Thursday, December 15, 2016

Network Management at BHS

Burlington High School needs to run an experiment on our wireless computer network over the months of January and February. We are seeking to understand where and why slowdowns are occurring and possible solutions. As background, the network from the buildings out to the internet has plenty of capacity. We are experiencing some delays inside the buildings due to the number of devices accessing the network. As a result, there are some teachers who are experiencing Apple TV’s that drop coverage and others who are having students struggle to connect with a wireless access point to get onto the network.  

One theory is that we have many more devices on the network than it was originally designed to manage. For instance, if every student and teacher walks in with a personal cell phone that connects to the network, as well as an iPad or computer, then we instantly have in excess of 5,000 devices on our network. The number of devices can detract from the capacity of the system.  In addition, the number of devices connecting to certain wireless access points can hit a number that will stop others from getting online.

For the month of January we are going to limit access to the BPS Wireless network to only Burlington provided devices. Please know that cellular coverage will not be affected. In other words, cell phones will still work; however, cell phones will not be able to automatically access the wireless network. The same will hold true for any personal network enabled device that has not been provided by the district.

For the month of February, we are going to limit access to (throttle) certain applications.  We are seeing large demand for music applications - like Pandora and Spotify - as well as Netflix.  While we understand that these applications are all being used for instructional purposes, we would like to limit streaming music and videos to determine the impact on the network, if any.

We will update everyone with our findings at the end of February!

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