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WiFi Hotspot

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by kindling_not_vessels, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. I'm looking for a system to allow pupils to use our wifi on their personal laptops, as you can find on hotels and service stations. Anyone have any recommendations / advice ? Edugeek is offline at present
  2. madcat

    madcat Occasional commenter

    I keep looking at this, but always end up thinking that I'm opening up a huge very expensive can of worms.
    In hotels etc it is fairly straightforward, instal a box with 'lobby' access set the password; give out password to customers (all the ones that I've seen also have some sort of age limit usually 18+) job done
    In school this is a lot more complicated,
    You probably don't want the virus riddled devices carried by most students to come anywhere near your main network So you'll a need sperate internet only service
    Then you have ensure that this is heavily filtered*
    Then you have to work out how you are going to track/monitor access if you are going to have a common pasword*
    Then of course you may want to think about speeds 1 or 2 users fine, but what about 30 or 50 or 100 users in one area will the system cope; how much will cost to ensure it copes
    *But if you filter and monitor too heavily they'll just buy 3G dongles and use those

    Me ? I'm just going to stick my head back in the sand and hope it goes away
  3. I'm thinking of a voucher system for fixed time periods. Teachers give out vouchers and that lets us manage user numbers . We already use OpenDNS for filtering, it's not perfect and the tech savvy ones will find a way to get around it, but a condition of usage is installation of a monitoring control client. The vouchers are only for use in class so they will be monitored by people as well.
  4. Another edugeek without a home here.
    It is best to have a separate wifi network for personal devices, so that the academic network is protected from viruses. That doesn't mean that students can't use your VLE portal like they do from home, just that they can' t login and access their files like they can from school computers.
    This is how hotels do it. They have more than one network and the public one is only connected to the internet!
    You should still have filtering and firewall on this network... if only to keep your students on task, and off twitter, during lessons. It will require a separate broadband connection to your main network.
    I'd look at something like Ruckus. We got a very, very good deal on it, saving 25%, buying at the end of quarter (October)!
  5. As has been pointed out, it's probably best to separate the traffic for your public, pupil network from your standard school network. In practice, this doesn't mean you'll need two sets of network wiring, you'll simply need network switches capable of handling VLANs. This isn't an expensive feature in most switches these days, but it's something you'll need to check and possibly upgrade for. You will alos probably need a proper managed wireless system with dual SSID capabilities - again, Ruckus hardware should be able to handle this.
    If you don't have one already I'd recommend getting a decent Internet filtering server - you can buy drop-in appliances from people like SmoothWall if you don't feel like making your own, and they take care of staying one step ahead of the latest way to work around filtering systems.
  6. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    Then you should accept that your network will quickly be compromised and used in ways you may not like. That means better security, not less.

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