Wednesday, 28 January 2009

A wireless campus

Achieving effective wireless coverage throughout a school is difficult.
We started by providing area coverage using Linksys wireless access points. These APs (rabbit's ears they became known as) then were put into many classrooms to try to increase coverage and improve performance.
They were not satisfactory. It was difficult to pin-point the reason but we think that they were resetting themselves to default settings whenever a power-outage occurred (and we get these now and again).
Our Sysman has developed and had installed another solution which seems to be working much more satisfactorily.
We use 16 Altitude 300 Wireless Ports by Extreme .These are located strategically around the campus so as to provide optimum coverage.
Additionally, the wireless ports are managed by a central switch which manages all traffic, improves performance and provides a central point for configuration/management.
Our Sysman says "that the Altitude Wireless Ports are enterprise solutions and so have much more capacity than the Linksys system we used before. The Altitude APs can handle up to 250 users per AP, and they communicate with the central switch all the time sharing traffic amongst the APs".
Each central switch has the capacity for 16 APs. We are going to place another switch and another 16 APs to improve service further.
We have around 800 connections simultaneously between 8am and 1pm, saturating our 4 megabits per second dedicated connection. Now that is another problem....

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