Troubleshooting: wireless internet connection

UPDATE: News on this issue from  Big Apple schools refuse Macs over Wi-Fi flaw

Wireless internet connection is unstable in some classrooms with new laptops.

On Monday 6.1 we opened up all of the computers in Ms. Pagliaro’s cart.  A handful of computers did not find the connection.  All of the computers that had been flagged as previously not connecting, connected.

We were able to get 100% of the open computers connected by doing one of the following:

  • turning off the airport, then turning it back on (requires admin login)
  • logging out and logging back in (can be done by student)
  • putting the computer to sleep, then waking it back up
  • logging in as administrator and changing the SSID from DOETWAC00M001vl90g to …vl80g, or …vl60g
  • UPDATE 6.8: when logged in as NYCDOE under System Preferences/Network/Airport uncheck “Require Administrator password to control Airport” so that the airport can be turned on and off by students and teachers without password.

NOTE: none of the above options worked every time.

As a final test, we had all of the students put their successfully connected computers to sleep, when we brought them back on, several did not find the connection again.

This problem is occurring in other classrooms — however, less frequently than in Ms. Pagliaro’s room.

Suggestions for short and long term fixes:

  • configure the student account so that they can turn on and off the airport without administrative privileges so that students are able to troubleshoot on their own (easy to turn things on and off).
  • (I know this one is controversial — we should discuss the pros and cons) allow teachers to log in with the administrator password to enable them to share responsibility for keeping the computers working (by performing simple updates and fixes as those mentioned above).
  • Call or fill out an online form for the help desk (send along the above description) for the classroom, mentioning the laptop cart, or on the wireless connection drop.

Author: The Media Spot

The Media Spot collaborates with educators to integrate media literacy education into a variety of learning environments.

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