Hi, just joined, and I've just installed an Extricom system this weekend in a very small Primary School.
I had the pleasure of a very generous budget to provide 'visionary' IT into 4 classrooms and an 8 station computer suite.
The story so far...
The school already has 8 failing XP Workstations, 25 WiFi XP Laptops less than a year old and 8 staff WiFi Laptops.
They get 2 hours a week support from the local Community College - that's it!
So first off to keep things manageable I installed a hefty Terminal Server with Virtual CD ROM Services. Onto this I loaded up all the Curriculum Software and CD Images.
Then beefed up the infrastructure by replacing 100Mbps Hubs with Gigabit Switches.
Replaced all 8 XP Workstations with Wyse TCX Multimedia Enabled Terminals (the V10L). No more hassle in the Computer Suite!
Installed 2 X Extricom 404 Units (8 dual channel radios). The radios are co-located, 2 in each classroom. There are 4 available channel 'blankets'; 1, 6, 11 in 2.4GHz and CH36 in the 'A' Band.
Into this radio swamp, I'm throwing another 38 Linux EeePC's (4Gb / 512Mb), all on 2.4GHz. (I did try installing a a/b/g card into the EeePC, but gave up as impractical.)
Staff Laptops are all on the 'A' Band.
The EeePC... these run the standard 'Easy Mode' Xandros which has been modified to remove any customising features to stop tinkering but MUCH more importantly, have 2 new Icons in 'Work'.
These are both Terminal Services Icons, which connect the EeePC to the Curriculum Terminal Server. One is an Internet Shortcut optimised for connecting from home, and the other is a Network Shortcut, optimised for WiFI LAN Connections.
The Terminal Server connection allows pupils to login to their Windows Domain to access all data and Windows Apps, and maps the EeePC Document folder to My Computer for moving files to and from the EeePC's if needed.
I can't complete this story because, well, you try sourcing 38 EeePC's. Coming Mid March apparently.
I do expect the Extracom Network to support 50 odd WiFI devices densely packed into the 4 classrooms in a random arrangement; if Extricom can't do it then I'm stuffed! Note that this is much tougher than standard XP Laptops which just 'blip' the network when requesting web pages etc. All 38 EeePC's will be hitting the Terminal Server constantly - a bit like 38 VOIP Calls that never end.
Will it work, or will it collapse in a pile of marketing guff? Tune in next month......
Would you mind reposting (or the mods could split it off) this in another thread as there are some many interesting issues to discuss in your post that wouldn't be relavent to this thread
Good post Steve - be really interested to hear how you get on. Interesting idea thin clients over wireless - shouldnt be too much traffic overall, but yes it will be constant and sustained traffic.
Mod: Plz move if I'm causing this thread to go OT.
I have issues with the way schools are buying more and more laptops 'cos even though they're cheap these days, they give poor value due to low availability.
About 6 months ago I put 15 Thin Client Laptops into another little school. These are called NEC TCM160's - look like a laptop but boot from a flash disk and run XPe.
These have been incredibly successful. First and foremost is battery life. They come out of the charging trolley at 9.00 and run all (school) day on battery. Now that's good value.
Once set up, these can't be messed with so zero maintenance. Staff Training consisted of "make sure the radio is on and it's charged".
The school also has 2 suites of Wyse V10L wired Thin Clients, so the kids see exactly the same desktop etc. whether they have a portable or not.
For wireless support, I moved all existing laptops up onto the 'A' bands and run 2 'b/g' band Linksys AP's in designated areas for decent connectivity. I was very lucky with the layout of the school as I managed to get quite a clean set of overlaps. The TCM160's all work together and quickly too.
Wouldn't work on a large site though, so back to Extricom for you guys with campuses to contend with.
The EeePC will tread a bit lighter on my network due to it's small screen size as screen data Updates are smaller.
i know your not looking for recommedations but i've got a company coming in to do a site wide wireless survey, happy to give you details if you want.
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