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Report Says Schools Need 100Mbps Per 1,000 Users

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children dept.

Education 292

alphadogg writes "American schools need mega-broadband networks — and they need them soon, a new report says. Specifically, U.S. educational institutions will need networks that deliver broadband performance of 100Mbps for every 1,000 students and staff members in time for the 2014-15 school year. That's the conclusion reached by the State Educational Technology Directors Association. Why the need for speed? For one thing, more and more schools are using online textbooks and collaboration tools, said Christine Fox, director of educational leadership and research at SETDA. Broadband access must be 'ubiquitous' and 'robust,' she said, adding that schools should think of broadband as a 'necessary utility,' not as an add-on. The report, called 'The Broadband Imperative,' further suggests that schools should upgrade their networks to support speeds of 1Gbps per 1,000 users in five years."

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Moar speed! (3, Funny)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210543)

All the better to torrent with, my dear!

re: Moar (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210741)

From TFA:

"Students shouldn't go to school and wonder if they turn on the light, is it going to dim the light in another room?" she said.

Trust me. They won't even consider that possibility. It's only a problem when it affects them.

Students also need to have access to broadband outside school, Fox said. "Students need to be able to leave school without wondering, 'Can I watch my teacher's algebra video when I get home?'" she said.

And that is the core problem.

The report, called " The Broadband Imperative," further suggests that schools should upgrade their networks to support speeds of 1Gbps per 1,000 users in five years.

Do they have any idea what the price is for that kind of Internet connection?

I'd be looking at huge caching servers first.

Re: Moar (3, Informative)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210897)

Do they have any idea what the price is for that kind of Internet connection?

When you get up to buying a gig, not as much /Mbps as the smaller allotments. But you are right, that would be a stretch for most institutions, mainly because their routers/firewalls/content-filtering/etc is not sized for the number of connections/pps that such a pipe would support. They'd be looking at a full re-buy and reprovisioning of their entire gateway path.

Re: Moar (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40210931)

I would say caching servers is still doing it wrong. If thousands of students in a single building need access to "online textbooks and collaboration tools", why aren't those services hosted either on the premises or in some kind of colocation facility with a dedicated pipe?

Re: Moar (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211007)

Because, The Cloud... It's always good!

Re: Moar (4, Insightful)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210981)

I'd be looking at huge caching servers first.

Christine Fox: "What's that?"

Someone mod parent up. Their requirements clearly indicate the need to repeatedly access same content. Which means that you could cut your bandwidth usage by 999 times when that content, accessed by 1,000 students, is cached locally when the first student accesses it. Can you imagine the cost savings of such a responsible solution instead of knee-jerk response resulting in head-on capacity accommodation?

Re: Moar (4, Interesting)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211065)

Today's content providers seem to jump through every possible hoop to defeat caching.
You would think that a video provider would use some indirect URL to first log the access attempt and then point to a static location where the actual video is provided, and that can be cached locally, but no...
In a new deployment, including a caching proxy probably is a waste.
E.g. our existing proxy now has a byte-% hit ratio of 11%, falling all the time.

Re: Moar (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211187)

reason is:
1) advertising
2) hits counting etc
3) copyright/control issues

Re: Moar (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210983)

Trust me. They won't even consider that possibility. It's only a problem when it affects them.

That's because using metaphors that don't fit is stupid. Wondering whether there will be enough bandwidth is a real problem and it sucks to have to worry about it when you're trying to get something done. With as much bullshit as we've laden educators and students alike with, they shouldn't have to wait for lag when accessing educational resources.

Do they have any idea what the price is for that kind of Internet connection?

Schools used to get a deal, don't they still?

Re: Moar (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211083)

Schools used to get a deal, don't they still?

No, because it just the Government's money anyway.

Re: Moar (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211313)

>>>With as much bullshit as we've laden educators and students alike with, they shouldn't have to wait for lag when accessing educational resources.

30 years ago my school spent millions-of-dollars on computers (Apple IIs and TRS-80s). It was a gigantic waste of money whereupon we student learned NOTHING. I can't help wondering if THIS new plan will also be a gigantic waste of money. The best way to learn is to exercise the computer *in your head* not the one on the desk.

Re: Moar (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211087)

Considering we have two more wars to fight in the coming year, can't even imagine where the money is going to come from.

