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Wireless Networks Thread, Visit to School with Wireless Network for School Wide Class Use in Technical; Hello, I've been browsing edugeek for a few months and found it very useful, but this is my first post. ...
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    Visit to School with Wireless Network for School Wide Class Use

    Hello,

    I've been browsing edugeek for a few months and found it very useful, but this is my first post.

    We're looking to install a school wide wireless network which would allow our 800 pupils to bring in their own wireless devices for regular use in the classroom. What are the potential pitfalls we should look out for? Are there any recommendations? My network manager is concerned that wireless infrastructure simply isn't up to this level of use.

    We would like to visit a school which has already implemented such a system succesfully to see what issues they faced. I would be happy for sponsors to contact me also if they can arrange such a visit. Our school is in Glasgow.

    Many thanks for your help and advice.

    James Cluckie
    Director of ICT
    St. Aloysius' College

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    We've got Aerohive WiFi here - have got 802.1x authentication setup which allows students to connect to our Wi-Fi APs using their normal Active Directory username and password.
    Only problem we have is they have to put in a proxy setting (so Android devices don't work) however we hope to fix that soon using a transparent proxy setup.

    If you want take a look at our video here - Student WiFi Video which is an overview.

    Or this one here which shows how to set it up on WP7 - Windows Phone 7 Video

    And although were in Oxfordshire do send me a PM if you'd like to chat about this in more detail.
    Last edited by jamesfed; 6th June 2011 at 11:12 PM.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    I know of a school here that has done it but in a purpose built building - from all accounts from teachers and students i've spoken to its awful

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    wifi just cant cut it the same as a wired network...its used here and whilst the ruckus system does the job, once the kids are on the net, i grind to a halt so have to move to the other side of my office to get a wired connection

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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    wifi just cant cut it the same as a wired network...its used here and whilst the ruckus system does the job, once the kids are on the net, i grind to a halt so have to move to the other side of my office to get a wired connection
    Sounds like you need more than one access point? (This statement is as useful as yours with no specifics...)

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicklec View Post
    Sounds like you need more than one access point? (This statement is as useful as yours with no specifics...)
    We've got a total of 33 here covering the entire site and you should be able to get onto at least 2 APs at all times - if you are going to do Wi-Fi its gotta be done right or the system will fail and it won't be the hit we all want it to be.

    To be honist the largest number of PCs we've ever had hanging off 2 APs has been 40 and I can't say I've ever seen a degredation in the service.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    We have 10 APs in my place, which replaced 37 WAPS....they are substantially more powerful, but to use for everything on the connection at once, the wifi just grinds to a halt - We have 200 laptops, 50 pcs, various tablets and PDAs connected at any one point...I can tell when the class time has finished and when it has started again because the net connection goes from DL speeds of 2mb/s to 38-60kb/s

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    CPLTD's Avatar
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    Hello JCluckie,

    I have PM'd you.

    Chris

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Also take into account the old saying 'you get what you pay for'. Cheap access points, regardless of the controller behind them, are not going to cut it, so if you can buy it in PC World then you can safely discount it from a managed setup as a rule of thumb. You will probably find you are looking at brands you have never heard of before, which is ok. If you need help on any of the ones you shortlist you know where to come for advice
    Last edited by Dos_Box; 18th August 2011 at 09:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    We have 10 APs in my place, which replaced 37 WAPS....they are substantially more powerful, but to use for everything on the connection at once, the wifi just grinds to a halt - We have 200 laptops, 50 pcs, various tablets and PDAs connected at any one point...I can tell when the class time has finished and when it has started again because the net connection goes from DL speeds of 2mb/s to 38-60kb/s
    Sounds like you haven't haven't got enough APs. Doesn't matter who the manufacturer is or how clever their antenna design a 802.11 access point can only provide between 1 and 300Mbps, depending on the standard and client chipset, and with overheads actual usable throughput is probably half those figures. What you actually want in a high density client environment is lots of access points only covering a small area each - not 1 AP covering a massive area. I try to design to have a maximum of 15 clients per access point.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    We have 100% coverage, but the trouble is the senior management dont want to upgrade to Wireless N points, as such we are stuck on ABG.

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    Hi James,

    This type of scenario is designed for everyday of the week for schools and organisations across the country. It can and does work. All enterprise wifi equipment will do the job the most important consideration is to employ a company who specialise in wireless and can design the network properly.

    Also consider is wifi likely to be the bottleneck? It may well be the 450Mbps Access point, but could it be 100Mbps wired ports or a 10Mbps internet connection?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    We have 100% coverage, but the trouble is the senior management dont want to upgrade to Wireless N points, as such we are stuck on ABG.
    In your case it's not about coverage, it's about capacity. An access point only provides it's top 54Mbps data rate within a few meters the further you move away from the AP the slower the data rate. If even 1 client has a slower data rate everyone attached to that AP will be dragged down to the same speed. So if someone's sitting 2 rooms away from the AP with a 12Mbps connection everyone in the room with the AP gets the same slow data rate. (It's not actually their data rate that changes but the amount of airtime they have to send that data decreases which has the effect of lowering their throughput)

    In a school environment on 802.11abg you pretty much need an AP per classroom although you may get away with one in every other classroom depending on client numbers.
    Last edited by paulfinlay; 7th June 2011 at 09:47 AM.

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    Hi James

    How do you secure your network - is the student wireless on a separate vlan to protect the rest of the network from viruses etc? how is it safe -

    cheers


    chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by ceebster View Post
    Hi James

    How do you secure your network - is the student wireless on a separate vlan to protect the rest of the network from viruses etc? how is it safe -

    cheers


    chris
    No VLANs here however the Aerohive Wireless has a built in firewall which can be assigned per SSID - this way on the student WiFi only ports 80, 443 and not much else are allowed but everything else (including traffic to our servers) is restricted.
    Internet traffic all goes through TMG 2010 which does malware inspection of the traffic as well.
    We've looked at IPSec before as well and that will probably make a showing at some stage.

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