Note: In the continuing series on Technology Planning Insights, please find another contribution.
Key #2 – Plan ahead for Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) and 1 to 1 Initiatives (e.g. iPad/Chromebook).
Given the plethora of mobile devices available to students, staff and community, both in-house provided as well as those they are bringing in, there are a variety of issues. I’ve explored Bring Your Own Technology in a variety of posts, including this criteria checklist that compiles the best wisdom I could find and written a fictionalized case study of a BYOT implementation for Ardent ISD.
In terms of infrastructure, you need to address the following:
- Wireless access – After listening to a frighteningly technical presentation from a Cisco engineer (thank you!), which is my own fault for asking about this as a result of reading this report about 300% more wireless access needed for iPads, it has become evident that MORE wireless access points are needed to support iOS devices in schools. In fact, we probably need more than 1 WAP per classroom.
- Wireless LAN Controllers – As you add more wireless access points, you also need to add wireless LAN controllers to manage them.
Some Districts have also taken advantage of Meraki wireless accesss points and Power over Ethernet (PoE). Consider the following:
Take a look at Meraki‘s offerings with BYOD/iOS mobile device management (MDM) in mind. In case you’re not familiar with Meraki, it offers cloud-based controllers for unlimited wireless access points, traffic-shaping, network access control, power over ethernet (PoE) via their switches for any WAP (their’s or not), remote desktop management (similar to Dameware, Famatech’s Remote Control), Volume Purchase Program (VPP) management, remote wipe, etc. and a handy set of free web-based management screens and reporting capabilities.
|This diagram illustrates how Meraki cloud-based management works, eliminating the need for traditional expensive controllers for wireless access points.|
Webinar Announcement – Watch a webinar on Thursday, 05/29/2014 on Meraki: Register now for “A New Era in Cloud-Based Mobile Device Management” and learn in minutes how easy it is to stay ahead of the devices inundating your network. We’ll also send you a free 802.11n AP* just for attending, giving you the chance to try out the Meraki WiFi integration features, if you haven’t already received one.
Other neat features allow one to drill-down to device/user level. Being able to drill down to a device and see that a teacher was running Netflix* in a K-12 school district in the Gym all day presents the opportunity for fun conversations, right?
Some tips to consider: If you are making major changes to your wireless, you may or may not have the staff in-house to run cabling and hang wireless access points. While you definitely need to build capacity in-house to take care of these tasks, for big projects such as placing cabling in ceilings for wireless access points, you may want to contract with vendor partners to get this work done. It might also be worthwhile to invite vendor partners to evaluate your district network.
While this blog entry really hasn’t addressed BYOT and how it can impact teaching and learning, that is a key issue that I address in detail in the links about Case Study: Ardent ISD.
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure