UC Computer Science WLAN Application and Protocols Report
Other than the Internet, probably no aspect of technology will have more impact on the classroom than the wireless local area network (WLAN), which may soon become as indispensable to the educational mission as chalkboards and textbooks. In the 21st century, technological literacy will be a primary determinant of whether a student succeeds or fails later in life. The ability to access and work with a wide range of information technology (IT) applications will be critical to ensuring this literacy. The benefits of a pervasive wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) deployment in primary and secondary education include:
Infrastructure Flexibility: School districts’ learning technology needs can be as unpredictable as class sizes. A WLAN can be quickly rolled out virtually anywhere, without the need for extensive retrofitting of existing infrastructure.
Speed: Classroom productivity is measured in terms of how much can be taught in a short period of time. Students can access a WLAN-enabled learning environment in a matter of seconds, without special connections, transmission control protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP) changes, or a tangle of cables. Teachers can focus on teaching and students can focus on learning.
Resource Mobility: A WLAN allows technology-learning tools such as laptops to be moved to wherever students are, rather than vice-versa. This makes the concentration of mobile computing resources possible in a single classroom while maximizing hardware utilization and a return on the investment.
Deploying WLAN in the classroom can bring enormous benefits, but there are some unique challenges to this environment. For a start, school IT staff is often stretched thin by the support demands of a large number of users, so the WLAN solution cannot require time-intensive configuration and administration. Schools also pose wireless coverage challenges because of the conflict between their sprawling layouts and the need to provide connectivity to multiple users in the confined area of a classroom. In addition, given the uncertainties of the school budget process, WLAN deployment costs must be kept low, leveraging existing infrastructure where possible, and offering advantages in terms of scale and price.
After reading the given information on the requirements of a school’s WLAN, your task is to prepare a professional report. The report should focus on the following:
Identify the potential user groups and users of WLAN in a school environment.
Assess the WLAN for probable risks in a school environment.
Specify security requirements by user class or type.
Mock-up a simplified data classification plan.
List and justify particular applications and protocols that should be allowed on the WLAN.
Determine whether personal digital assistants (PDAs) should be allowed to access the WLAN.