How to set up a wireless internet network in your school
What is wireless internet?
Understand how to set up a large wireless network
Formulate a Plan
- Who is going to need access to the wireless network? (teachers, administrative staff, students, guests, etc.)
- Where will wireless coverage be required – parts of the building, the whole building, the grounds etc?
- How many devices need to access the network, and how many are expected to be accessing the wireless points simultaneously?
- Will users be allowed to connect personal devices to the network? If so, consider that the average user has three devices (cell phone, tablet, and laptop) and add this to the total devices that will be connecting to the network.
- Are there likely to be clusters of users and peak periods of activity?
- Will the wireless network need to grow in the future, by either extending the range of the network, or through increased usage?
Access Points, Access Points, Access Points, Oh My!
When determining where access points should be located, consider that each access point must have power. Access points can receive power through an electrical outlet, or you can purchase access points that supply power over ethernet (PoE). However, PoE access points are more expensive. Review this website for more information regarding PoE access points.
When purchasing access points, ensure that you purchase business-grade, not consumer-grade access points.
By default, access points are configured to a specific channel. Access points that are adjacent to each other need to be set to different channels or the signals from the access points may overlap and interfere with one another. Below is an image illustrating how to set different channels for adjacent access points:
Simply installing a wireless network leaves the network exposed to security threats, because anyone can access the network. The main advantage of a wireless network (that devices don't have to be physically connected in order to communicate and share resources) is also the main security threat. You will need to work with your school to determine what level of security is needed and what steps you need to take to ensure the network meets those security standards.
This article recommends dividing networks into two main categories: the convenience network with basic personality and the critical network where performance and security are essential.