Google Cloud Apps Admins

Does Your School's Wireless make the Grade?

Written by Joey Allen (Google Admin) | February 10, 2016

Google Chromebooks has been quietly taking the educational world by storm in the past few years, accounting for dramatic and impressive increases of devices shipped to American classrooms since 2012. While Microsoft and iPad shipments have been either stationary or in retrograde, Chromebooks have enjoyed a whopping increase approaching 30%.

Why? First of all, its low initial cost and minimal ongoing cost are very compatible with the often strained budgets of educational organizations. Chromebooks also offers a full keyboard experience, and provides a diverse ecosystem of Google apps which can enrich and support the educational environment.

The Google classroom

Google initiatives in the area of student computing are strongly indicating a shift toward wireless connectivity, and it is crucial that this be reliable and predictable above all other considerations. The WLAN must be scalable and able to support the total population within the institution, and at the same time, the WLAN should be easy to configure, deploy, and manage without having costs soar to unreasonable levels.

Raising a Ruckus excels particularly in this area by using features like BeamFlex, which intelligently adapts a signal and optimizes it for each packet and each client. Compared to legacy antenna designs, BeamFlex has superior signal quality at the client antenna, increased airtime efficiency, reduced interference with neighboring API's, and equal benefit for all clients, regardless of distance.

API's must also deliver scalable performance and have the capability of supporting all classroom apps, regardless of the volume of traffic on the network. Classroom-friendly features like Google Chromecast must be made secure and easy to use, regardless of the school's deployment topology. The Ruckus mDNS proxy feature nicely handles Chromecast discovery and forwarding across network segments, and the Ruckus ZoneDirector appliance can serve as the mDNS proxy agent for a subnet.

Technical considerations

To ensure that a healthy ratio of clients is supported on each radio band, an optimization technique called band balancing should be employed. One way this can be handled is for the Administrator to simply set a balancing ratio percentage at a specific frequency, and then evaluate the client distribution as clients join in. Various frequencies can be tested in this manner, while comparing the expected client ratio to the actual test results. A properly functioning band balancing solution guarantees that each Access Point maximizes the available capacity.

Another critical metric of the network supporting the classroom environment is making sure that Access Point service quality is superior at all times, even in high-demand scenarios. Large classes coupled with high usage functions like video streaming must be accommodated with no apparent degradation to students and instructors. In testing against comparable competitor configurations, the Ruckus R700 Access Point delivers outstanding service, having the fastest uplink and downlink FTP times of any setup measured.

Wrapping it all up

Classrooms today are increasingly making use of cloud-based applications and devices such as Chromebooks, that require robust and reliable wireless networking. Ruckus is strongly equipped and positioned to provide the necessary products, features, and optimizations to make Wi-Fi the right classroom choice for schools from all the meaningful angles - attainability, affordability, ease of use, and maintainability.

Learn more about Raising a Ruckus in the Google Classroom

To get a more in-depth and personal understanding of Raising a Ruckus in the Google Classroom, register right away for the February 4th Apps Admin session. Enjoy some of the finest barbecue in Austin, TX, while networking with other administrators and learning more about how Raising a Ruckus can benefit your school, and make the quantum leap into the 21st century of education methodology.