Digital Media

Texas District Implements Video Solution over 802.11n

Keller Independent School District (KISD) of Keller, TX, has announced the implementation of a Safari Montage wireless video system to bring video and other forms of electronic media directly into the classroom. Teachers and students will receive the content over laptop computers and in-class wireless video devices via the district's newly installed Motorola 802.11n Wireless LAN (WLAN) infrastructure, which replaces the existing wired network and provides the bandwidth necessary to stream video content without interference or interruption.

Because high-quality video content generally occupies extremely large files (from 100 MB to several gigabytes, depending upon the file format), its delivery over a single network requires enormous bandwidth and can often cause network slowing, especially when multiple users are attempting to access the content simultaneously. The Motorola network infrastructure uses AP-7131 tri-radio access point technology in an effort to provide the bandwidth and user density necessary for seamless video delivery to all network locations.

At each access point, which is the physical point at each end-user location that gives nearby users access to the WLAN, there is a "tri-radio" device. This device, explained a Motorola representative, serves as a receiver/transmitter to pick up the WiFi signal at that point and to communicate with the network. Because it effectively contains three receiver/transmitters, or radios, it can use two of them to deliver and send an optimal WiFi signal. The third is always reserved for troubleshooting and repairs, so the IT staff can address problems at any point on the network without disturbing the signal or, consequently, user activity.

"We needed a cost-effective solution that could provide high-speed, district-wide coverage and ensure seamless delivery of multimedia content to students and teachers while supporting our efforts to expand these capabilities to all classrooms," explained Joe Griffin, KISD's chief technology officer.

This was also the reason, Griffin said, the district went with the Montage educational video system. Because Safari Montage is Web-based, users can access the thousands of streaming video files in its library without the need for extensive on-site hardware in each school building. KISD's central IT facility houses two Safari servers that serve as redundant hosts for the district's Montage video delivery system, which, in addition to streaming educational video, provides its 36 schools with 30 cable television channels and both internal and external videoconferencing capabilities. To take full advantage of all Montage offers, Griffin said, the only hardware required at the school or classroom level is a computer or end-user workstation and, for classroom-wide projection and recording, a document camera.

Finally, the district also installed the Motorola AirDefense wireless security system, which allows system-wide troubleshooting from a central location, with the tri-radio access points again acting as transmitters. The AirDefense software allows IT staff to monitor the system and make repairs remotely by sending instruction signals over the network to one or more access points, which preempts the need for travel to the site. In addition, the technology lends itself to system security, as the tri-radios can monitor their respective access points, determine if someone is trying to hack the system externally, and send an alert signal to the IT staff, which can then take immediate steps either to secure or to lock down the network.

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.