Anne Arundel County Schools Explore Expanding Wi-Fi Network to Connect Personal Devices

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Anne Arundel County’s school system is exploring whether it should expand its wireless network to allow students and teachers to connect using their personal devices. Currently, only school issued laptops and devices can connect to the system’s network.

As reported by the Annapolis Capital,

Schools Superintendent George Arlotto said he hopes to expand the Wi-Fi network to allow student access and move schools closer to a Bring Your Own Device program, in which students could use their personal devices for school assignments through the schools’ Wi-Fi network.

However, the existing network cannot support the use of the additional devices.

Greg Barlow, chief information officer for county schools, said the school network is built to support about 59,000 devices such as desktops, Chromebooks and iPads.

If the network were opened to students’ and teachers’ personal devices, he predicted, it would have to support 180,000 additional devices.

“Let’s just say, hypothetically, we did that tomorrow. And we let everyone on. The network would be horribly slow. It would be painfully slow because of all that extra equipment,” Barlow said.

He said he is working on a funding request to expand the Wi-Fi network. Barlow estimates the first phase would cost about $15 million. There is no timeline for this potential project.

Baltimore, Carroll, Prince George’s and Howard counties already allow personal devices to connect to school Wi-Fi.