Wi-Fi hardware available to schools today offer a couple of alternative antenna technologies. Antennas can be designed to radiate RF energy omni-directionally or they can use adaptive antenna technology.
The omni-directional approach is very simple and common amongst hardware providers as omni antennas can be bought off the shelf. And the challenge is that omni antenna technology radiates RF energy equally in omni directions (360 degrees) without any ability to control where its energy is going. However, it is different for adaptive antenna, as it directs greater amounts of RF energy toward the intended direction of an active recipient. The adaptive antenna uses a combination of array of small antennas to transmit data via different paths to the recipient, and these are automatically controlled by a software to ensure the best path to reach the recipient on a packet by packet basis. Adaptive antenna technologies perform more superior over standard omni-directional technology as it better mitigates RF interference and ensures better performance throughout the whole process.
In addition, to overcome and reduce cumbersome RF planning and costly cable backhaul, schools should look to deploy access points that support 'Wi-Fi meshing'. Often during the deployment of wireless access points, there are potential mistakes where access points are laid out beyond the 100-metre Ethernet limits due to location and coverage limitations. Wi-Fi meshing solves this issue, as access points are simply plugged into any convenient power source and it will form a mesh network to the nearest access points with a proper backhaul network connectivity for connections to the internet. No extensive RF site surveys, cable runs, configuration, optimisation adjustments or maintenance woes are required. This could potentially save schools tens of thousands of dollars each year, which can be better spent on further educational resources.
In using the latest smart Wi-Fi technology, schools will not only be able to provide students and teachers with the connectivity required for the ever evolving digital school environment, but also opens doors for partnerships and collaborations between schools to provide the best education for our students.
Today schools need more than Wi-Fi that works. Instead, it's important to invest in the smart technology that will enable better learning for our students. Being short on STEM teachers would not be an issue anymore as schools can utilise teachers from around the state, country or globe to provide the education our young people need. Students can learn from one another and receive glimpses into new cultures, languages or histories.
The possibilities are truly endless. Innovative new learning methods can be created. We can give our students the best chance to succeed. Not only that, but the schools that begin this journey now will see a boost in their rankings and subsequently funding. It's a win win all round and one that will enable our educational institutions to take learning to a whole new level.
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