Other than the Internet, probably no aspect of technology will have more impact on the classroom than the wireless local area network (WLAN), which may soon become as indispensable to the educational mission as chalkboards and textbooks. The benefits of a pervasive wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) deployment in primary and secondary education include:
Infrastructure Flexibility: A WLAN can be quickly rolled out virtually anywhere, without the need for extensive retrofitting of existing infrastructure.
Speed: Students can access a WLAN-enabled learning environment in a matter of seconds, without special connections, transmission control protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP) changes, or a tangle of cables. Teachers can focus on teaching and students can focus on learning.
Resource Mobility: A WLAN allows technology-learning tools such as laptops to be moved to wherever students are, rather than vice-versa.
Deploying WLAN in the classroom can bring enormous benefits, but there are some unique challenges to this environment. For a start, school IT staff is often stretched thin by the support demands of a large numbers of users, so the WLAN solution cannot require time-intensive configuration and administration. Schools also pose wireless coverage challenges because of the conflict between their sprawling layouts and the need to provide connectivity to multiple users in the confined area of a classroom. In addition, given the uncertainties of the school budget process, WLAN deployment costs must be kept low, leveraging existing infrastructure where possible, and offering advantages in terms of scale and price.
After reading the given information on the requirements of a school’s WLAN, your task for this assignment is to prepare a professional report. The report should focus on the following:
Identify and list the potential user groups and users of WLAN in a school environment.
Assess and describe the WLAN for probable risks in a school environment.
List and justify particular applications and protocols that should be allowed on the WLAN.
Determine and explain whether personal digital assistants (PDAs) should be allowed to access the WLAN.