Hardware Thread, Is this the best thing to do with wireless? in Technical; My 4th week at my present school and just been in a brainstorming/ spending money meeting.
One of the previous ...
1st May 2008, 04:11 PM #1
Is this the best thing to do with wireless?
My 4th week at my present school and just been in a brainstorming/ spending money meeting.
One of the previous items on the minutes was the installation of a wireless system at approx 28K.
I asked why the system was being installed and the answer was to support the one laptop trolley we have with 15 laptops in it. Now don't get me wrong I would love a managed wireless system to play around with BUT we have need for it as all staff have a wired network connection for their machines so it really woulod be just for the trolley.
I suggested that we invest a lot less cash on a couple of wireless receivers and strap them to the trolley. I don't think anybody had advised the school on this option as it means no profit for them (I should mention that my post as Network manager is a new post with no similar post before I arrived).
Anyway I'm sure saving 28K for the school should be smartie points for me BUT can anyone suggest a decent wireless receiver that I can starp to the trolley?
1st May 2008, 04:15 PM #2
1st May 2008, 04:52 PM #3
our wireless trolley just has a netgear AP sitting on top and it supports the 10 laptops fine. Its plugged into a little 4 port switch on the trolley which has a printer as well. The teacher just plugs a cablefrom the switch into the network socket in their classroom and away they go.
1st May 2008, 05:03 PM #4
We don't have any mobile access points but for our statics we use Cisco 1240AGs and have found them very reliable.
At ~£250 they're not the cheapest around and I don't know how they'll take regular powercycling, but we've been running 10 for the last year and they've given us no problems at all.
1st May 2008, 06:38 PM #5
It really depends on where you want to go - any managed wireless system has a big initial outlay (although 28k is far too much assuming 1 wireless controller and 1 access point )
1st May 2008, 06:44 PM #6
We use fixed HP 420 AP's and have had no problem with them at all.
1st May 2008, 07:46 PM #7
Although you would be saving a lot of money initially, a £28k price tag sounds like site-wide access to me with bells and whistles. This then gives you scope for development in the future - laptops for students, laptops for teachers, wireless VoIP.
It may be a lot better to simply scale down the deployment for now - reduce it to one section of the school (or at the very least buy APs that will work with a managed solution later - you will want one eventually).
1st May 2008, 07:59 PM #8
Originally Posted by Ric_
Agreed, get the controller and a few APs while they're willing to put money into it - it may not be available when you need it in the future.
2nd May 2008, 10:34 AM #9
Also... if you can hold off until the end of the month, I promise that the comparison guide will be ready and it may offer you a more cost-effective solution.
Out of interest... what was the suggested solution?
7th May 2008, 10:01 AM #10
I think a lot depends upon your long-term plans for wireless access and the potential number of systems to be connected.
We went down the route of sticking an access point on a trolley when we began with 30 wireless laptops on two trolleys three years ago. It worked fine, but gradually as more and more trolleys of laptops 'appeared' we began having problems with interference, load balancing, users wanting the ability to use the laptops across the whole school & so last summer when I could see us hitting 200+ wireless laptops we bit the bullet and started deploying a managed solution.
I would echo the views of earlier posts, if there is any prospect of the wireless demand increasing at your school I would look at implementing a managed wireless 'backbone' solution with a wireless lan controller & software with just a small number of APs to cover your immediate needs. Then you can add APs as you need them, we used 3Com and the initial outlay was around £5k to support up to 48 APs, each 2750 AP is around £90 + £10 for a POE injector. We now have 24 APs rolled out with another 12 planned for the summer holidays to cover the whole school.
7th May 2008, 10:14 AM #11
To be honest I don't know. The price was quoted before I arrived at the school and I have seen no paperwork to do with the quote!
Originally Posted by Ric_
7th May 2008, 12:01 PM #12
- Rep Power
I run the network in a school with full wireless coverage, supplied from 46 Cisco 1200 wap. We run an .11G network and all teachers have a wireless laptop, until last summer there were over 300 laptops for curriculum use in the school.
The Senior Leadership team have finally realised that wirelssly connected laptops are a really bad Idea, the WAPs have to be turned right down to 5% power output to prevent interference, we have had to do a very complicated scheme of channels to prevent interference from one wap to another, the laptops are used all over school, the kids seem to think they have the right to remove keys at will from the keyboards, requiring expensive and time consuming repairs.
The teachers expect wired speeds from the wireless, they do not understand that a .11G network only runs at 54MBps, giving around 30 MBps at the desktop, when this is split between 10 laptops, ir relates to 300Kbytes a second, once kids start streaming from the servers or loading virtual CDs from the multimedia server, the whole system grinds to a halt.
The maintenance costs on laptops are really high compared to desktops, the batteries will die after about 13 months, each time an angry kid hits the screen in frustration, you face a bill of around 200 to 250 for a replacement screen.
Spend the £28K on creating decent computer suites and get the PCs from a solid supplier, with good glass fronted screens and keep your costs for maintenance right down.
If you want details of where I have been buying machines and monitors from, just PM me.
Thanks to thesofa from:
Oops_my_bad (13th May 2008)
7th May 2008, 12:25 PM #13
If you have this many APs then i would look at the Cisco Wireless LAN Controller (50 AP version) which will do all the load balancing and channel changing and also signal dropping/backing down etc. Its around £5.5k but well worth it when you have more than 20-25 aps.
Originally Posted by thesofa
7th May 2008, 12:29 PM #14
I wish I could get our SMT, LA & their BSF 'consultants' to arrive at the same conclusion
Originally Posted by thesofa
'Someone' still has it in their minds that you can have 1000 users in a school all with their own personal wireless connected computer......... despite having exactly the same cost of ownership & bandwidth issues as 'thesofa' reports with fewer than 300 systems.
Last edited by broc; 7th May 2008 at 12:42 PM.
7th May 2008, 01:06 PM #15
- Rep Power
Just do what we did, take your time ordering spares, get the SMT to try to recover the cost of the damage from the parents, you should always be able to find out the last logged in user, they are always the culprit, even when innocent! We made a point of having a huge pile of damaged laptops just inside the door so anyone coming in saw them and asked. We never deliver the repaired ones back to department, they have to come and get them, this reinforces their duty of care over the laptops.
Take your time replaceing dead batteries, make sure you bulk buy, we found the best source was XMA, both for batteries and power supplies.
do a presentation to the smt showing relative spares costs and life issues, along with a projection of the maintenance costs for 3 years and show them login times for a room full of laptops compared to the login times for a room of wired PCs.
Point out that frustrated kids, having to wait long times for logins will do more damage than those that are engaged straight away. Sorry if I lapsed into Teacher-babble, surrounded by it all day, even earplugs and Loud Pink Floyd do not keep it all out!.
You will win purely on the financial front, cos they will not understand the technical issues, they will think they do, just make sure they don't.
We have a room of laptops trying to print wirelessly from them to an A3 colour laser printer set at 1200 dpi, A3 sheets of loads of colour photographs, they are lucky to get three or four in a lesson printed, plus it stops nearly all the other laptops in their tracks. Do the sums for the amount of data flowing from the laptop to the wireless point, to the servers and back to the printer and show them where the bottlenecks are.
Another thing, we found the most reliable method of configuring them was using windows wireless configuration rather than the utility supplied with the wireless card.
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