Re: Moar (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211197)

Over here, $250/month gets your a dedicated 45Mb/s circuit if you're a school/library/hospital. Most of the cost is in the circuit. Once fiber starts going live state wide over the next 5-10 years, I expect 1Gb being dirt cheap.

I found a PDF about that 1Gb/s/user. It is actually 100Mb/s/user internet side and 1Gb/s/user WAN side. So a highly connected WAN and a decent internet connection.

Re: Moar (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211225)

I found a quote "1,000Mbps service for about $10,000 annually". Sounds like a good price to me. MMmmmm.. whole sales costs.

Re: Moar (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211259)

>>> 'Can I watch my teacher's algebra video when I get home?'

Aren't they exaggerating a bit? I watch hulu and youtube video with only 0.3 Mbit/s. It's called "video compression". So yes the student at home does need broadband to watch his teacher's video, but he doesn't need a monster amount. Comcast's or Verizon's Economy Service (1 to 1.5 Mbit/s) will provide more than the minimum.

OMG Need More Moneyz! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40210545)

Title says it all. The more we pay for education, the less we get. Throw out the bottom 2% (students and administrators) and let the teachers teach.

Re:OMG Need More Moneyz! (4, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210985)

and define the bottom 2%

in NYC a teacher that teaches in one of the most elite schools in the city was ranked one of the worst. reason her kids didn't improve from last year. they are already the best in the city but because they didn't improve she's a bad teacher

or what if all your kids never do homework and never study because their parents don't care?

Re:OMG Need More Moneyz! (2)

lambent (234167) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211077)

the story you're referencing was a bit more nuanced than that. the students blew off a standardized test that didn't matter; that was part of it. also, she wasn't just ranked one of the worst. she was ranked the absolute worst teacher.

amazing.

Re:OMG Need More Moneyz! (2)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211323)

Someone has to be at the bottom in each school. But the "bottom 2%" can't be by individual school, IMHO. You'd be getting rid of some good teachers. I'm sure that in some districts, the 'bottom 2%' in any particular school would be in the 'top 25%' of teachers in another school in the same district.

So maybe cut/fire by district instead.

Caching? (4, Insightful)

Aviancer (645528) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210577)

I suppose that local caching of something as relatively static as a textbook is out of the question? My dead-tree edition books were often cached for 5-20 years. Really, how frequently does arithmetic change from year to year? Literature? Science and "Social Studies" I buy as being a little more dynamic, but still within a year?

Re:Caching? (3, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210601)

That would be contrary to the whole "send it to the cloud" trending mentality, which is aimed at saving local-server tech support costs.

Re:Caching? (1)

Aviancer (645528) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210629)

I was never very good at adhering to fashion fads. I suppose that's why I wasn't very popular at school.

Re:Caching? (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210789)

Well, on a more serious note, most schools already squid heavily, because it's built into their content filtering suite as an add-on feature.

But then, how often do you actually download truly "static" webpage that wasn't dynamically generated these days?

Re:Caching? (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210771)

I think its more for the "rent per year" charging for access..

Re:Caching? (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210635)

The corporate overlords realy dont want you purchasing something that can be used for 5 - 20 years, when they can enforce a new version of licensed content every year. The big win is that they dont have to go through full publishing costs, but the student access must be fully renewed every year.

Re:Caching? (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210643)

I suppose that local caching of something as relatively static as a textbook is out of the question?

How do you ensure that the recurring fees are being paid? After all, the point of online textbooks is to bring in money for textbook publishers; making information available to students is just an unfortunate side effect.

Re:Caching? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210661)

Most "material" that the broadband is used for is already saved on local servers.

Re:Caching? (0)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210711)

It doesn't matter. You would still need that kind of speed on the internal network where the stuff is being cached.

Re:Caching? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40210801)

There is a huge difference between a gigabit ethernet within the school, connecting to a cache, and a connection to the broader internet.

Re:Caching? (1)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210943)

And you buy that equipment once and stop paying for it. Internet connectivity is an ongoing expense. Internet connectivity at the rate of 1gbps per 1000 students means an OC-24 for every 1200 students. So you're saying it doens't matter whether you need to spend $40k once or $40k monthly? Also, keep in mind that this is *per 1200 students* so a school with 5000 students would need 4 OC-24 connections to *ALMOST* neet that requirement, at a cost of $160,000 per month.

