The hardest part of covering a school with WiFi often involves filling in dead spots after the access points have been installed. NetSpot can help with software that eases creating a site survey of a network’s strong and weak points. There are free apps for Macs and Windows systems as well as a $149 Pro version for Macs that adds the ability to use 15 different ways of looking at the data and can tap into hidden networks.
Figuring out what’s wrong with a network can take hours of nosing around, but Netsscout’s AirCheck G2 can likely figure it out in seconds. The handheld network scanner can connect with a Wired Ethernet LAN or a 802.11ac WiFi connection and its 5-inch color touchscreen can present everything from checking Connectivity and mismatched wiring to looking for channel interference. It can not only help troubleshoot DHCP and Power over Ethernet problems but Cisco Discovery issues as well. All results can be saved to a cloud account for later comparison. It costs $2,193.53 with a case, AC adapter and cords.
Your school is locked up with excellent WiFi coverage but the playing fields, bus pickup area and parking lot are dead zones, not allowing online access, IP cameras or phones. Enter D-Link’s DAP 3320, an 802.11n access point that can stand up to the worst weather that mother nature can dish out. It tops out at 300Mbps of throughput, which should be more than enough for a few surveillance cameras, an emergency IP phone and even some outdoor Web surfing.
Does your server room look like a tangle of cables with neither rhyme nor reason? A new generation of networking cables with plugs that sit at a right angle and can be stacked for great neatness and visibility. They meet all the requirements for Category-6 status and are shielded against interference with a channel separator and load bar to maintain performance despite its right-angle bend. They cost only a little more than budget cables.
If your network isn’t living up to its high-speed potential, it might be your switches that are slowing the data down. If you have gigabit hardware, move up to 10-gigabit per second speeds with Netgear’s ProSAFE Plus Switch. The XS708E offers 8 ports that can reliably move 10 gigabits per second of data from here to there. It’s fully manageable, can protect against denial of service attacks and can allocate bandwidth to where it’s needed. The 8-port switch costs $850.
Aerohive’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
Tired 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.
Regardless 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.
By 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.
If 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.