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WiFi in Education: Mission-Critical Wireless for K-12, Colleges and Universities

by Teddi Strassburger on May 8, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 9.06.04 AMWiFi is mission-critical at the University level and is becoming so in K-12. Students access learning materials through a growing number of devices connected to the WiFi network and seldom plug into a network. New learning materials are rich in video content and require lots of bandwidth.

To satisfy this need, new WiFi networks are designed for high capacity and high density. This means a larger number of high performance access points in more locations. The TIA-4966 Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Education Facilities specifies telecommunications infrastructure requirements for educational facilities and includes a section on Wireless Access Points. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 9.06.11 AM

This standard specifies that all areas of educational buildings should have wireless coverage - including classrooms, hallways, res halls, cafes, labs, auditoriums, gymnasiums, sports venues, etc. Securing and aesthetically blending APs into all of these environments can be a challenge. The standard also specifies that outdoor coverage should be implemented around buildings. Mounting APs outdoors presents a new set of challenges, including weather and physical protection, cabling and concealing the APs in a manner acceptable to the Campus Architect without compromising AP performance. 

To provide for the capacity required in educational environments, the TIA 4966 Standard specifies AP density in APs per square feet for both Res Halls and other buildings. For places of assembly, the Standard specifies AP density as follows: 

Expected Occupancy Number of WAPs
Up to 25 1 WAP per 25 people
126-200 9
201-300 14
301-400 18
401-500 21

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 9.06.19 AMAuditoriums, large classrooms and sports venues are particularly challenging for the wireless designer and installer because of the large number of APs required. It is often difficult to identify locations for all of the APs, and even when locations are identified, how does one install and cable to the AP? And how will it look when installed? The TIA-4966 Standard recommends AP mounting height in the 8-12 ft range. In many of these larger venues, there is not a ceiling at this height to mount the APs, further complicating the installation problem. 

The standard also describes general cabling requirements, firestopping and other considerations for the wireless network. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 9.06.28 AMGiven the mission-critical nature of the wireless network, and the need to fully integrate this technology in every building structure (inside and out), the wireless designer and installer will need to use "every tool in the toolbox" to aesthetically install, secure and protect access points in many building environments, without compromising AP coverage and performance.

Oberon offers the widest variety of access point mounting solutions and enclosures for every environment: 

  1. Suspended ceilings locking enclosures
  2. Suspended, panel and cloud ceiling recess mounts
  3. Hard ceiling recess mounts
  4. Open ceiling mounts
  5. Wall rights angle, surface and recess mounts
  6. Underseat auditoriums and stadiums mounts
  7. Outdoor NEMA 4 enclosures
  8. WiFi bollards 

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 9.06.35 AM

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Topics: Access Points Oberon wireless WAPs

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