You need to spend the $40k initially in either case; but if everything is cached locally, an OC-3 should more than suffice for even the largest schools.

Re:Caching? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210973)

Not if it was cached on the student's own hardware.

Re:Caching? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210791)

Kids need to learn how to find and investigate stuff online, not just access text books. Responsiveness is key to maintaining interest and attention too.

The focus in education has moved away from memorization towards being able to find the information you need. Obviously that has to be underpinned by strong basic skills in things like English and Maths, as well as good general knowledge of the particular subject being studied. Even when I was at school in the early 90s studying history there was as much emphasis put on being able to take a source and evaluate and interpret it as there was on being knowledgeable about the time period, which makes sense since I doubt many of us used out knowledge of WWI and the 1920s/30s much later in life.

Re:Caching? (5, Interesting)

Greenspark (2652053) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210821)

Aging textbooks were not old because they didn't need updating -- they were old because the publication, printing, and distribution an entire volume to modify a few elements was foolishly expensive. Therefore, textbooks were carefully written so as to exclude information that was would quickly become obsolete. We don't have to keep doing it that way. Examples can be current and relevant, and provide for a much more enriching experience. Links to web resources can be perpetually maintained. It's a very exciting new paradigm and we should be looking for ways to capitalize on its strengths rather than hobble it with the limitations of different media.

Re:Caching? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211021)

The ability to update textbooks on the fly presents an opportunity for too much bias to enter into them.

Last years updating crew really didn't like president X, and while they are professional enough to not write up a case study on libel, it's easy to see a bit of a slant one way or another.... only to be swung back the following year when a new editing crew comes on-board, and they really like president X, but hate president Y.

Not to mention things that haven't entirely come to light. Should American history books include info about Stuxnet/Flame and our alleged involvement? Would anything have to be redacted a few years down the road? Keep textbooks on a 5+ year schedule at LEAST, so that enough time and peer review can be undergone for everything to be fully vetted by professionals. And that's just for Social Studies or other subject that are prone to change. How often do we really need to update our math books? Unless Euclid of Alexandria plans to rise from his grave and revise his (in)famous proof... I think we can keep Algebra course books static year in and year out.

Re:Caching? (5, Interesting)

a-zarkon! (1030790) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210887)

I have two children two years apart, in the public school system in the northeast US. Our school district is rated fairly well for the state, better than most but not as good as some.

Now that the context is established, let me say that I have been shocked and somewhat dismayed to see the annual changes to curriculum and approach at the elementary school. While I do understand that gains have been made in understanding childhood development and education, I really struggle to understand this constant churn from year to year. The students struggle with it as well. This is particularly noticeable in basic approaches to reading, spelling, and math. As an example, one year the focus will be on memorizing a list of 10 words, spelling them, and using them in sentences. The next year, the spelling quizzes are gone completely. Maybe this is a response to the standardized testing regimen that all schools are focusing on, but I have a tough time not feeling like this is some kind of ill-considered trend-chasing experiment and our communities' children are the unwitting guinea pigs.

While I'm in rant mode let me also express my surprise to find that precious little time is being spent on learning basic math facts. These children are being exposed to grouping, estimating, while they still don't know their basic addition/subtraction/multiplication/division tables. Having these facts committed to memory up front will save them a lot of time and effort down the road when they are trying to digest weightier subject matter. (Before you jump all over me, yes as a parent I have worked with my offspring to get them to know their math facts) Rote memorization may be boring, but it too is a skill that must be learned and why not learn it early on in the same way that's worked for at least the past 200 years? It's *not* broken!

OK so now that the rant is over - yes, caching is good and should be encouraged. Even if the texts are changing daily or weekly and being served "from the cloud" - there are still major performance gains and efficiencies to be found on the network with a little simple cache engine.

Re:Caching? (2)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211235)

Having spent five years as the IT head for a school district I can tell you that much of it is following the trends in their field. Real data is hard to find and does not in fact always go to plan when you try it on your district's children. So the administrators see a growing trend to teach in XYZ form and the given improvement can be 10-30%, so they opt to try XYZ at their school. A year is typical for any such thing, so even if it doesn't seem to be working for them they will continue it for that period and evaluate it during that time. At the end they may have seen a -10% change in their students which decries the trend and rather than continue with it to see if the change reverses (because the teacher(s) teaching to XYZ were new to it or any of a hundred things) they instead decide to try another trend, say KXT instead the next year to see what effect it has.

