MLTI Wireless Network Update
Published:August 6, 2009
Conference Call Update
The MLTI Project Team will be hosting a conference call on Thursday, August 13 at 9:30 am to answer questions and provide an update on the status of the wireless installations. We encourage all sites to participate in the call.
Participant Code: 939403**This is the correct call information to use (corrected 8/11/09)
Wireless security options and implications
The MLTI wireless network solution includes basic password encryption using the WPA2 standard. This standard provides a basic level of security to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your network and does not have a negative impact on performance of the network.
The WPA2 security standard was developed after the original MLTI iBook G3 devices were built and deployed, and due to physical hardware limitations, those devices and many other computers built in that time period are unable to utliize the WPA2 standard. Therefore, those iBooks and device are unable to connect to the MLTI wireless network.
In some instances, schools have requested that the MLTI wireless network configurations be altered to use an older wireless network password standard, WEP. This standard was used and is compatible with the iBook G3s and other computers of that era. The Department discourages schools from making this change. Doing so will eliminate the performance gains that are realized in the newer 802.11n wireless networking standards that the MacBooks and many other more modern computers use.
If the new MLTI wireless network is reconfigured to utilize the WEP standard, not only will the speed of the network decrease by approximately 6 fold, but the coverage will also be reduced. As a result, some parts of the school will not have adequate wireless signal strength to support a wireless connection to the network, and in areas that are able to make a connection, the speed of that connection will be severely impacted.
The iBook G4 and MacBooks retired from the MLTI program this summer are fully compatible with the new MLTI wireless network. If a school requires compatibility for the iBook G3s and other older computer equipment, the Department recommends that the school eliminate the password protection altogether, and instead utilize other means to provide a basic level of access control to the network if necessary.
The MLTI wireless network installation will provide wireless network connectivity to all approved instructional areas in the school. However, in some instances, schools are responsible for certain electrical and other installation costs.
If your school has a portable or "out" building, it is possible that in order to include that building as part of the MLTI wireless network, that additional work like the installation of lightening protection, installing buried conduit or other work that falls outside the scope is simply "pulling" a network drop will be required. If this is the case, these costs have always been the responsibility of the local school. In these instances, the Department will work with the school to determine the costs and an action plan. Quick resolution of these scenarios will help MLTI complete the network installations in a reasonable time frame.
It should be noted that if you have above ground wiring to these portable buildings for electricity, network, fire/security systems, etc. the necessary lightening protection may already be in place. Existing conduits that are properly protected will be used whenever possible. Site surveys will likely be necessary to ensure that all work is done to proper building codes.
The MLTI Team