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Netbooks, PDA and Phones Thread, Netbooks and ideal setup in Technical; I'm supporting a school that has just gone from a fixed ICT suite to a couple of trolleys of netbooks. ...
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    kaphc's Avatar
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    Netbooks and ideal setup

    I'm supporting a school that has just gone from a fixed ICT suite to a couple of trolleys of netbooks.

    They are on a wireless network of about 54Mbps speed and have to load group policies, a desktop, a start menu and some programs on startup. The startup time is about 2 minutes to a log in box and ideally I'd like it faster. Once logging in there's about another minute to finish loading to a desktop that's ready to use.

    Has anyone got any templates of group policies or profiles or general tips that have worked really well with a netbooks setups that they would be willing to share? In another school, I have all the programs loaded locally on the netbooks and don't have a redirected desktop or start menu which is much faster. I don't want to dismantle all the setup in this school, which is obviously here for a reason But I would like to move to something cleaner and more streamlined.

    Today I've amended Group Policy to allow processing across a slow network connection and to process even if the Group Policy objects have not changed, as there's been some issues with some netbooks not picking up the new proxy settings from the default domain policy. Is there anything else like this which would help?

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    try slimming down the gpos that apply to them. I have in the past disabled windows updates on netbooks that seemed to help a bit (get them in now and again and do them manually) depends where they are sitting waiting what os etc. Run rsop on them see wwhat scripts/msi deploys are running (and possibly failing) at startup and remove any thagt dont need to be there (so theres no point in having a script that sets up some odd options in office if the netbooks dont have office). Depending who uses them set them to either cache roaming profiles so logons should get quicker or use group policy and loopback options to create local only profiles on them (depending on your software/setup may or may not help)

    might be worth seeing if it much faster wired than wireles might be the atom calculator/poor hdd/no ram in them is the bottleneck rather than the network (could also be poor wifi drivers or spotty coverage)

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    kaphc (5th December 2012)

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    Thanks, that gives me a good direction to go in.

    I'm used to running rsop to track back policy origins but never really used it as a proper diagnostic so will have a look into that.

    The netbooks (ordered before my time) have 1gb of RAM in which is not brill, but not bad. The ICT co-ordinator at the school assures me that the wireless has been checked and should have a good signal across the whole school building. I may end up doing my own checks into this too.

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    not an exhaustive test but if you have an android device wifi analyser gives you a rough idea of coverage

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    Unfortunately the Atom processors will hold things up quite spectacularly IME.

    We have a number of netbooks here and they are painfully slow.

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    We have 35 netbooks in constant use in a site that is supported using a ruckus wireless solution. From my experience the speed of the log on tends to come down to the make/model of the machine (duh) where newer is not necessarily better. We had a set of Samsung N510s which use an atom processor and they were painfully slow, we added a set of Acer 722's and these were rapid. Encouraged by this we got a set of Acer 725's but sadly they are not as quick as the 722's, but admittedly faster than the Samsungs.

    I really do not think netbooks should be on a domain, specifically if they are on the wireless...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sted View Post
    not an exhaustive test but if you have an android device wifi analyser gives you a rough idea of coverage
    I will have hopefully by next week when my Blackberry gets ditched and I get something new and Android-based! I'll look out for this, thanks.

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    Just started looking at the wireless setup this afternoon, and I can't ping any of the wireless access points. Not one of them. I can ping the Ruckus Zone Director and that's it (and am on a mission to try and get the username and password to this).

    Is there any way I can tell what access point a specific device is getting its wireless coverage from.

    I really do not think netbooks should be on a domain, specifically if they are on the wireless...

    I know what you're saying, but on the other school I support with 60 netbooks, they run on the domain just fine, with individual pupil logins, redirected My Documents and a nice clean Group Policy.

    I don't think there is a quick and easy solution to this ... but that's why I'm wondering if anyone's got a Group Policy template that works well with netbooks that they would care to share or whether it's cleaner to set some things up in AD as part of the user properties.

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    Log into the zone director and each AP will list what devices are connected. I think it gives you the DNS name, but I know it gives you the Mac address.

    This actually gives you lots of stats like channel and signal strength. This is how we found out the 6th forms iPhones, iPods and Android devices were stealing all the signal.

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    kaphc (6th December 2012)

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    To follow up. Go to Monitor -> Currently Active Clients and find the netbook by DNS name. To the right it will give you the Mac address of the AP it is connected to, if you click the Mac address (highlighted in blue) you will get more info. Like a boss.

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    kaphc (6th December 2012)

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    Oh what a revelation! The APs listed in DHCP with reservations are all old access points.

    There are 6 APs listed in Zone Director with completely different IP addresses. None of them are reserved. 4 of the APs are down and other devices have "stolen" their IP addresses. I think I'm starting to identify the problem. Now to find the solutions .... Thanks for the Zone Director tips Tsonga, it's all new to me so having a heads-up is great.

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    No wirries, I have had to explore it myself with our problems so its nice to pass on some knowledge.

    I would encourage putting aside some time to have a play with the done director, depending on your model, it is a quite capable piece of hardware and monitoring tool. If you like graphs go to Monitoring -> Real Time Monitor - >Add widget and add anything you wish to monitor. Seeing the total number of connected clients makes interesting reading.

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    Then can I be really cheeky and ask a quick question while you're around .... with the 4 APs showing as disconnected, I want to reboot them. Is there a way of doing this individually by AP or does it have to be done in Administer -> Restart and restarting Zone Director? (I've already found the Backup option and taken a backup as well lol!)

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    If they are saying disconnected they simply are not plugged in. If they are plugged in and they are saying disconnected then its the IP conflict issue and you need to factory restore them so they get a new IP by DHCP.

    To restart an AP go to Monitor -> Access Points and you will get a table full of AP information. The far right column should say Action and the far right action is a little blue circle with arrows in it. This is the restart button. BUT if they are disconnected they won't get this message, so you are gonna have to go hunt these things down and make sure they are plugged in.

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    kaphc (6th December 2012)

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    Marvellous - I hadn't spotted the scroll bar at the bottom and the right hand side icons.

    Turns out they are not plugged in. A-hunting I go!!

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