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Wireless Networks Thread, Wireless Network in Technical; The school I support have decided that they want to get rid of there current ICT Suite to make an ...
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    Wireless Network

    The school I support have decided that they want to get rid of there current ICT Suite to make an additional classroom and have a complete wireless network solution with 40+ Laptops , 2 x 20 bay trolleys etc and I have been asked to assist in this. I personally dont think you can beat an ICT Suite and static PC's but they are adament, I would like to know if any other school have gone down the route of complete wireless and if there is any issues with 40+ lappies logging into the network and how slow logins, data retrieval, internet streaming takes etc.

    Also does anyone have any recommendations they could make with regard a solution they have used and are happy with. I am based in London/Essex and would love to hear from anyone that has implemented this in there school and would not mind me coming in for a look. They are looking at a summer installation and when the new building is built they want to be able to push this out to there also so something that is scalable would be great.

    Thanks
    Rob

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Rob, PM me an give me your details, you can one into my school and you can see how we have our set up. We have a managed solution, our ICT suite is wireless, we have 95 netbooks and 30 staff laptops.

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    Many thanks and I will PM you shortly. Are all your lappies joint onto domain and do you suffer from slow logins, loss of connection etc. Also wondering if all these laptops will be a nightmare when looking to install further software, updates etc after initial imaging and finding a large enough area to lay them out. They were talking about laptops for the kids but I like the idea of the netbooks which you mention.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    No they aren't as they are Linux based and I didn't want to faff about with adding it to the domain. There have been some connection issues, but that's ie to the netbook hardware, not our wireless equipment. Our login times for the PCs are around 45 seconds, but that's due to profiles mapping shared areas to my documents etc. The PC's update no problems using WSUS over wireless, however I have staggered updates set!

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    Quote Originally Posted by boogster View Post
    ...and if there is any issues with 40+ lappies logging into the network and how slow logins, data retrieval, internet streaming takes etc. ...

    I did a few speed tests and posted the results in a past thread (copied below), it will give you an idea of speeds.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kipling
    I’ve just done a few timings, might be interesting to anyone considering wireless.

    Single machine test:
    Config Wired: cabled to HP switch at 100Mbs, no other traffic on switch.
    A single laptop domain logon when connected via cable averages at 11.378 seconds (average of 5 consecutive logons with 5 newly created users all with same mandatory profile)
    Config Wireless: ‘g’ laptop connected to a ruckus ‘n’ AP. AP connected to same HP switch as wired tests.
    A single laptop domain logon over wireless (with no other wireless traffic) averages at 16.58 seconds (again average of 5 consecutive logons with 5 newly created users all with same mandatory profile)


    Group test (16 laptops):
    Config wireless: wireless ‘g’ laptops connected to a single Ruckus wireless ‘n’ AP. Laptops position at a distance giving an average signal strength of 20%
    16 laptops all logging on simultaneously with a newly created user averages at 246.5 seconds (just over 4 minutes) (average of 2 constitutive logons with 2 newly created users both with same mandatory profile)
    A bit of maths…
    Average Megabytes transmitted during logon (including protocol overhead and retries) was 368.24 Megabytes.
    average time of logon was 246.5 seconds

    Megabytes per second = 368.24MBs / 246.5s = 1.49 Megabytes per second.

    1.49 Megabytes per second = an average throughput of 11.92 Megabits per second.


    There’s play in all those figures – it was me with a stop watch

    Hope that’s useful to someone…
    I can’t comment on a completely wireless solution (and to be honest I share your reservations about it) but in our current wireless setup, which is used in addition to wired PCs, we limit each access points to a maximum of 18 connections and get a perfectly usable system that way. It doesn’t get use for anything too bandwidth demanding but it works fine for general use (office – internet etc).

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Oh, I'd do all you can to keep your suite. Laptops in my opinion will cause you far more of a headache.

    Aside to the infrastructure for it, take into account the cost to maintain them. Depending on the age range you deal with they can be damaged and spares for laptops are generally more expensive. Also battery charging. How will you deal with that?

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    Kipling many thanks and interesting reading. I am trying to change there mind but I don't think they will have it. They still will have aroung 4 wired PC's per classroom and teachers will have PC's attached to smartboards hardwired but they basically want a mobile IT suite. I will have to start planning soon for a summer installation.

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    What age range is the school?

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    Edu IT
    They will be purchasing new lappies and 2 trolleys that charge them overnight. I too feel your pain with headaches on the maintenance front especially what these kids are like, laptops are so fragile. I am trying to find some articles about issues with wireless in schools to frighten them off!! LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edu-IT View Post
    Aside to the infrastructure for it, take into account the cost to maintain them. Depending on the age range you deal with they can be damaged and spares for laptops are generally more expensive. Also battery charging. How will you deal with that?
    Thats a very good point, as an example we’ve just had to replace a whole suites worth of batteries (32 of them) on laptops that are only just over a year old.

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    Sorry it is a Primary 2 form with about 500 on role (or will be from the summer!!)

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    I'd get a price list for the common spares which you'll likely have to replace.

    Power cables, keyboards, touchpads, screens and use that as part of your argument.

    So you're expecting to get a full days usage on a single charge? Hmm. What laptops?

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    Quote Originally Posted by boogster View Post
    Edu IT
    They will be purchasing new lappies and 2 trolleys that charge them overnight. I too feel your pain with headaches on the maintenance front especially what these kids are like, laptops are so fragile. I am trying to find some articles about issues with wireless in schools to frighten them off!! LOL
    There is a local secondary school around here that has implemented a laptop for every student to be used in all lessons - our lea took us all there to show it off and when we actually spoke to some of the teachers when the lea people where not there they said it was a total nightmare as there are always students with laptops in for repair or forgotten it etc.

    We have 6 laptop trolleys here (did have 10) but we have got rid of some and are replacing with ICT suites (now have 8 suites). most laptops are 2/3 years old they just don't have the lifespan of a desktop plus you never have a full set as one or two are normally damaged/broken in for repair etc

    Toby

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    Quote Originally Posted by boogster View Post
    Sorry it is a Primary 2 form with about 500 on role (or will be from the summer!!)
    We're a 2 form entry primary too.
    All our laptops are joined to the domain and yes it can be a pain to be honest.

    You need to keep profile sizes down to a minimum so all pupil logins are mandatory profiles. When they login a script then runs to check the contents of the servers icon directory with that on the local machine. If something has changed then the changes are copied to the local machine. I did have redirected start menu and desktop in place but if the client looses the network for a few seconds then the laptop is pretty much useless until it reboots. By doing it this way if the laptop looses the network and then rejoins all the icons will still work.

    If you around the Birmingham area your more than welcme to pop in.

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    We in the process of installing a new 40 pc ICT suite you can't beat them.

    Ben

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