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The Evolution of School Networking

The future of networking, whether completely or partially wireless, will most certainly involve connecting more than just computers together. According to an article titled "Simplifying Home Networking" in The Wall Street Journal (David Armstrong, Nov. 17, 2003), the next evolution of networking will tie together computers, television sets, stereo equipment, digital cameras, utilities and appliances. While the article mainly focuses on home networking, the same technology is applicable - and crucial - to school networking as well. Imagine the gains in productivity and efficiency of school buildings where a single network connects computers, interactive whiteboards, handheld devices, television, security systems and electricity.

The use of existing cable wiring will help speed this process - with the number of inclusive home and school networks expected to triple by 2008. Speeding this process, Entropic Communications Inc. (www.entropic-communications.com) has developed a group of microchips that allow devices such as televisions and DVD players to plug into a cable outlet and share video, audio and Internet data. A wireless access point can also be connected to the network allowing for use of peripherals in conjunction with the wired network. This two-way high-speed (270 Mbps) cable connection can prove to be a fast, cost-effective way for schools to connect and control their computers, peripherals and appliances while also using the wiring that already exists in their buildings.

This article originally appeared in the 02/01/2004 issue of THE Journal.

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