The school I work for wants to setup a new class room based on 1 large central room with 5 small breakout room connected to the larger room
The plan is to put 130ish pupils each armed with their own laptop into the room and of course connect them all via wireless.
what is the best way of doing this.
we had a meeting with one company who did not believe that it would be possible to log the pupils on to the domain with this number of clients.
They were keen to push thin-client approach but the school is not interested in this.
There suggestion was use the laptops as stand-alone devices with internet access. They suggested using HP kit (lots of it!!)
How would you approach this problem?
Is it do-able?
Do we need to be looking at something like Extricom or that just smoke and mirrors?
8 ap's using 802.11a, 3 ap's using 802.11g. in theory anyway, not sure it would work in practise.
I think there's either a typo in your post or something anyway :)
How can you teach 130 pupils in one room?
I meant how can you TEACH 130 pupils in one room :)
it will mainly be a home base for the year group and teaching will be broken down in to smaller tutor groups in the smaller break out rooms.
either way .. does anyone know how best to connect them all?
The answer, AFAIK (and I'd be extremely interested myself if someone else has a better answer), is with wires I'm afraid.
We have a similar layout, 1 large from with 4 satellites. We have 4 HP access points. In theory, with the right channels (1,4,9,13) we could get 80 laptops going at once. 20 per access point. In practice any more than about 12-15 per access point and things really slow down. Also the amount of time it takes for a laptop to fall over from one access point to the next means it can take minutes to for some students to login.
We struggle with 40 laptops in this room!
Talk to one of the companies that deal with managed wireless networks. We use Aruba and while we're not working on anything like this scale it ought to be able to cope.
There are two ways of trying to get wireless to lots of devices - one is to have a few very high powered APs and hope they don't conflict. The other, managed approach, is to have APs which will turn down their power so that they don't conflict. Given enough of these then you don't get into overlapping channel problems - they simply turn down the power to the point where they're talking to just a few laptops close to them.
It won't be cheap but I think you would get change out of £10,000 but you'd be hard pushed to cable that many computers for that money so it's probably cost effective if you want that many machines!
I think you could also look at using wireless laptops as thin clients - you then reduce the bandwidth needed while getting the flexibility of wireless laptops.
Have a look at the Extricom system
For something like that you need a micro cell system that can have move than the normal 3 or so waps in one room.
You need specialist advice and that advice may well cost some money.
Unfortunate but true I wouldn't try and hand roll something like this.
i have no intention of getting my hands dirty and have cash for someone to come in and take care of this for me..
the main question is can it be done?
I have contacted the above companies (thanks for the heads up) and will let you know how it goes -
has anyone had experience of dealing with exticom?
I heartily recommend REACT Technologies who deal with this sort of thing all day long - we have many AP's here at Hampton covering the entire site, all running off two switches... All installed by React. No problems to report, and we regularly have large amounts of users online at the same time.
React Technologies - wireless networking, wireless lan switching, firewall, voip, vpn.
Depending on how well defined the break out rooms are you could use wifi blocking film on the windows and in the walls to partition the areas from each other, this may allow for better usage of the avalible spectrum with less interference. This would of course be in conjunction with a managed solution like the others have recommended.
You would not need to seal the whole breakout room from wifi, just adding a shadow from the other APs scattered around would probably increase your possible density and throughput.
Wi-Fi Blocking Paint : Gina Hughes : Yahoo! Tech
Newly Declassified Window Film Keeps Out Hackers, Phone Calls, EMPs: Scientific American
Using directional antennas on your APs will also help to segment the area into more manageable sections. I think a smart provider who plans it properly should be able to use these techniques integrated with a managed AP solution to provide a reasonable amount of bandwidth to your client laptops and manageable interference levels.
Wires all the way.
Wireless struggles on 30 laptops in a room let alone 130!!
I don't see why a decent managed system with AP load balancing and auto tuning shouldn't make this do-able :confused: