands on wiring, desks let alone the computers and servers. I can only see these computers being used for Internet browsing and word processing/making powerpoints. I can also not see the History teacher giving up her usual teaching room for every Tom, Dick or Harry to come in and use the computers. I see the computers being used for History as and when they need them but not being a resource for the whole school.

    The cost of wiring and buying new computers for the use of the History dept seems very steep. The wireless network does not support laptops and or other mobile devices. Is there a cheaper alternative to desktops so money can be spent on the wireless so over the next few years we can go to a managed wireless network where mobile devices can be used. I was looking at thin clients?

    Any help would be really appreciated, thanks in advance.
    The infrastructure required for thin clients can be prohibitive on a tight budget.

    I'd be happy to talk you through a few cost saving options we might be able to help you with if you like?

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    I am not sure whether you have written any documents to the Head or the Business Manager to secure your IT funding? If not, I would recommend creating a proposal on improving the infrastructure and a project plan for the next 3 three years. Justify your recommendation on the system clearly, I am sure, they will think about it and approve it at the end.

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