Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Wireless Reality at BVSD

​We have come to expect and rely on wireless access, especially now that smartphones and other mobile technologies have become ubiquitous. Unfortunately, the demand of these devices regularly exceeds the capabilities of the BVSD wireless networks in schools and at the Ed Center.

BVSD’s wireless network is over 6 years old and was designed before iPads and smartphones existed. It was designed for wide coverage, meaning that most areas in a building have access. However, it was not designed for density, which restricts the number of devices that can be connected at the same time.

This situation is the cause of widespread frustration with our wireless network capability, especially as we continue to add iPads, netbooks, and other mobile devices to classrooms.

There is no comprehensive short-term solution to this problem. The cost to upgrade the entire wireless infrastructure at BVSD is estimated at over 2.5 million dollars, with over 1 million needed just for high schools. In the long term, we are looking for one-time money or a temporary technology mill levy override, which would need voter approval, to provide the needed funds.  

Depending on how much money can be raised, one potential fix would be to upgrade the high schools and redistribute their older wireless access points to the middle and elementary schools to fill gaps in coverage and density. However, this would be a short-term fix for the middle and elementary schools due to the age of the devices.

Despite the known issues with wireless coverage, we are not limiting the number of mobile devices that your school can purchase. However, we do want you to be aware of the limitations that may exist in your school or building before you invest. IT would be happy to survey specific areas of your school if you are planning to purchase more mobile equipment. Knowing our wireless capabilities up front may save you time, money, and frustration.

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