Tired 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.
XO 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.
At 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.
Forget about cryptic messages delivered with a connected client because Amped Wireless’s TAP-EX2 range extender has its own 3.5-inch touch screen for telling you what's going on with your network. Working with icons and a tap-to-enter interface can not only help set it up, but deliver key configuration and performance information, like who’s connected and how much data is moving through the device. Just tap the screen to make changes with the 802.11ac wireless extender, it’s as easy as that. A big bonus is that when the system is idle, it becomes a clock.
Tired of the fact that consumer LAN equipment, while cheap, doesn’t seem to last or have the top security you’re looking for. Amped Wireless’s REB175 can extend an 802.11ac signal throughout an area of up to 8,000 square feet. It has three high-gain antennas, but inside is a dozen powerful amplifiers that boost the outgoing signal and increase sensitivity for the incoming beam. The device can use power over Ethernet and be magnetically attached to a wall. A versatile piece of gear, the REB175 can run as a range extender, bridge, WDS bridge or traditional bridge and can extend up to 30 different networks.
Ever wanted to add wireless access at the football stadium, the bus line up or any outdoor area where students, teachers and administrators congregate? D-Link’s DAP-3662 outdoor access point lets you put WiFi anywhere. The weather-proofed Access point can use the latest dual-band 802.11ac protocol for delivering upwards of 1.2Gbps of bandwidth and can be powered by its data cabling using the power over Ethernet protocol. The white access point is easy to hide, costs about $350 and has an unparalleled lifetime warranty.
Don’t let the small size of Amped Wireless’s ProSeries High Power AC1750 Access Point fool you. It is a potent WiFi device that uses the latest 802.11ac protocol, yet remains compatible with older systems. With its array of 12 signal amplifiers and three high-output antennas the dual-band transmitter can cover as much as 8,000 square feet, allowing IT staff to use fewer access points to cover the territory. Able to connect with up to 100 clients at a time, the AC1750 device is perfect for placing in a school’s hallway for covering several rooms. It can be plugged into an AC outlet or run with Power over Ethernet electricity.
Rather than network speed, a big portion of file-serving performance is dependent on how fast a server’s drives can read and write its data,. So, if you use high-speed flash chips instead of spinning hard drives, things can move considerably faster, regardless of whether it's for a gradebook transaction or delivering video to students. That’s the idea behind StorTrends 3600i Family, which takes this concept a step farther with separate solid state hardware for reading and writing data. Available with write capacities of up to 2TB and read capacities of up to 1TB, the 3610i can push performance while only costing a little more than a traditional storage array.
Integrating all the different types of computers that show up every day at school is a hassle, but Aerohive’s ID Manager app can ease getting a bunch of different devices online. The software lets you set up the institution’s WiFi access points to quickly establish networking privileges on an iPad. All the user has to do is register. Everything is secure, the pad cannot stray from the arranged access areas and the networking privileges can be revoked at any time.
If you want your school’s wireless infrastructure to reach outside of its physical boundaries to an outdoor lunch area or a sports field, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Fortunately, Aerohive’s $1,400 AP 1130 uses the latest 802.11ac networking techniques to extend WiFi to where it’s needed. Able to support 512 DHCP or up to 256 Radius-authenticated clients, the AP 1130 has an Ethernet port and can be powered by its Cat 6 cabling. It can work and survive in rain, snow as well as temperatures that range from -50 to 100-degrees Fahrenheit.
After you’ve unwired your school with WiFi, the next step is keeping a tight grip on all those access points with a remote management controller. D-Link’s $2,700 DWC-2000 can track up to 256 APs on its own or over a thousand in a controller peer group, creating a self-organizing and self-perpetuating network by regularly scanning the devices and optimizing their performance. It can use Radius, LDAP, POP3 or Windows Active Directory techniques to authenticate clients, comes with a lifetime warranty and works with D-Link unified wireless products, like the DWL-2600, -3600, -6600, -8600 and -8610.