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District upgrades Clark wi-fi, increasing coverage and bandwidth

For years, Clark High School students have dealt with inconsistent, low-quality Wi-Fi coverage in many parts of the school. Hallways, especially the 400’s, have become notorious for unusable Wi-Fi. Students are often forced to use their mobile data to turn in assignments, and teachers occasionally have to postpone activities due to inconsistent Wi-Fi.

It’s clear to see the need for increased coverage; while some areas of the school have excellent connection, other areas are “dark zones”, where online connection is rare and impossible to maintain.

“The bad Wi-Fi in the 400’s restricts me from going on Google Classroom and completing online projects/assignments,” says Clark Junior Angel Rocha. Angel isn’t alone- teachers as well have expressed their dissatisfaction.

“The Wi-Fi in room 427 isĀ nonexistent,” emphasizes sophomore English teacher Mrs. Richards.

Fortunately, the school district has decided to help solve this issue.

“The district does a periodic refresh of systems in schools on a rotating basis, [and] as money becomes available, typically every 7-10 years, [Wi-Fi improvements are made],” explains Assistant Principal Winfield. “What is happening is, the district is going to be coming in and upgrading our Wi-Fi system to what’s called a one-to-one system, which means that it is supposed to have [enough] bandwidth and reliability so that every single person in the building could be connected wirelessly at the same time.”

These changes are meant to respond to both issues with coverage across Clark’s many hallways and to issues with bandwidth, especially when hundreds of students attempt to connect to a single access point.

“One of the issues we have had is that an individual access point can only handle about a hundred connections at a time, but it doesn’t always clear the connections when someone disconnects. There are times when the access points will think that it has one hundred people connected to it, so it doesn’t accept anybody else, [but] it hasn’t cleared previous connections. It’s our understanding that the new access points will not have these issues, and will have the bandwidth to handle all of the use,” continues Mr. Winfield.

Wi-Fi alterations are not expected to negatively affect teachers and students during school hours.

“As it is being rolled out, all work is going to be done at night. They are not going to change any passwords,” says Mr. Winfield. “It is supposed to start happening November 18th [and] we anticipate that when we come back after Thanksgiving Break, it will be completely up and running and we should have a full one-to-one ratio throughout the school.”

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