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Freebee Friday: The Digital Classroom for Free

Aerohive dashboardAerohive’s HiveSchool has the power to change the classroom dynamic by connecting every digital device for free, allowing students and teachers to present, collaborate and – above all -- learn. It works with the company’s TeacherView and StudentManager apps and uses WiFi to connect computers, although you don’t need an Aerohive-based network. It allows teachers to not only select which students screen is shown to the class, but with Chromebooks, the teacher can remotely control Web browsing. Best of all, during March it’s a freebee

 

Quick Connections

Wiremold_10ATC_Bronze_Cover_Open_GasketTired of expensive and hard to install connection boxes for power, audio and video? Wiremold’s Evolution 10-inch poke-thru device does it all. In addition to the ability to poke through all the cables, the Evolution device is round, making for an easy and neat installation. Open the hinged door and you’ll see everything from audio and video to USB and Ethernet ports.

3-in-1 WiFi

RTA1300M_main_right_1000Regardless of whether you’re looking for a router, access point or range extender, Amped Wireless’s Artemis family can help. The three LAN devices can pump out up to 450Mbps in 2.4GHz mode as well as 867Mbps in 5GHz mode, making for throughput that maxes out at over 1.3Gbps. Regardless of which one you get, the Artemis family uses the latest MuMimo transmission techniques to improve range, bandwidth and the number of devices. Each has a USB 3.0 port for connecting to a hard drive as well as four downstream wired LAN connections. Each will cost $130.

Power Router

Ea9500By combining the latest MuMimo transmission techniques with eight built in antennas and a Wave 2 chipset, the Linksys EA9500 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router can push up to a theoretical limit of 5.4Gbps. It does wired networking as well with eight gigabit LAN ports for connecting to everything from printers to network attached storage. It’ll be available this spring for $400.

Much More for less

Ert1900acsIf you liked the Linksys WRT1900AC router, you’ll love its follow-on WRT1900ACS router. It looks just like the original, but the WRT1900 ACS has a faster processor and more memory while eliminating the noisy fan. It can move up to a theoretical 600Mbps in the 2.4GHz band and 1.3Gbps in the 5GHz band, making for one of the hottest routers around. But, for those watching every networking penny, the WRT1900ACS sells for $230, $20 less than the original.

 

A New Home for Data

ReadyNAS 212 214If your file servers are getting overloaded with the flotsam and jetsam of school work, Netgear has a new way to save and serve up all your files. The ReadyNAS 212 and can hold a pair or four 2.5-inch drives and top out nearly 12TB of storage space. The enclosures can be set up using RAID techniques, allow mobile access and with the right router can use a pair of Ethernet connections to boost throughput.

Netgear nighthawk x8 Speaking of the right router, Netgear’s Nighthawk X8 AC5300 Smart WiFi Router pushes not only WiFi speed and range but can get the most out of the ReadyNAS family. The tri-band router hits a theoretical peak of 5.3Gbps thanks to individually amplified antennas that glow when they’re in use and MuMimo techniques, although it will need a software update to take advantage of this technology. Rather than four LAN ports, the X8 has six, a pair of which can use link aggregation to push throughput. This makes the $400 router perfect for locations with lots of network appliances.

Network Booster

Gal-01Looking to fill in a few WiFi dead zones? Amped Wireless’s Titan-Ex Wi-Fi Range Extender can boost any wireless signal. It works with both 2.4- and 5GHz channels and has more than a dozen amplifiers and four high-gain antennas to spread the data throughout a school. It’s capable of 1.9Gbps throughput and uses Amped signal-sensing software to help set up the extender in exactly  he right place. It costs $190.

 

 

Here, There, Everywhere

Hivemanager NGIf you like Aerohive Network’s HiveManager monitoring service, but want to keep the entire network’s data onsite, the company’s HiveManager NG keeps everything local. It all revolves around HiveManager’s NG Virtual Appliance, which monitors and gathers data from each access point and produces detailed peroformance reports. It’s available now and will cost $95 a year to use.

Press to Connect

02_TAP-R3_main_front_stand_3000Tired of trying to figure out a router’s details with a less-than-intuitive Web page? Amped Wireless’s TAP-R3 router has a 4-inch touch screen that shows a variety of details and lets you change them by tapping on its colorful icons. Inside, the TAP-R3 has a dozen high-gain amplifiers and its three antennas can help fill in a school’s WiFi dead zones. Based on the 802.11ac WiFi standard, it is capable of moving up to 1.75Gbps of data. Plus, while it’s idle, the screen shows the time and date.

Safe and Secure

Xoware aXO Ware is changing the calculus of Virtual Private Networking (VPN) with an inexpensive control box that can encrypt all communications into and out of a network, making for secure remote communications. At $70, it costs an order of magnitude less than others, but is tiny, easier to set up and provides a way to enable secure remote log-ins by teachers and staff. The box creates a VPN from any connected remote location and encrypts all traffic using the 256-bit AES protocol so that nothing can get hacked or listened in on.

Xoware bAt the other end, the user needs to use a hardware encryption key that plugs into a PC or Mac; the company is working on software for iOS and Android systems. Perfect for a small- to mid-sized school, the VPN machine can support up to about 10 clients at once. You can get the set for $100 starting in August, with additional client keys costing $40 each.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Tech Tools are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.