I had home wifi routers in just about every classroom, plenty of connectivity to go around but there's a problem. When your device is connected to one signal it doesn't really like to jump to another even if the signal is stronger. So, if your connected to room 200 & you move to room 203 down the hall, if the iPad can still see it, it's not going to let go and connect to 203, unless you force it.
Next problem is in naming. Each router needs its own name. If you have 2 routers with the same name and the same password, it won't work. The pass might be the same but keys will be different which you have no control over. So if your schools routers are all named, myschoolwifi, and you walk down the hall, your iPad will try to connect but will just error out in some fashion. Might even say connected but will have no ideas how to actually communicate.
So, when selling us on the iPad program, Apple suggested, AeroHive.
Using our existing network, their team came in and mapped out our building and ended up installing 13 Access Points, through the halls.
They have different levels of Access Points and we had to get 3 of the high end models for our heavy traffic areas but everywhere else was able to go with the standard. Not an inch of the school has a Dead Zone.
After the install, it was a pretty painless process of naming the network and even allowed for creating a guest network with no access to our internal network. Internet Only but still goes through our content filter.
I have very rarely had to access the interface, (which is web based), since the install. It is completely self load balancing. I do have some trouble with some of the laptops still using 802.11g. They will drop off once in a while if they are running XP but my Windows 7 machines seem ok.
I'll show you the interface that I'm about to use to finally name all the APs from what they call the Hive Manager.
Here you can see the status of all your APs, during the changing of classes the little green dot next to the Lock icon will turn orange meaning its really scrambling dropping connections and connecting new ones but it quickly returns to normal after a few minutes. The client count is low because I'm doing this on Saturday.
Anyway, Here I'm going to check the box next to an unnamed AP and click Tools. In the drop down, I'll select Locate Device. You can see I've done this for the Library and 4K. You want to do this so if you find one of your devices off line you can figure out which one it is. (Cables come unplugged).
So, I'm going to click Submit and then roam the halls till I find the AP with the Blinking green light on it. This works on an iPad too so you can keep going. As in other Posts I'm using the Mercury Browser because of its ability to save passwords.
And that's about the only maintenance I can see myself having to do in the near future.
Again, these don't do much except give a seamless connection to wifi throughout the school. There are no filters you can put on them. I thought it would be nice to be able to easily block all wifi traffic from social media but leave it open for LAN connections, can't do it.
Cost was kind of reasonable as this is a long term investment.
And that's our wifi solution for around 400 devices in our school with a planned 100 more soon…