By Jean Wang:
In the next few weeks, Gunn will be upgrading our wireless system with new network gear as part of a district-wide network upgrade. “We should see an increase of about 10 times the wireless speeds we have now,” Computer Support Specialist Brett Demetris said.
[pullquote]“We should see an increase of about 10 times the wireless speeds we have now,” Computer Support Specialist Brett Demetris said.[/pullquote]
The network upgrade will be replacing equipment that has been in place for 15 years, and is expected to cost $1.5 million over the next year. The upgrade will help facilitate future Palo Alto Unified School District Information Technology plans and the implementation of a Voice over Internet Protocol system that will replace the district’s current phone system. “The network is the first step in this long term upgrade process,” Demetris said. “It’s laying the foundation for anything we want to do in the future.”
In particular, the new equipment will support thou- sands more devices on the wireless network, improve wireless speeds by up to 10 times and increase network security. With this backbone in place, the Gunn technol- ogy staff is hoping to eventually replace the current wire- less system, which has been the source of many student complaints due to its frequent need for reauthentication. “It’s easier to just disable WiFi and use slower 3G Internet,” senior Joe Atlas said. The new system would require students to log in once a day or even less to access WiFi. “[The new system] creates a lot of accountability because we know exactly who’s logging on to the network based on students’ IDs and passwords,” Demetris said. “Eventually it’ll get to the point where you’ll only log in one time and that is your school services and wireless log in all in one.”
Student response to the proposed upgrades have been generally positive. “That would be so useful,” senior Ari Greif said. “It would be really great for students who have after school activities because they could more easily access homework online via their phones.” However, Demetris stresses that it will take at least another year before such a system will be in place. “There’s no formal plan to get rid of authentication yet,” Demetris said.