Boarding students get bedroom bonus: wireless

Students at The King's School soon won't need to leave their bedrooms to complete assignments or access the Internet thanks to a new wireless network being rolled out in the school's boarding houses.

The boys' school, situated in Sydney, accommodates about 400 boarding students in eight boarding houses.

Currently, each house has a mini lab of between six to eight computers, which is wired to the main campus.

Michael Eggenhuizen, the school's director of ICT, said presently, if a boarder had work to do, he would walk down to the labs. If a computer was not available for use he would have to go down to the library.

"If you are [living] at home you would have your own PC and the ability to go on the Net and do your own research. Well, we needed to provide that same ability for these boys who are living on the property. This gives them the option to get access from the bedroom," he said.

Eggenhuizen said his team has been rolling out the system for the last five weeks. Before the rollout, the IT department took a week to audit and discuss how best to tackle the solution.

The audit worked out the best spots to position the wireless access pints. "On average there are seven or eight access points in each house which covers about 50 to 60 students, so it will give every student [with a PC or notebook] access to Internet, home directories and intranet services."

The students will get a Novell client, and a McAfee antivirus agent that will update each time they log onto the network. All students who own a PC or notebook will have wireless access cards fitted.

Eggenhuizen said Kings is using a Cisco wireless solution, because the vendor already supplies the school with most of its networking hardware.

"Once you have your core infrastructure, you tend to stick with it [Cisco]."

All the access points in the boarding houses will go back to a Cisco management server with all configurations and firmware updates being managed from there, he said.

The rollout has been well received. "The kids are already asking about it."

It is expected to be live in a week.

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