Wireless for Schools
Students and teachers no longer have to visit computer rooms for ICT tasks. Wireless networks allow them to use laptops or tablet PCs from any classroom. Wireless coverage can easily be extended to temporary facilities such as prefabs and sports halls where Ethernet might be nonexistent.
Increased usage of ICT for other subjects
Wireless networks allow easier and more flexible use of internet-based learning resources in the classroom.
Better Use of Classroom Space
Computer rooms in schools can now be used for other purposes. This is especially important to schools experiencing space shortages.
Lower Cost of Ownership
Wireless networks are less expensive to maintain and run than a wired network. This is because there is less need for drilling holes through walls and less need for cables, data points and switches.
Multi-tiered user access
Your wireless network can be setup with discrete SSIDs. This allows for virtual WLANs to be created for different types of users or traffic. A simple-to-use guest networking facility makes allowing and administering guests on your network ultra-easy.
School Needing a Wireless Link to “Prefab” Building
A school in South County Dublin approached us with the need to get wireless internet coverage into some prefab classrooms. The classrooms were approximately 150m away from the main school building. The staff were using USB WiFi broadband dongles as an ad-hoc solution but these were proving to be slow and expensive. They wanted broadband that was less expensive, faster and more reliable.
Our engineers talked with staff members and school management about their requirements. We discussed their current pain points and their future technology plans for these broadband deprived classrooms.
Our RF and site survey revealed little potential problems. There was a clear line of sight present between the main school building and prefabs. Running a cable from the main building to the prefab classrooms was a non-runner, as the cable would have to transverse the school yard – a major health and safety issue. In this case, we decided the best option would be to install two wireless bridges, one inside the main building and the other inside the prefabs.
The installation and configuration went smoothly. The two wireless bridges had semi-directional antennas. Once tested and installed, we configured two wireless access points inside the prefabs. The final internet speeds went from just 3.6Mbps to 18Mbps. We load tested the network and the data throughput rates remained stable. Next came the opportunity for the school staff to test the new network for themselves. They were delighted with the results. Accessing the internet no longer meant plugging in USB dongles to get under-performing internet speeds.
Mysterious Slow Downs in Wireless Network School
A school in North County Dublin was experiencing a strange problem. Everyday at certain times, part of their wireless network would experience dropouts and slow internet speeds. Nothing had been added to the network recently. The problem was puzzling staff. We performed a quick site survey and found no substantial object interference. We used a spectrum analyser and it detected nothing. We asked the staff if they saw any patterns to the problem. Nearly all the staff commented how wireless network performance seemed particularly poor in the morning time between 8:30am and 10am. With this in mind, we scheduled an appointment between these times. This time our equipment did pick up interference. We investigated this further and found that every time the water pump for the school’s central heating system operated, the interference would occur. We had found the problem! We re-located one of their wireless access points away from their water pump. On follow-up, ten days later, delighted staff had reported the problem had finally disappeared.