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What Are Best Practices for a Good Classroom Wireless Experience?

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Functional GroupTechnical Resources: Network
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What are Best Practices for a Good Classroom Wireless Experience? 

ASU has saturated each campus with Wireless Access Points (WAPs). There are approximately 10,000 WAPs distributed across all of the campuses. These WAPs have been installed inside classrooms, in buildings, as well as common areas. They have the capacity to handle approximately 500,000 devices. 

As an ASU Student, there are several factors that you should be aware of that can have an effect on the quality of the Wi-Fi in your classrooms.

Important Tips:

  • Use 5GHz for wireless if your devices support it. If you need assistance with this, contact the Tech Studio resources located on your ASU campus.
  • When on campus, make sure you are connecting to the "asu" wireless network and not the "asu guest" network.
  • If possible, take exams when using a hard wired internet connection instead of a wireless connection. A hard wired connection will be more reliable than wireless, especially if there are many students online at the same time in a closed area such as classroom or lecture hall.
  • Turn off electronic devices you are not using while taking an exam. This saves wireless network bandwidth.
  • Turn off Bluetooth on your devices if you cannot power them off during an exam as they take up wireless bandwidth.
  • Put your electronic devices into airplane mode if you cannot turn them off while taking an exam. This saves wireless network bandwidth.
ASU Wireless technology overview:

ASU has installed upgraded Wireless Access Points (WAP) throughout all the ASU campuses. Where needed, classrooms have multiple WAPs in them. All the upgraded ASU WAPs are 5GHz capable but also support the older 2.4 GHz frequency.

  • Older wireless networks used 2.4GHz as their wireless frequency.
  • Many portable electronic and Bluetooth capable devices still use the 2.4 GHz frequency. These slow down the available wireless bandwidth and performance compared to using 5Ghz.
  • When Bluetooth is enabled on your smartphone, it uses the 2.4GHz frequency.
  • 5GHz is much faster compared to 2.4 GHz.
  • You get a better quality wireless signal with 5GHz compared to 2.4 GHz.
  • Future industry wireless ethernet technology advancements will be based on 5GHz.
  • Other electronic devices such as cordless phones, wireless headphones and microwaves can cause wireless frequency interference.
  • 5GHz can support more devices per Wireless Access Point (WAP) than 2.4GHz can.
Many of you carry more than one personal technology device with you while on campus. There are some things that you can do to help reduce the wireless network bandwidth demands in your classrooms. This can be important if, for example, you are required to take an exam online in a large class or lecture hall during a specific time. When you have a large group of Wi-Fi users in a given area such as a classroom all using it at the same time, this puts a heavy load on the available wireless bandwidth.
Things you can do to help:
  • Turn off any wireless enabled devices you are not using while in class.
  • Place your wireless devices into Airplane mode if they are not needed for the class. Normally, Airplane mode will also turn Bluetooth off.
  • If you cannot turn off your devices or use Airplane mode, then turn off Bluetooth. It runs on the 2.4GHz frequency and takes up wireless network bandwidth. 
  • Smart and Fitness watches typically connect using Bluetooth which runs on the 2.4GHz frequency and take up wireless network bandwidth. If possible, turn those off during class.
  • Most newer wireless laptops and smartphones can run on 5GHz instead of the older 2.4GHz frequency. In most cases, newer devices that can run on either 2.4Ghz or 5GHz will auto-switch to 5GHz when connected to the "asu" wireless network. 
  • Computers running Microsoft Windows usually have settings for the network adapter that can be used to manually change from 2.4GHz to 5GHz if the hardware supports it.  In many cases, the driver software needs to be updated as well. The best option is to go directly to the manufacturer website and download the latest network adapter driver software for your version of Windows and install it. Typically, in Windows, click Start>Control Panel>Device Manager>Network adapters to see the specific wireless adapter that is installed. If you need assistance with this, contact the Tech Studio resources located on your ASU campus.
  • On a Mac, there is no way to manually change the wireless frequency. Newer Macs will normally default to the fastest frequency available. On the ASU wireless network, a newer Mac should auto-switch to the faster 5HGz frequency.
  • Most Newer Android and iPhones can auto switch and will use the faster 5GHz frequency when connected to the "asu" wireless network.
  • When on campus, make sure you are connecting to the "asu" wireless network and not the "asu guest" network. The "asu guest" wireless network is not encrypted and limited to 10Mbs speed. You also will not be able to connect to any secure ASU websites (such as My ASU) if you are connected to the "asu guest" wireless.

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