Parents everywhere should be very happy!
After spending a great deal of time homeschooling their kids, children in the United Kingdom will be able to go back to school. This will be a nice respite from this home-based activity of teaching, allowing our teachers to do their job as they are supposed to do.
In AA, it stated that last year 94% of all students, regardless of their age, were homeschooled by parents that were not only doing their jobs but helping with educating their children – trying their best to provide a thorough education. As a teacher, it is important to realize how complex your role is, and during 2020, as well as over the last few months, classes were created for two different types of students – those that were going to attend with their parents on-site, as well as those who were at home.
Some of this burden will be eased by this decision, and in this sector, students are still vulnerable as the country battles COVID-19.
Probably the largest factor – if not the most obvious one – to consider is why this pandemic has been intermixed with problems with technology infrastructure.
Part of the problem has to do with the size of each school. There are independent schools that are able to be much more effective, courtesy of the fees that they receive, whereas schools that are funded by the state are not able to receive this money, and therefore become underfunded, which is what leads to problems with remote teaching.
1. Older Wi-Fi Systems
In most cases, there are three things that every school should try to stay away from.
In regard to technology, operating at the 2.4 GHz band is where Wi-Fi often was – but today, it is not so common. This means that there would only be a total of three channels that would not overlap, and you will want to steer clear of using this type of system.
Single-Channel Architecture SCA Wi-Fi – many companies have used this, and although it works very well, it excels when it comes to roaming. However, there are many locations that are high-density environments, and because of this, there will be problems.
Today, many manufacturers of these products and systems are moving away from this particular type of system.
WiFi that 802.11,a,b,g,n – when this is often presented, it is typically represented as WiFi 1,2,3,4. This is quite an enhancement over other types of Wi-Fi, such as 802.11ax – which is why everyone should upgrade!
2. Not enough WiFi
Access Points(APs) are also problematic because there are not enough of them – meaning coverage gaps are going to occur.
If you do have enough coverage, but you have very few AP points, and if you are transmitting at full power, this could create a slowdown, or perhaps the APs are not going to connect to the back which will cause the problem.
When you look at this objectively, you can get a good signal, but that doesn’t mean that problems will not arise when using APs. Therefore, it is likely that if the device and the AP cannot connect, the transmit power is not going to be the same.
Essentially, if you don’t have enough APs, you’re going to see capacity issues.
3. Too much WiFi
Although it is possible that having too much of one thing may not be that great, this logic does not apply to Wi-Fi. Having an abundance of access points will lead to sharing Airtime.
If there are multiple apps that are sharing bandwidth, your Wi-Fi could be slower, and this can get worse if fewer Access Points are available.
What needs to happen is to organize the configuration and design of the Access Points to get a better result.
Access Points must be placed in certain areas, specifically within a particular height range. You must consider horizontal factors, usually not more than 4 m in height, and you must use Omni-directional APs for this to work properly.
If these are not mounted properly, then you are going to have a problem!
There are many schools and academies that are going to use them, however, they may not work very well in core doors, especially when you have them on both sides of the wall. This will also cause problems with classrooms trying to receive Wi-Fi signals.
In any education facility, you need to have 5G bandwidth in order to get the best results. It is also important to realize that shorter wavelengths will cause problems, preventing them from going to the walls.
As a result of this, many people choose to use the 2.4GHz band as opposed to 5G to get the best connections. Additionally, long corridors will allow all of the APs to connect with one another, even if it is just indirectly.
If you are not able to properly place your APs, you will increase interference, causing the controllers to power down intermittently. As you might expect, the controller is not able to help you properly set up the APs, and will only understand the signals that they are sharing.
The school’s Wi-Fi must be configured in a specific way to avoid this last major issue.
When considering Wi-Fi, and overall speed, there are problems that can arise. Take, for example, 80MHz + widths that do not work in the real world most of the time… unless you are in a Faraday cage in the Antarctic!
You must consider the power settings. Consider two different scenarios that will often crop up. Either a) the controller will decide what to do or b) someone with the proper tools, and knowledge can do the measuring to make sure it works.
If you decide to group APs together, you can give a controller very specific parameters, and this tends to work best in our experience. However, special knowledge and tools will be needed to do this right the first time.
QoS (Quality of Service) will be needed to set everything up properly, and that includes using APPs properly, in order to get priority over others. When working with Microsoft Teams, for example, this would be appropriate.
As you can discern, Wi-Fi can be quite complex, but if it is implemented properly, and handled carefully, academies and schools can experience excellent bandwidth, allowing teachers and their pupils to benefit when they return in March.
No one really knows how long COVID-19 will persist into the future, but it’s important to consider using a proper Wi-Fi service if you are in the education sector that is equipped to provide a safe learning experience – and this is true even if we should find ourselves homeschooling once again.