Netbooks For Education and School Wireless LANs

Wow, wireless networks and netbooks seem to be the hot topic at the moment with more and more enquiries for the potential of mobile computer based teaching through a school wireless LAN.

So where do you start when it comes to choosing the perfect combination of school wireless LAN and netbook combination? With regard to the school wireless LAN solution, we believe that a leading solution for a fast, reliable and affordable school infrastructure, is Meru Networks.

Meru Networks has been at the forefront of technology for a school wireless LAN for some time and provide solutions for both 802.11g and 802.11n networks. Meru Wireless Networks set themselves apart from much of the competition by providing a single channel solution to the otherwise complex issue of channel planning a school wireless infrastructure.

The Meru “Air Traffic Control” system means that all wireless clients have time to send their message on the school wireless LAN with excellent network efficiency. This results in 99% of data getting sent or received the first time.

What this means for your school wireless LAN? Meru wireless networks are easily installed, easily scaled and fast infrastructure to rival a wired network. Less waiting to log on; less frustration at lost connection or slow speeds; all leads to both teachers and students enjoying and making the most out of what a school wireless LAN can offer. For more on Meru see our wireless for education page.

Netbooks for Education

So you’ve chosen your school wireless LAN and now to the choice of which wireless devices to give the students? Of course there are a wide range of laptops for education but if you have decided greater portability (or maybe lack of available budget) of netbooks is the way to go then you have a wide choice.

The range of netbooks for education is currently very crowded with most of the leading computer manufacturers, including Toshiba, ASUS, Samsung, Dell, MSI, etc, all competing for this sector. Despite so many manufacturers competing with their netbook designs, the current range all tend to have very similar specifications.

Most of the current range of netbooks offer from an 8.9″ to a 10.1″ screen, an Intel Atom N270 (1.6GHz) processor, sufficient RAM, 160GB of storage and the usual USB ports, SD card slots and VGA connection for projectors or monitors.

Possibly the main areas to consider when choosing a fleet of netbooks for education is the WiFi. If you’ve just invested in a fast 802.11n school wireless LAN system, you won’t want to go and buy a netbook that offers the slower 802.11g standard. The difference between g and n wireless speeds is significant with n being the new standard for the foreseeable future, so buy carefully. Whereas n enabled netbooks were in the next price bracket a few months ago, examples now such as the Samsung N130 offer fast WiFi at a very affordable price.

Also consider battery life for the day-to-day use of netbooks for education. Here investment in a netbook that can offer all day use between charging will make a big difference to the amount of teaching time they are effective for and save more trips back to the storage trolley!.

So what are the pro’s and con’s of Netbooks for education?

Netbooks for Education – Pro’s

o Up to half the price of laptops so more mobile devices for your budget
o Now available with 802.11n fast WiFi
o Long battery life versions now available
o Store more machines per charging trolley
o Light-weight for students to carry about
o Can be carried inside any bag so less of a visible threat for theft
o Because they are small they don’t fill desk space leaving room for text books
o Quick boot up times

Netbooks for Education – Con’s

o Older students or adults may find a smaller keyboard harder to use
o Netbooks do not have DVD drives (though you can connect external devices via USB)
o Cheaper netbooks may lack longer battery life
o Smaller screens may make some applications harder to use