Are cables in the classroom a thing of the past? Maybe

Miracast is an open standard from the Wi-Fi Alliance (a global non-profit association of companies that has existed for over 15 years, and has been central to wireless technologies, such as the 803.11n standard) that that is being embraced by a range of manufacturers.

Windows 8.1 and Android 4.2 both have Miracast support built in. “HDMI over WiFi” is part of the operating system; there are no dongles or devices that need to be plugged in to the device. Streaming to the TV can happen with anything that is visible on the computer screen—anything. Audio is also streamed, with the volume controlled by the volume control on the computer.

All that is required is a Miracast device plugged in to the projector or TV. Connection of the Miracast device to the screen or projector is usually via a HDMI cable, but some devices also support VGA.

There is no need to install any software or drivers; simply choose the Miracast device and connect.

My team and I recently trialed a combination of the Surface Pro 3 and Miracast devices for use in a school of more than 1,300 students. Several types of Miracast devices were tested, and two major brands were chosen due to ease of use and stability. Many tests were done over a few months. Everything went as well as could be expected. Video and audio quality was excellent and connection and disconnection were easy and intuitive.

For the next test, teachers at my school were provided with Microsoft Surface Pro 3 devices and most classrooms were fitted with a Miracast device. The combination of the Surface Pro 3 with a Miracast device is particularly useful as it allows pen based computing on a powerful laptop with the size and convenience of a tablet.

Next page: Where the problems lie


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