One of the schools I work with is looking at a major infrastructure refresh, explains Christopher Dawson of ZDNet. The hundred odd switches that were state of the art when the school was built 13 years ago are rapidly failing and, combined with thousands of meters of Cat 5 cabling, are too slow to handle drastically increased utilization over that time frame. So the question is, should the school replace all of the hardware and cabling or go wireless? It’s easy and not terribly expensive to achieve at least gigabit speeds with wired connections and off the shelf components. This school even has fiber connecting a head end room to each floor. Each room in the school is wired with at least 4 drops, if not 6 or 8, though, all of which run off of the Cat 5 cable which would prevent actual gigabit throughput. While replacing the switches isn’t a big deal since every floor has a wiring closet and all of the switches are centralized, one has to wonder if this is really the best choice…

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