Our Wireless Is Getting An Upgrade

At the beginning of this year we were approved and received E-Rate funding to upgrade our wireless infrastructure. That means the technology department will be replacing all of those “spider-legged” boxes hanging on the walls and ceilings of our campuses, and putting up these shiny new Cisco boxes.

Note the design, as it does not have those weird “spider legs” our current access points have. Very simplistic.

The technology in this new equipment is slicker, smoother, and better constructed then the ones we currently have up now. In the few test cases that we have tried with our new access points, teachers have noticed a significantly more reliable connection from their wireless devices. And that is the whole point of our upgrade.

What’s new?

Besides the physical look, the hardware and software is much smarter than the access points of yore. The technology that controls them has a way of allowing each access point to communicate with each other in a web of wireless connectivity.

There are lots of other cool features on the administration side such as network shaping and filtering. These features will be tested out and may open up doors to policy changes and alterations to our current wireless network usage. The new features will be tested in full once we install all the new access points and get a better look at our network under the software that comes with the wireless controllers.

The Roll Out

We received the new wireless access points a month ago and have been going through different stages of testing with them. They have already been incorporated at some campuses throughout the district, with much success, as I’ve mentioned earlier.

The installation process of the access points is very straightforward and quick. It should take a technician no longer then 10 minutes to remove the old access point and put up the new one in its place. This allows for minimal down time and virtually no network interruption.

We don’t have a definitive schedule for the roll out process and we may continue to incrementally install them, but rest assured, by this next school year we will have the new access points up and operational.

What Does This Change?

To the user, this upgrade does not directly affect you that much. You may notice a difference in how much more effective your wireless devices connect to the district WiFi but that will be about it. Down the road in the future, as things get tested out, other changes could pop up that affect user access with the WiFi network but these features are still getting fleshed out and go beyond the scope of this blog post. In addition, this new equipment benefits the Tech Department immensely and will allow us to support and provide wireless services more effectively and efficiently.

If you have any questions feel free to contact the Pampa ISD Technology Department

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