Thursday, September 18, 2008

This may get confusing... so try to stay with me...

OK.... I had this issue where my PE teacher (who happens to be techy) needed a computer in her office because she bought the fitness gram online software/program that uses internet.  Lo and behold, there was not a drop in her office.  I had the computer, but no internet access.

I spoke to Vickie Witt, another TIS in my county, and she told me about this USB thing you can plug into a desktop to make a desktop computer wireless.  My interest was piqued.

I installed a router in our cafeteria because we do LOTS of presentations from there (the largest space outside of the gymnasium that actually has seating) which solved many of my problems.  So I thought to myself..

"hey you beautiful thing... you look pretty today... why are you losing weight?"

and THEN I thought to myself "why not try one of those usb thingys (oh what are they called) and put a computer in the PE Office and make it wireless?"

Thus my idea was born.  I went and bought a belkin usb converter that requires one simple disk install and plugged it in and WE WERE LIVE!

Here comes the tricky part.

I am the Acuity trainer for my county and one of the biggest pitfalls for the high school teachers was lack of labs for every student to complete the benchmark.  Drops are expensive, and with such big purchases as new smartboards for the high schools, the money is not there for drops.

And then, two paths converged.  WHY NOT pull in 25 desktop computers in an unused classroom and purchase the $29 usb wireless converter and CREATE A LAB WHERE ONE DID NOT EXIST BEFORE!??!?  It is alot less expensive than creating 25 drops in one room...  and if you can manage this near a router.. HOLY SMOKES YOU SOLVE YOUR PROBLEM.

Here is the box... here is me thinking outside of it.

What do you think!?!?!


Rachel said...

I like it. I'm worried though that if you are using just a small wireless routers throughout the school, that a large number using the wireless signal will lead to lots of dropped ip's and loss of connections.

We had a similar problem. We used to have around 5 wireless routers positioned around the school to feed the school with wireless signal. Half of my teachers could get signal with it. And our 26 laptop lab sometimes could, until I put a router on the cart by itself. Then the kids could get signal, but internet based programs (like acuity or i-know) would lose their signal during peak usage times.

Our school eventually went to large, ceiling mounted wireless systems. Somehow, just 3 of these feeds our whole school about 95% reliable. It's better, but I still worry about internet based applications.

Did a class on Skype, today. Had a few dropped incidents.

But, your idea is awesome with the usb thingy's.

Keep thinkin' outside that box.

thegigabyte said...

Great thought, but there are issue like Rachel pointed out. The routers have to be set up in a certain capacity to not have the drops, let the server manage the routers. A big issue is the loss of bandwidth in going wireless. You can lose almost 3/4ths of the bandwidth. Another alternative may be to use large switches in such a room if you only have one drop. Again not great for sites that have major media, buty alas another option to explore.

Keep up the great work OUTSIDE THE BOX!