Most of the gains and trends are caused by people looking at schools doing 'well' and trying to emulate them. However each group of children are different and respond differently, so the results vary. Three years ago I had looked at One-laptop per child programs and the reported stats varied all over the place. Some had 60% improvements in certain areas, others had neutral or slightly negative results. So when I discussed the topic I said that the highest gains are as much as 60% and the average was more like 10% with some results even being slightly negative. My CAO (Chief Academic Officer, equal to a superintendent) said "When you go in front of the board don't give them all that crap just say it's 60% gains! We would never get it approved if they didn't think this was the best course of action at least for the next year. After that we already have the stuff, so it doesn't matter."

Btw on the whole caching issue, I can say I'd never have gotten funding for it. I couldn't even get them to replace a partial working (it would freeze once every 14 days and require a reboot). They don't see a reason for large expenses of cash. It however is much easier to say we need an 'X' increase a month for added bandwidth. My school district had a shared 3 MB connection and as they transitioned to more and more online based resources we could clearly all see the effects. I was advising we go above our basic needs to around a 20 MB connection (when what we needed was more like 10) for some future-proofing. However no one could offer us 20 or even 10 and so we went to 7 instead.

Re:Caching? (2, Funny)

dnahelicase (1594971) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211239)

I suppose that local caching of something as relatively static as a textbook is out of the question? My dead-tree edition books were often cached for 5-20 years. Really, how frequently does arithmetic change from year to year? Literature? Science and "Social Studies" I buy as being a little more dynamic, but still within a year?

I'm not the person that would ever use the term "rofl", but if I ever did, it would be about this comment.

I find your rational thought and naivety amusing.

Caching a textbook locally would require a huge license and licensing system, or would certainly be illegal. Are you a pirate? Pirates would think that they can make local copies for their own use and the use of others in the name of education, but they would be doing harm to the industry. (Potentially millions or even billions of dollars in harm.)

Also, every textbook has to change every other year, or else the entire educational system dies. Everyone knows that. Being able to change every other week, while having an adjoining resources website, blog, and twitter feed will ensure that students are able to temporarily license access to this knowledge without any of the inherent evils that dead-tree format provided - such as copying, borrowing, reselling, or using once graduated.

Caching? (1)

vinod4linux (564098) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210599)

Schools needs for relevant content from the internet is fairly limited. Moreover, most of the content in question is static. This is the perfect place to deploy a forward proxy cache like squid.. this can reduce the need for expensive fat pipes to the internet.

Re:Caching? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210611)

Yeah but then how do you enforce copyrights on those textbooks? You know, so that the school does not continue to use textbooks without paying the monthly access fee.

Re:Caching? (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210689)

By dropping the non-free textbooks entirely and switching to freely licensed textbooks developed using resources provided by Wikimedia Foundation [wikibooks.org] .

Re:Caching? (4, Funny)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210719)

With that attitude, you would think that the point of textbooks is to pass knowledge on to other people, rather than to make money for textbook publishers...

Re:Caching? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40210777)

We get your point, trying to push your own agenda of how text book makers are evil with multiple posts here is just stupid.

Re:Caching? (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210813)

It appears that you've gone off your meds again, number 980855.

Please return to the reeducation cell immediately.

Re:Caching? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211297)

sed 's/Please return to the reeducation cell immediately./980855, would you like a treatment?/'

Fixed that for ya.

Re:Caching? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211301)

Every time I mention a point like this it causes someone to do a knee-jerk "you commie, you think all profit is bad!!!11!!one" reaction, but this hits the nail on the head.

The general unspoken assumption by a large part of our society right now is profit can drive everything and the market can magically fix all problems. That's bunk because there isn't ONE human system that solves all problem, whether it be the free market system or Open Source software.

As a society we will have to get through this idiocy and eventually get back to the idea that there are some processes that we don't necessarily need or want to be for profit. I expect we will be a rough ride until then.

