STOP! If your infrastructure is not updated and able to support the devices you plan on adding, then take the time and money to do it BEFORE you start an 1:1.
Bandwidth: Today, devices are constantly sending and receiving data. The amount of data used by each device depends on where the information is stored; on the device (Laptops, netbooks, etc) or in the cloud (Thin clients, tablets, etc.). Chromebooks are very popular thin client being purchased by school districts. These devices are merely an internet portal that requires an internet connection for most apps. They do offer an offline mode with Google Drive, but this isn’t ideal. A district needs to estimate high when they project the amount of data they will need for a fully implemented 1:1. This is where pilots are so important. If your network can’t handle 100 new devices on the network, why would you think it can handle 1500?
A few years ago our district moved from a 300 megabit internet trunk to a 400 megabit internet trunk. We thought that this was more than enough. Now that we are moving towards an 1:1, we are planning on upgrading our bandwidth coming into the district to an 1 gigabit internet trunk. And yes, that’s going to come with a cost!
Access Points: Before the start of our pilot, our Freshman Academy has 10 access points (AP) throughout the building. Out IT department increased that number to 50! Even with that number, teachers and students complained about slow Internet speeds and dropped connections. After some troubleshooting, a bug in the licensing on the access points were causing most of the issues. A software update was applied to the network core.
During the summer of 2014 our IT department installed APs in every classroom in our High School. The number of APs on central campus is now approaching 250. As the school year started, we noticed some connection issues at the HS and it ended up being caused from having too many APs. We had to reduce the power on the AP allowing for a smaller radius coverages and less bleed-over.
Filter: Schools depend on E-rate funding to help support the cost of Internet services. Schools must comply with CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) to receive this funding. CIPA requires school districts filter any device on the school’s network. CIPA does not require the district to filter the device when it isn’t on the school’s network. Your team needs to decide if your stakeholders expect you to filter the device when the student takes the device home. For our pilot we pushed an extension to the Chromebooks to offer some kind of filtering while the device is off our network. Listen to your parents and make that decision. But remember, they vote for your bond money and you need them in your side if you want to expand the 1:1 in the future.