EducationSuperHighway is a non-profit with the mission of enabling high-speed Internet access in every K-12 classroom in America so that students can take full advantage of the promise of digital learning.
Thanks to E-Rate modernization enabling many districts to upgrade their wireless networks, technical leaders need a way to quickly learn about the latest wireless technologies, and release an RFP to procure a wireless system that will maximize their budgets and support their districts’ educational technology goals.
With rapidly changing technology and a variety of new products, choosing the right equipment for your school district can be a daunting task. That’s why we created the School Wi-Fi Buyer's Guide, to assist school districts in their wireless technology purchasing decisions.
The School Wi-Fi Buyer's Guide is an unbiased resource on the latest wireless technology available to assist school districts in their purchasing decisions. It was created and designed specifically to help K-12 institutions make smart and cost-effective equipment purchases.
The School Wi-Fi Buyer's Guide provides:
This guide was written for Tech Directors, Network Administrators, Chief Technology Officers, or anyone who wants to become more familiar with the wireless technical specifications and features available for K-12 school districts.
If your district currently has or is planning on moving to a 1:1 environment within the next 3-5 years, the question on your mind is probably "What type of wireless system do I need to support 1:1." Most wireless solutions, if installed with the correct density can support a 1:1 environment.
There is a lot of debate about the correct number of APs per classroom. Many 1:1 districts have installed less than one AP per classroom in a saw tooth pattern and have achieved perfectly acceptable performance. Other districts swear that one AP per classroom is needed to handle their constantly growing bandwidth demands. Ultimately, it all comes down to a good site survey. Without the site survey, which takes all of the variables into consideration (building construction, number of user devices, type of user traffic, interference levels, 802.11n versus 802.11ac, etc.), it is difficult to make a blanket statement about how many APs every district in the country needs.
EducationSuperHighway has made some general recommendations (see chart below) about the number of APs per classroom a typical district can expect to needs for high-density Wi-Fi. These recommendations are meant to be used as planning and budgeting guidelines, but they are not intended to replace a good site survey and should not be used as a specification in your RFP otherwise you may end up buying more than you need. . Your RFP should require that the vendor perform a site survey and base the design on their results.
Otherwise, most of the other features described in this guide are related to ease of management, overall architecture, or specific hardware that can enhance user experience in challenging environments. These features, though not directly related to the performance of a wireless network, have a huge impact on the usability and manageability of your network so they are important to examine thoroughly if your timeline allows.
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