School Technology Manager

WiFi

Wireless networks operate using radio frequency technology, a frequency within the electromagnetic spectrum associated with radio wave propagation. When a radio frequency current is supplied to an antenna, an electromagnetic field is created that allows the signal to propagate through space.

One of the main devices in the wireless network is a device known as an access point. The primary job of an access point is to broadcast a wireless signal that computers can detect and “tune” into. Since wireless networks are usually connected to wired ones, an access point also often serves as a link to the resources available on the a wired network, such as an Internet connection.

The most common wireless technology standards include the following:

IEEE 802.11a
Created in 1999, this version of WiFi works on the 5 GHz band. Since many devices (like most wireless phones) use the 2.4 GHz band as well, this standard was created with the hope of encountering less interference. 802.11a is also rather fast, with maximum data rates topping out at 54 megabits per second.

IEEE 802.11b
Also created in 1999, this standard uses the more typical 2.4 GHz band and can achieve a maximum speed of 11 megabits per second. 802.11b was the standard that kick-started WiFi’s popularity.

IEEE 802.11g
Designed in 2003, the 802.11g standard upped the maximum data rate to 54 megabits per second while retaining usage of the reliable 2.4 GHz band. This resulted in widespread adoption of the standard. Wireless G remains common even today, as it is adequately fast, and, when integrated with a router lacking support of the new N standard, is incredibly cheap.

IEEE 802.11n
The newest WiFi standard, N was actually introduced in 2009. It’s been adopted slowly but is now common on many routers and laptops. Supporting multi-channel usage, 802.11n can operate at both 2.4GHz and 5 GHz. Each channel offers a maximum data rate of 150 megabits per second, which means the maximum data rate of the standard is 600 megabits per second. However, this standard requires hardware support on both ends, as you can’t make use of a dual or tri-channel router if your laptop only supports a single channel.

While better rates are available when N-Technologies are implemented, one of the limitations of the IPad is that it only supports the modulation but not the other 802.11N technologies. When considering the appropriate WiFi solution for your school, be sure to consider the following capabilities:

Networking
Multiple independent SSID
Multiple independent VLans

 Security, Authentication and Encryption
.11i, WPA bit, 104-bit WEP keys
.11x, Radius authentication
SSID suppression
MAC-address access control

Management and Configuration
Multiple user interface options
Build in web-based management
Command line interface(CLI)
Control and configuration through management software

Network Ports
/100/1000 auto sensing ports
IEEE 802.3at based POE

For a free consultation with one of our WiFi consultants to architect the best WiFi solution for your school, contact us.

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