The following notes come from District Administration’s April 2014 issue. The article is Where’s My WiFi?
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Bandwidth challenges can be broken down into 3 chunks:
the bandwidth going from an individual device to an access point.
the connectivity across the school’s local area network (LAN)
the school’s connection to a wide area network (WAN) or internet service provider (ISP)
WiFi access points connect to a school’s LAN and some schools must upgrade their LANs to accommodate all additional WiFi traffic.
It’s the connection between the individual device and the access point that is “the bandwidth area that’s most mysterious and where the bottleneck is for most schools.”
Schools used to deploy WiFi by signal coverage–they would put an access point in the hallway and see how far it would reach. But it doesn’t really matter how far the signal covers. It depends on the level of service that a school wants to offer its student.
An access point has a fixed amount of available “throughput,” which is the amount of data that can move through a connection. Throughput usually measured in megabits per second, governs how fast a web page will load for the user or how often a video has to buffer.
District leaders must realize that keeping up with bandwidth demand is likely to be an ongoing issue.
Great info to share with folks! I just had this conversation last week with others about planning for additional access points to ensure ample WiFi access in schools. In these days, the more WiFi access point determines the level of service–text data vs video–schools can provide.