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New student-accessible WiFi system in works for future

By Fiza Ansari and Melanie Erspamer
Published: October 2010

After over-reliance on a single wifi server at South last year caused an overload of bandwidth traffic, Director of Information Technology Shelley Chamberlain has started an initiative to establish more servers in Newton Public Schools.

“We are trying to set up a bandwidth for students in schools, Chamberlain said.

A little over a year ago, students had to plug in their computers using Ethernet cables whenever they needed access the internet. In the fall of 2009, however, South set up a wifi system that allowed students to wirelessly connect to the internet from anywhere in the school. There were three active servers within the system: “nps-teacher, for teacher use, “nps-student, for student use, and “nps-guest, for guest use.

The separation of wifi into different servers was intended to create a balance and prevent bandwidth traffic. The password to nps-guest, however, spread among students and nearly every student with a laptop or smart phone began using it to get onto the internet. This created too much server and bandwidth traffic and eventually, the password was taken away.

The new system will have a separate student server, like the current system. It differs, however, in that it will give each student his or her own username and password and a separate portion of the bandwidth, in order to prevent the bandwidth from becoming clogged and keep it running smoothly.

“I think it would be nice to be able to access a faster internet anywhere, since you wouldn’t need to do it in the library anymore, junior Joe Goodman said. “It would be pretty effective.

Another product of this new system will be the administration’s ability to monitor student activity. “This power will not be abused, Instructional Technology specialist Brian Hammel said.. “It is just to ensure that no student will go wild on the computer¦ if we see that a student is on twelve hours a day, downloading movies, we’ll talk to him.

This project has yet to make progress, and the future of this project has not been fully disclosed. Its completion, however, is certain, and the new system will be implemented as soon as possible.

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