Re:Caching? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40210913)

That sounds fine, and I know a person who can recommend books for 6-12 mathematics. The problem is that when I search for wikibooks for K-12 mathematics [wikibooks.org] , I find zero "Completed" books and only one nearing completion. I can't advise this person to recommend a book that's not finished to the school district.

Re:Caching? (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210673)

Actually schools' needs for high quality video conferencing is pretty pressing. Nothing less than 384Kbps is even passable. 768 is workable for some lectures, but a higher bandwdith and lower latency telepresence is needed for anything that involves more than a lecturer at a chalkboard. The crummy youtube-level quality web users put up with just doesn't cut it in an interactive learning environment.

Figure a class size of 24, 1000 students would be 20 simultaneous classes, and assume 10 of them have distance learning inbound or outbound, you're then up to at least 14Mbps of low-latency demand, which means more raw bandwidth than 14Mbps. 100Mbps per 1000 student is not much of an overestimate.

Re:Caching? (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210709)

1000 students would be 20 simultaneous classes, and assume 10

change propagation fail... that's 40 classes assume 20.

Cost/benefit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40210763)

Are there any good studies on the cost/benefit of this? So far most of what i have seen on computers in the classroom show that they are not a good investment.

Re:Caching? (1)

SirGeek (120712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210953)

And if its for a classroom, why wouldn't they do ONE machine and an projection screen for the entire class to view it at the same time (instead of between their facebook and twitter updates) ?

Re:Caching? (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211193)

Generally they do this very thing, using a Polycom or BT set-top unit. That's what the above math represents -- the bandwidth cost of ONE classroom-quality bidirectional conferencing feed to a conference bridge.

Now if you are cheaping out and not using an outside conferencing service, which is common, any video-conference with more than two endpoints is going to require one of the particpants to run the multipoint bridge on their local codec. That means for that site they need to be able to support one session for each endpoint other than themselves. So a single 4-participant distance learning session can pretty much fill a T1 connection completely at the hosting codec's site, even when you are using crummy 384Kbps connections.

Re:Caching? (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211199)

The whole point of this kind of this is that students can work at their own pace. Kids with greater aptitude in, say, writing will finish those "courses" quicker, whereas kids with greater math aptitude might finish those courses quicker. Teachers are there as a kind of facilitator/tutor to help when a kid gets stuck or appears to be bottle necked. I can't comment one way or the other on the effectiveness of this a learning tool (at least for younger children, it's always worked for me at the adult level), but to make it one computer and projector pretty much misses the entire point.

Re:Caching? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210725)

A school's need for relevant content is unlimited, explicitly. You have no idea what a school needs, unless you have a bunch of horrible teachers who teach from the book. Not all content is static, nor is this correct. Nor does it define whether a proxy is needed or not. Simply not relevant. Sorry, I disagree with you.

Don't think youtube/khan academy isn't/is useful, do think about how much bandwidth it would require for 1000 users simultaneously.
Proxies should be in place anyway to make bandwidth more efficient, but that's not an answer, it's one step of a much larger solution: network compression would benefit just as much as a proxy would as well.

Other schools ask questions via facebook, g+, etc for example.

but ... won't someone think of the market ... sob (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40210657)

We've got Social Security to crush and wages to devalue in order to compete with rural China. We can't possibly invest in educating children. Teachers still make more than minimum wage. That has to stop.

95th percentile billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40210671)

I believe their thinking is flawed.

The students aren't going to be streaming 100 kbps of data constantly, they are going to be getting data in bursts.

I'm fairly certain that the students would fair well with 25 kbps of data each, and even that feels high.

A typical webpage might be several hundred Kb, but students won't be accessing one of them per second--they will need 400kbps (assumuing the server has that much bandwidth) for one second every minute (or longer!).

I'd like to see their rationale.

100Mbps for..... text...books (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210679)

100Mbps for textbooks? Text. Um. If your text requires 100Mbps you're doing it wrong. And stop throwing around 1,000 users as if all 1,000 are going to download a gigabyte file all at the same time. Maybe a few dozen out of 1,000 would be using the network at the same time, and if they're actually reading books online and not streaming lolz cat videos in HD there is no way 100Mbps is required.

Re:100Mbps for..... text...books (4, Funny)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210687)

100Mbps for textbooks

It's a new DRM system.

