A long-needed network and wireless access overhaul is taking place this summer at De La Salle, and when students return in August, they will be amazed at the increased speed of the system.
Consistent, speedy connections has been one of students’ top priorities in surveys this past school year.
Principal Patrick Adams said, “One of the trademarks of a Lasallian education is innovation. We consider De La Salle to be the best educational system for students, and in the spirit of being innovative, we have chosen to meet our students’ needs where they WILL BE in future years, and just not where the demand is currently. This is a major upgrade, and I am sure the Founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, is smiling in agreement to our approach.”
Mr. Dennis Parks, Information Technology Director, said, “We are creating wireless access in every part of the building. We’re replacing the current 15 wide-area ‘hotspots’ and adding another 60 for a total of 75. We’re bringing Wi-Fi right to where the students are. Wi-Fi will be available in every classroom, conference room, and office area, as well as the Digital Resource Center, the Commons, the Cafeteria, the Gym, and the weight room and locker rooms.”
In addition to the Wi-Fi upgrade, the network switches are all being replaced. Mr. Parks likens the network to the “spine” of the system. The school has seven servers, with back-up, in a designated room in the 600 wing.
The servers are being connected to the Comcast internet system via fiber optic cable, a replacement of the co-axial cable the servers have had for the last several years. Parks notes that the upgrade will make access much faster.
In early June, Comcast workmen were busy drilling under the parking lot on the west side of the school, to bring the fiber optic cable into the building.
The total cost of the project is $180,000, with an expected completion date of August 1.
With the move toward student use of Chromebooks, the number of devices seeking Wi-Fi has increased. Mr. Parks says that on any given day, 500 devices are on the wireless system – not only Chromebooks, but also laptops and phones.
“Only the 2016-2017 seniors are not required to have a Chromebook. The juniors are on BYOD – Bring Your Own Device, and all freshmen and sophomores will be using Chromebooks.”
Mr. Parks also notes that DLS is a “Google School” with all content cloud-based. All students have a gmail account, and use the account for note taking in Google, the sharing of documents with other students, and more.
“With 75% of the students on a tablet next year, plus nearly 100% of the students and faculty having phones with them, we could easily approach having 2,000 devices on the system at any time.”
Students have phones and a tablet – with 800 students, plus staff with phones.. Could easily approach 2000 devices on the system at any time.
Students will continue to access Wi-Fi through their Google accounts. Mr. Parks says, “We can then control the bandwidth. Students may want to stream a movie on their phones, which eats up bandwidth. We can block that.”