Hi

I was wondering if any of you who are working in a computer lab with many students online at once have regular problems with very slow running internet?  Some sights take forever for the pages to load. I have my webpage on their desktops and sometimes it will just bump them off for no apparent reason while they are in a site I have preselected for them. This could very well be a district wide problem. We often lose internet for short periods or even days at a time before it is restored. I looked back at the former tech teachers logs to the IT dept and she had complained about slow internet as well and pages taking 20 min to load. Please let me know your experiences with this in your districts. Thanks

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Have you contacted your district IT help desk yourself? Do you know the district connection protocol (ie: cable modem, T1/T3 line/ISDN, etc)?

 

It sounds like a district level issue if its persistent and you might lose access for days at a time.

 

Also, how are you connecting? Wireless or wired? Our wireless access points bog down as they approach 20 users so I have my iMac lab wired via ethernet to ensure connectivity.

 

If you are hardwired, how are you hardwired? I ask because when I first came to this lab all the machines were connected via ten year old 10baseT switches. Slow. I upgrade to new 100baseT switches and all is well.

 

If your district pipe is the issue you may want to contact your local cable company. Often times they'll donate a cable modem and service to a school. You wouldn't be on your districts network/backbone so you probably couldn't use it for administrative functions, but it might be a more stable solution for your lab.

Being a retired technology director I will say that you would need to put it in writing to your technology coordinator and cc your principal. Remember to be firm but kind.

 

Perhaps the technology department budget does not allow for a better/faster Internet connection.

 

Evaggelos

Online School Records

I would agree with Evaggelos about contacting your technology director regarding the issue.  What ever the issue is, you should at least be made aware of it, since it has been so persistent.  Also, I recommend keeping a log, if you can, of days/times that the internet is slow.  Excel is great, but even windows notepad, (press F5 in notepad and it types the date and time in for you) so you can keep some kind of a record. 

 

At schools, especially in todays economy, the tech budgets are often underfunded, and slow or disruptive internet issues are easily ignored, since they are often "sporadic" and "self-repairing" issues.  If you have a log that shows it is failing on a regular basis, it makes it more tangible and important.

 

If you are allowed to install your own software, I would recommend http://pinglogger.co.uk/ - which will show reaction times and outright disconnects in an easy graph.  If not, I recommend using a speed testing site like http://speedtest.net/ to see what kind of speeds you've got. 

 

Anyway, I've worked as helpdesk before, and something like this, while typically not used, does help improve your chances of getting an effective response.

Thank you Thank you for the responses and ideas. Yes, I have mentioned it to the IT assistants. I never see the head of IT. The assistant didn't say much. Did not give me a real answer. They are reconfiguring the distrit network and they say this issue and others will improve after the reconfiguration. Hmmm lol

I will try those tests! The log idea is great too. :)  PS No I can't install anything. The IT has admin passwords they use. I am lucky to even have them on my own computer at work.

 

I agree with the other replies -- you should definitely work through your IT department to get the issue resolved. (It always helps to call often -- the squeaky wheel gets the oil -- but also to be understanding, as they have a tough job. Baked goods are always good gifts for IT.) However, until that happens, you could try a few methods to mend the issue temporarily:

  • At one high school with sketchy internet, I brought my wifi base station from home. I plugged it directly into the internet port (as you would plug in your teacher computer). Then, I had half the computers connect to the internet using this station wirelessly. It worked really well. My base station was a $99 'airport' at the Apple store.
  • If your school has the money (or you're willing to make the investment), you can get a mobile hotspot. A hotspot is the size of a phone and has a monthly bill associated with a provider like Verizon or AT&T. This allows you to connect computers to the internet anywhere you have cellular service. This method gets a little sketchy, though, for two reasons:
    • BIGGIE: You're no longer using the district's firewall protections because you're getting internet outside the district. (We use computers with protections built-in since our computers go home, so it works for us.)
    • Mobile hotspot prices are based on how much data you're downloading, so it can get pricy. Also, the cheaper (about $35 a month) hotspots will only connect 5 devices, which is fine if kids are working in groups. But if you need to connect more than that, you have to get specialized devices that are more expensive.
Of course, the benefit of a hotspot is it works almost anywhere -- on field trips, on buses, at conferences, etc.

 

Good luck!

 

Katy Scott

http://digitaldollar.edublogs.org

We are wireless. I have about 25 gateway pc's. I also have about 5 Acer pc's that do not work well.  There is a gateway laptop cart that nobody uses and I think it is because there is a problem getting them to identify the wireless connection.   I did put this all in writing but we are in the process of outsourcing for District IT problems. Windows Media Player and any website with video in it can be very problematic.  I think there are other video players you can download but I am unable to do that bc of admin rights.

I now make two sets of lesson plans for each day based on whether or not we have internet connectivity that day. :(

 

 

If you are running that many PCs wirelessly, and trying to stream video, odds are its clogged bandwidth.

25 systems on a single access point is a lot, video or not.

Try wiring the PCs and your connection will probably improve dramatically.

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