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Hardware Thread, Setting up a Laptop Trolley in Technical; My school has just recived 2 x Bretford laptop trolleys 32 x Acer Aspire 3360 notebooks 2 x HP 1022nw ...
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    thom's Avatar
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    Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    My school has just recived
    2 x Bretford laptop trolleys
    32 x Acer Aspire 3360 notebooks
    2 x HP 1022nw Mono Wireless Laser
    2 x netgear WG302UK Acsess Points

    The idea is to have 16 laptops in each trolley.
    I have never set one up before and I was interested in any helpful tips, like should I join them to a domain or just a local "Student" logon,
    and what is the best way to set them up with the printer and access points?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    You want to split the load across APs ideally. If you mount the APs on the wall, give them different SSIDs and give half the laptops one SSID and the other half the other one.

    As for logins and the like, you need to decide what the purpose of the computers is. If kids need to access their documents and the Internet then they really need to be joined to the domain with the kids logging in individually... although this has the disadvantage of slow logins.

    With my trolley, the laptops will be used primarily for data logging and Internet browsing I imagine. They will be joined to the domain but auto-login to a VERY limited account to give access to the data logging software and a Citrix connection. I don't know if this setup is appropriate for you though.

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    Re: Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    Looking at the spec for that access point it only has one RJ45 so you will have 2 network cables to plug in, 1 for the access point and one for the trolley.

    We've been using the Buffalo WBR-G54's which are nice in that they have a built in 4 port switch but that's about their only redeeming feature.

    I set up each of my trolleys with their access points having a different ssid as said above i.e trolley1 trolley2 etc...

    The laptops are domain members so any user can log on as normal.

    Wireless security you should go with at least WPA-PSK but a radius implementation would be better.

    The printers on ours are just allocated via our normal printer script as each laptop is named after its trolley i.e T1-01 T1-02 etc...

    Ben

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    Re: Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    BTW - I use fixed APs to cover the building rather than trundling around the AP with the trolley.

    Security wise it will hopefully be WPA2-Enterprise... just need to suss out the settings on the older wifi chipsets.

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    Re: Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    It looks like we will be getting a Cisco managed wireless network soon. I still don't believe it will work properly but its not coming from my budget.

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    Re: Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    It does ... I've seen one in serious action (a uni) and ours goes in in a few weeks too.

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    Re: Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    The one at cisco headquarters uk seems to work fine

    Ben

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    Re: Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    Theirs is probably more expensive than our's will be! Stilll it can't be worse than the one we have now which is unsecured because the previous guy didn't think that it was important as you needed a password to do anything. I guess he had never heard of password sniffers. Unforunately some kids have as we discovered one in a user area 8O

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    Re: Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    Our 32 laptops are set up in two trolleys in different areas of the school, and each one is split as per Ric's post.
    We have ours on the domain as the children need to access everything.
    We do however have a problem with slow log-ins - I would restrict if I could to speed it all up

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    Re: Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    Ahh this prompted me to do a quick recount of our curriculum laptops and its currently at 246
    All in trolleys in sets of 16 (some departments have 2 trolleys)

    We use WPA RADIUS, all Cisco AP's, with IAS Server
    I think the count is at around 53 access points, with the final couple still to go up
    It does work fairly well, bit of a nightmare still because with that volume theres always going to be a few problems, but compared to the old WEP a/b network, support calls must be down 70% Id guess

    Only problem we have is speed, 16 laptops all logging onto one AP can still get painfully slow. In areas where there are a lot around, pupils in different parts of the classroom log onto different ones, but often they all barrage the same one.

    Ive found a way with the Cisco AP's to limit clients, but it doesnt pass them to another AP, it just refuses them and the laptop keeps trying to connect/
    So if anyone knows a way to load balance either on IAS or on the AP's themselves, you will forever be my hero

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    Re: Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    @sidewinder: I believe that if you use the Cisco server components you can manage your APs better. I believe the different options are modular and you buy in what you need but I cannot be too sure on that. I went for the Bluesocket that has everything out of the box... you could always use a Bluesocket controller with your Cisco APs

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    Re: Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    We have 3 trolleys with 16 laptops each. The AP's travel round with the trolleys and plug in in the classroom (fortunately we are in a nearly new building and flood wired). Using WEP at the moment but perhaps I should be looking at something more secure.

    Don't underestimate the amount of technician time moving, supporting and maintaining them. I've estimated 30-50% of a technician's time during term and am recruiting as a result. Software installations / updates are a pain as you need to get them out of the trolley, find somewhere to plug them in to the network and power and put them back afterwards.


    They are not a cheap option compared with a suite of desktops. I would have preferred the latter but it would have meant nicking half the library or building an extension!

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    Re: Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    So, thinking about the wireless, our access points are going to be travelling around on the trolleys and get plugged in to the classroom.
    Is there any special configuration to get the laptops to connect to the access point to enable them to log on. I tried configuring the Wireless Zero Configuration service a few years ago on some desktops that used wireless but it wasn't very succesful. Also, what method of security on the access point would allow this to happen (or am i thinking about this the wrong way ?!?). We have a managed 3com wireless LAN with 12 APs around the school. Should I link the new netgear APs to this or will that not work. At the moment the wLan uses WEP with 802.1X encryption (PEAP) which means users have to enter a password to connect, I'm guessing this is not possible if you want them to connect before logon.

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    Re: Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    ZWC improved vastly with SP2. All of our laptops use it now. Any apps that come with the wireless card get uninstalled and we let Windows handle it. There are disadvantages such as not being able to see which AP you're connected to or what channel you are using but for simplicity's sake and for reliability, ZWC is what works best for us.

    As for security, WPA is a must. WEP can be broken too easily. Use WPA-PSK at a minimum, WPA-RADIUS if you can get it going.

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    Re: Setting up a Laptop Trolley

    @Ric

    We did actually purchase Cisco ACS Server when we were sold all the kit, but ditched it for IAS as it seemed to be painfully slow authenticating

    However at the same time we switched from using Intel Proset to ZWC on the clients, so it could have been that causing the delay

    Im guessing though it might be another component we need though for what I want to do

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