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Re: WiFi access point for students

El jue, 04-11-2010 a las 12:30 +0100, Hans Musil escribió:
> Hi there,
> I'm new to this list and I didn't find any way to search this list's 
> archive for my topic. So, sorry if I should bother you with an old topic.
> I wonder if there are any ideas about a wifi access point that grants 
> students/pupils access to the internet. In these days, many students 
> have wlan featured mobile devices like phones or laptos and wish to get 
> internet access not only from school computers, but even from their own 
> devices.
> I'm convinced that most (or even all) standard wifi solutions would not 
> work in schools without major modifications. This is why I do ask this 
> topic in the edu list.
> What makes school wifi access different from medium sized companies or 
> hotels? Here some of my thoughts:
> * content filter required
> * remote port filter required
> * traffic quota per user needed as otherwise there would be traffic 
> bottlenecks during breaks between the lessons when all want to watch the 
> latest youtube videos ;-)
> * established connections need to be logged and tracked back to 
> individual users in order to prevent misuse
> * maybe more detailed access control depending on age, classes, time  
> (not during the lessons) etc.

In Extremadura we have been testing different options, and we haven't
had a decission yet.
I'll try to resume the answers we've found (or not) to your questions.
- Content filter: there are a lot of solutions around, like
http://live.gnome.org/Nanny , or others like using a hired corporative
filters, as the one you can get using opendns.com . We're currently
using a corporative filter for our intranet, hired to Telefonica
(spanish phone and telecom provider)

- Access control, traffic quota and logging of connections:
There are very good AP around, but very,very expensive. We're running a
test pilot using aerohive. The AP's are really wonderful and you can do
most that what you need, but they are expensive.
So, another option we're testing is converting the LTSP Servers in AP.
It's something you can do adding one or two PCI wireless cards, using
hostap and freeradius. Freeradius works like a charm connecting to the
Debian Edu lenny configuration, I haven't tested it with kerberos. So,
the child or teacher can authenticate in the wireless using its same
login and password he uses to log in the system, and saving the password
in his account using wicd or  network manager.
We're currently testing this solution that covers the items you mention
too, and it's 1/10 of the value of a good AP.

- more detailed control and access: We're testing controlaula. I've
modified it to work with mobile devices from a web interface, and plan
to release this version soon.

Anyway, you've forgotten the main difference between a school and a
hotel/restaurant setup: the number of concurrent users. Think of a
school with only 10 classrooms, 25 pupils per classroom: 260 laptops. As
soon as most laptops are in the school, you will soon run out of
available wireless channels, and available bandwith. That's why only
expensive AP working in 802.11n work (we haven't tested enough the
hostap solution), but I can confirm you that ~100 euros AP's will not
work as soon as the number of users increase.

And, for sure, forget about using 802.11b/g and, if possible, use
802.11n with dual band support and work in the 5GHz band, where you can
get enough real available channels.

Hope this helps.

José L.

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