Re:100Mbps for..... text...books (1)

skovnymfe (1671822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211205)

9am. 5000 students accessing the same non-cached 25MB PDF on a 4mbps line.

Do I need to make the calculations, or can you see where I'm going with this?

Think, McFly... (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210781)

Um. If your text requires 100Mbps you're doing it wrong. Um. If your text requires 100Mbps you're doing it wrong.

It's *not* a "text file". It's more likely a locked down PDF or a similarly "heavy" format.

Re:100Mbps for..... text...books (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210861)

What he said. "Textbooks" is really a misnomer these days. "Schoolbooks" should be used instead. Today's schoolbooks are typically full of color graphics. Have you looked at a math or physics book lately?

Re:100Mbps for..... text...books (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210871)

I used to work at a small 2 year college. We had about 30 classrooms, a few thousand FTE students. (12 credits = 1 FTE).. We got complements when we went from 2 to 4 Mb/s. The compliments were all about how much faster it was than their cable modems. (in our area, 5MB cable was the norm). But we had much, much lower latency, and a squid proxy server. I think the most I ever saw online at one time was about 80 people. However, most are reading something, or just have the internet connection open in the background. I think myspace was about half our bandwidth, from all the streaming music video's. I'm sure things are busier now (they moved to 8MB recently) but even the heaviest Facebook page is pretty small when you consider that the kids are reading stuff at the same time. The streaming stuff that caused issues from time to time had nothing to do with education, and we would ask students nicely to stop.

Re:100Mbps for..... text...books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40210927)

Being in a course that has some IT and everything, we often look up videos for our programming and everything. While most of the time, text will do, videos can often be very good, especially when working with new tools to get up to speed fast. And some students simply like using video more than using text. To each his own.
100MB is certainly used well.

Internet slowness can be a problem for research to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40210727)

I worked a few years in a big public research University in New England and I was very underwhelmed by the Internet connection. Basically i hardly ever got more than 20Mbps at most under perfect conditions (read during the holidays, so almost no student on campus sucking the bandwidth to watch pr0n), which is basically what i had at home in Europe back then. Four years later when i left it was still as bad. Now in an European research lab i am generally limited by the LAN speed. Having a slow internet can be a hassle when doing research and when you have large datasets to transfer back and forth (hundreds of GB is not uncommon, and i am a small player). I do not know why the European research network GÉANT is so much faster but it would be a good idea if US university had a look at it.

http://www.geant.net/About_GEANT/pages/home.aspx

Report link (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40210729)

After digging through two links at NetworkWorld, here's the original report [setda.org] .

American schools ? Nay. ALL schools. (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210733)

At first, I thought 100mbps seemed a bit low, after all it's only 100kbps per user, but pragmatically it's more like 3mbps per classroom. You don't need to be streaming individual content to each kid. As much as I despise the overt brainwashing that is most K-12 education, if those subservient lemmings can come out with a bit more content between the ears, maybe they'll be better equipped to think for themselves and add value to their surroundings, unlike the current sad state of affairs.

Not that much (0)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210735)

You can buy a 100 Mb/s connection for yourself if you really want to, this is not a huge cost for universities.

Re:Not that much (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210979)

Most universities have more than 1000 students. Let's assume they have 10,000 students. Now we are at 1gbps or 10x100mbps. I'm having a hard time figuring out, even assuming that 50% were using it all at once (so 1mbps per 5 students), how they need that for educational purposes. Plus, assuming that 50% of the student body all suddenly download a *ahem* textbook at the same time? Hum. And, seriously... because of online courses or online books, that's why it needs that sort of broadband? That's kinda ridiculous.

I understand wanting it for certain sections of the school, perhaps - like the CS department (downloading Linux, or Microsoft stuff through MSDN, etc.) or multimedia department (video is pretty big. :) ). But that has little to do with online textbooks or online collaboration tools...

Reduce those fractions! (1)

pedrop357 (681672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210827)

10 mb for every 100 users
1 mb for every 10 users

OR expand them
1 gb for every 10,000 users

Re:Reduce those fractions! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211141)

I think that 1,000 students is a helpful denominator - the attendance for many schools in American cities can be estimated in small multiples and large fractions of a thousand people - 2,000 kids, or 250 kids, or 1,500 kids. Those numbers would get you close enough to say, "according to this report, my local school would need about a 150 Mbps connection", and then hopefully think about if that number seems reasonable.

