The tech in your pocket has changed immeasurably over the last 20 years.
From the giant brick phone of yesteryear that wouldn’t even fit into your pocket to the sleek, wildly connected smartphone you have in there today.
Ditto for your home: the massive and massively heavy tube TVs all replaced with slender flatscreens that hug the wall. Flatscreens that are also connected to networks.
Likewise, our schools are changing before our very eyes. The pace may be slower – which can have detrimental effects on learning – but it is happening.
To that end it may seem like a wireless access point is just a wireless access point (i.e. all the same) but that’s simply not the case.
Here, we’ll dig deeper into them.
Wireless Access Points (WAPs)
What exactly are they?
A wireless access point or WAP is simply a piece of hardware that allows Wi-Fi-enabled devices – phones, TVs, Chromebooks, printers, etc. – to connect to a wired network.
You would install an access point in your classrooms, or wherever else you needed or wanted connectivity on your campus, and then run an ethernet cable back to your server room.
As mentioned, though, not all WAPs are created equal.
Among the biggest issues facing any network is interference; it can hamper everything from your data rates to the number of devices that can connect and even the coverage area.
Curiously enough, though, the interference we’re talking about here most often comes from the network and access points themselves. Wild, but true.
Traditionally speaking, wireless access points would just flood an area with signal. Transmission in all directions. That technically works, the signal does make it to the end-user but the problem is that the signal going everywhere else outside of that intended destination becomes interference for other devices.
Not to mention that wireless access points can and do have self-interference from board noise aka the “static” created by internal components of the device.
The Solution - Beamflex by Ruckus
Beamflex is a mind-bending piece of equipment that allows for control and focus of Wi-Fi signals; sending them from the wireless access point to where they’re needed and when they’re needed.
Utilizing propriety and patented developments, Beamflex is adaptive Wi-Fi antenna technology that sends directional Wi-Fi straight to the client – a student or teacher in this case.
What does that achieve?
- Increased signal strength
- Faster data rates
- Larger coverage area
- Connectivity for more devices
Additionally, the device is uniquely built to reduce noise from those internal components; thus, decreasing interference.
Beamflex also takes into account that today’s in-classroom devices aren’t necessarily going to be fixed like they were in the past. So, these wireless access points can receive and transmit signals in the vertical and horizontal orientation which means improved connectivity for even the weakest mobile devices.
Moreover, techniques that enhance throughput like multi-user MIMO – incredibly useful in schools – and spatial multiplexing can only be maximized by having as much control over the signal as possible.
Add to that the compatibility with all networks – 802.11a/b/g/n/ac – and Beamflex by Ruckus really translates to:
- Faster and more reliable networks
- Fewer access points, wired drops and switch ports (aka less equipment)
- Lower cost
Of course, not all wireless access points are the same.
Going with the “wrong” one will still get you some degree of connectivity, but the inefficiencies inherent with them means you’re not getting the biggest bang for your buck. In fact, you’ll very likely be spending more for a less impactful solution that doesn’t come close to maximizing the potential of your network.