Solomon Schools Go Wireless
"a very large leap forward"
by Andrea Young and Scott Summers
December 18, 2012
The Solomon School District will soon be entirely wireless. District Information Technology Specialist Scott Summers hopes to be up and running by mid-January, although this project began in November of 2011 but was post-poned until the new iPad project was up and running in the Elementary School.
Throughout the building, staff, faculty, students, and parents may notice the access points. There will be more available wireless connectivity in the district and the way devices connect will be different as well. There were two goals for this project. 1) A new network, and 2) A move towards a Bring Your Own Device structure. What has been done already is a very large leap forward. In order to reach the second goal, though, the network must handle the traffic, manage devices and maintain a content filtering solution By keeping USD 393 competitive with surrounding school districts, current and prospective parents and students can see that the district is keeping up with the culture and needs of today youth.
The various iPads throughout the district created a greater need for more wireless access points. The wireless network will help the schools in ways that the existing wireless already does. The only problem with the current wireless solution is location, scalability, and reliability. The current wireless access points will work but place too much of a load on them and will slow down and crash. This new system will shuffle wireless devices from one access point to another depending on demand.
Network Computer Solutions (NCS) out of Manhattan, KS, installed the equipment, Enterasys. They are an authorized re-seller and installer of the switches and access point equipment and will be able to service the buildings as needed in the future. USD 393 has not selected the internet service provider as of yet.
The current network switching equipment was last upgraded in 2002, wireless access points have been added over the years in various locations, none of this equipment was able to be centrally managed like this new system. As far as speeds go, the current network on the wired LAN side is capable of 10/100Mbps (megabits per second) the wireless access points are capable of 54Mbps. The new equipment is capable of 10/100/1000Mbps (1000Mbps=1Gbps (Gigabit per second)) on the wired side and up to 350Mbps on the wireless. Also the new switches are capable of being interconnected in a single stack to create a virtual switch that provides 1.47 Tbps (terabits per second (1000Gbps=1Tbps)) of capacity.