Need for speed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40210829)

All of you are being short sighted. You are assuming this is for K12 only, but even then.

1. higher speed will allow collaboration between schools and universities.

2. higher speed will allow for classroom simulation using remote computation services.

3. higher speed will allow for more real-time Q/A with experts in the fields that would be located at Universities (extension of #1)

4. Even current projects (such as remote astronomic observation, remote control of instruments) are taxing the schools network.

Depends on Controls (5, Informative)

Dakiraun (1633747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210839)

Speaking as a Network admin at a major university, the amount of bandwidth-per-user really depends on the levels of control the school is allowed (or willing) to apply to the user's Network usage.

For example, in our residences, students are told they have unfiltered access to the Internet, as in, they are allowed to use any software they wish. The only stated restrictions are overall bandwidth related on a per-day basis. Behind the scenes, a we use packet shaping hardware to limit the total amount of per-user bandwidth usable for such things as P2P or VoIP (to prevent super-nodes) but otherwise leave it alone. In this model, 100Mbps per 1000 students is inadequate, but only just barely. We currently have it at approximately 120Mbps per 1000 students.

Under tighter control circumstances, where P2P is disabled and/or other controls, caps, and so on are enacted, you can likely get away with less bandwidth. Other networks we distribute have such tighter controls, and allow us to dial the number down further to around 70Mbps per 1000 students (without any web censorship).

Re:Depends on Controls (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211035)

This is pretty close to the situation in our network, and I suspect these are pretty typical numbers for a higher education residential campus.

Re:Depends on Controls (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211105)

I havent been in a college in a while, but while I was there in 2003 as a freshman, we had 2 separate networks, the academic network and the dorm network, with VPN connection between the 2. Using that method, based on your work, What would you say the needs of simply the academic side of the network is?

Future Student Excuses (4, Funny)

pkinetics (549289) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210843)

I submitted my homework, but the intertubes are full and until they are cleared you won't receive my homework.

Re:Future Student Excuses (1)

ocdude (932504) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211071)

This excuse already exists. I run a help desk for a LMS at a university, and I hear this pretty much non-stop from students. It's the new "the dog ate my homework".

Re:Future Student Excuses (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211093)

Ted Stevens is still dead.

Being a student myself.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40210845)

Being a student myself, I must say 100mbps can sometimes not be enough, there should be a "cloud connection" of some sort. (For some sysadmins, 12mb/s is not enough for them)

Our highschool has a very nice budget -- they even get new Linux servers for Novell client every year, and we're probably going to get rid of computers which have Windows 7 on them this year. The problem with our schools network always seemed to be it only took a room full of people copying files to take a network down. This year, our school unblocked YouTube, just for the teachers. We also moved into Google Apps as our main working set. Does anyone see a problem with this?

During the end of the year during end of course exam testing, around half of the 50 or so teachers spent all the day on YouTube because their curriculum was finished. The school network never had a catastrophic failure, but announcements were made to "stay off YouTube," with the IT department (which happens to be a joke; they didn't see they unblocked YouTube for the kids also!) scrambled to make sure that the 50-100 out of the 1,000+ didn't have to retake their test again.

It was hard enough for them to get flash working on these computers.. Then again, people shouldn't be able to stream videos, it would only take 30 people to saturate the connection.

Requirements != Capability ~ Insanity (5, Interesting)

tiberus (258517) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210859)

My wife is a kindergarten teacher. In order for her students to access the content she is required to teach them they must first logon to the machines in the computer lab. (I'll avoid a diatribe on the woes of the poor password practices they are forced to teach these minions...) It can often take 1/3 of her classes computer lab time just to log on; granted much of this wasted time is due to the fact that kindergarteners can't remember their passwords but, an equal amount is also caused by the lag caused when the network is flooded with their logon requests (she has less than 20 students).

Once they've accomplished the herculean task of getting the little minions logged onto the lab computers the real fun begins. Most of the content is only available online from the publishers of the text books the school uses. Adding insult to injury the publishers sites are difficult to navigate often requiring the students to manually type in long cryptic URLs that would make torrent users eyes bleed. While much of the content is colorful, animated and has pleasing sound effects try and imagine what accessing this content is like on a network that can't handle a few dozen simultaneous logons.

