Colégio Next, a recognized Apple Distinguished School – deploys over 500 iPads to its 600 students as a teaching and learning tool. Despite being equipped with iPads, teachers and students alike were not making use of them. The reason for this was because of the slow network access speeds. Apps would not download and course contents were inaccessible. Oftentimes, having more than a couple students connected to the same Wi-Fi access point was enough to bring it to its knees. Colégio Next needed a unique solution, so they contacted Peplink.
“Imagine over 500 iPads trying to download media content all at the same time over suburban links. This can create a deadlock on any network, making download times unbearable.”Alberto Pamos. IT Director, Colégio Next.
Situated in the suburbs, high quality Internet connections did not fit the school’s budget. 500 iPads simultaneously downloading media-rich content led to a congested network. As a result, teachers became discouraged and frustrated, and the students were not receiving the intended learning experience.
In addition, with class sizes of 50 students, just staying connected to the Wi-Fi network was a challenge.
To overcome these challenges, Pamos deployed Peplink’s MediaFast series router. The setup allows for load balancing between affordable Internet connections from multiple service providers. Another feature of MediaFast is that it also caches frequently accessed educational content such as iOS apps, iTunes U, iBooks and Apple TV media.
Pamos also used a high performance AP One 300M. With this, students and teachers were able to stay connected and concurrently download large files with no issues due to the AP’s 5GHz Wi-Fi frequency.
Built on the Balance series, MediaFast includes all of the advanced features such as load balancing and per user group bandwidth control. Colégio Next makes great use of this feature by giving teachers priority access to the bandwidth. Any remaining bandwidth flows down to the students, then the outdoor zones, and finally to the guests.
Colegio Next. Video Interview
Colégio Next’s IT Director, Alberto Pamos: “We needed a network infrastructure that could fully support our teachers and students, and one that can allow them to make full use of their iPads.“
With all issues resolved, the teachers and students are discovering the full potential of their iPads. No matter if they are taking notes, accessing course materials from the intranet, wirelessly mirroring their presentations or simply doing online research. They are assured they can simultaneously do so with speed. Because of the successful implementation, Colégio Next has become a national reference. Other schools are constantly requesting to tour the facilities to learn about their unique network infrastructure and how the iPad is benefiting the students’ learning experience.
Instant, simultaneous access to media-rich educational content for 500+ iPads
Teachers, students and guests can be assigned access priority to available bandwidth, further preventing congestion
iOS updates (often 2GB size) no longer congest the network as they are downloaded only once, cached on the MediaFast and then distributed to all iOS devices
AP Controller makes MAC Address Filtering easy. Students are assigned to designated APs by their devices’ MAC Address in order to prevent saturating any single AP.
Wi-Fi connection stability for 50+ users per classroom, not achievable by other tested equipment
iPads are used all day, reaching their full potential with a fast and stable network all the time