While I'm a fan of using online resources, the schools (as directed by their boards of education, county governments etc.) seem to have truly put the digital cart before the horse in the mad dash to move toward education online. Also without competent, which of course often means properly paid, tech support (she was once told by a tech the printer wouldn't print because she was using a japanese USB cable) adding bandwidth is pointless.

Logins for kindergarden students?! (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210941)

What is the point of asking kindergarden students to log in? Just set up computers without a log in, and reimage the hard drives nightly.

Re:Requirements != Capability ~ Insanity (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210949)

Passwords for kindergarteners? Seriously? What ever happened to the guest account, virtualization, deepfreeze, anything?

Re:Requirements != Capability ~ Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211173)

Grade school logins, and using web-based teaching materials?

Install Linux, setup auto login as a generic user, and a standardized "template" user

add this to the boot-up process:

rm -Rf /home/generic
cp -R /home/template /home/generic
chown -R generic /home/generic

then simply reboot the computer between classes

This isn't difficult stuff.

Re:Requirements != Capability ~ Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211215)

If you want to get fancy, go the extra mile by doing this to the startup:

rm -Rf /home/generic
rsync -au server:/home/template/ /home/template
cp -R /home/template /home/generic
chown -R generic /home/generic

Re:Requirements != Capability ~ Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211191)

It's trivial to use barcodes and a simple barcode scanner (a real one, not an 'app') to serialize login credentials for students (especially kindergarteners). If the kids can't keep track of their little card with the barcode on it, the teacher can have a list of them printed on a page, and spend 2 minutes at the beginning of class walking around the room scanning the appropriate student's barcode for the workstation they're at.

I work at a large retail chain and our cashiers have ID barcodes that are used to log them on to point-of-sale machines. Because a cashier can sign on to a register to help deal with a surge of customers wanting to check out, and the whole sign-on process takes a few seconds. It's painless and it works.

Next up (3, Funny)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210925)

Coming soon in Ask Slashdot: "I was assigned to set up a school network (about 100Mbps for 1000 users)..."

Wrong - Re:Next up (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211079)

No - wrong

Next up. "West Virginia supplies 1 Gbps Networking to all schools using $100,000 routers and money from ARRA funds after it discovers that the T1 line routers they bought last year were obsolete!"

Ridiculous government waste as usual (2)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210935)

Rather than place what cannot be more than 10gb of textbooks for the whole school on a local server for students of the school, lets run $10,000/mo fiber to every classroom. The insanity of government waste obviously knows no bounds. The audacity of government "IT managers" is nauseating. What? Is everyone stupid now? We can't count? I know that textbooks don't require a 100 or 1000mbit connection! I don't care if you have 10,000 people per 100mbit! Get a fucking clue! Store commonly downloaded things localaly. Shit, you morons, put the fucking textbook on the local machine (DUH!). Since when is this moronic behavior acceptable?

While Rome burns the ubermench in the government fiddle away with these "solutions". Now we'll be told for every dollar that we spend on this internet connection we can expect to see 1 trillion dollars in returns in as few as 5 years! Of course, as with every single estimate the government makes, it will be off by orders of magnitude and end up costing 1 trillion dollars in 2 years. At the end of the day I predict that the schools in question will have <10mbit connection at the price of 1000mbit connection, it will somehow drive up the price of internet service for everyone and increase educational spending greatly. All of which will have a negative impact on grades.

And really, fellow geeks, who thinks that computers on a kids desk during class are anything but a huge distraction from learning? I know if I had a computer at my desk during school, I'd be all about hacking the shit outa that machine and 0% on the lesson. More than anyone, the government is bound by the law of unintended consequences.

Re:Ridiculous government waste as usual (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211043)

10,000 dollars per month for 100mb fiber? Where the fuck do you live? And people don't need only textbooks, half the works for class will be send in using an online platform. These things can include small things but also bigger projects that may be a few MB, if your whole class has to upload a few MB at the end of class, but it takes 10 minutes for it to be uploaded, you got a problem. Never mind the number of times we had to install some extra program somewhere during class. The wireless can already be slow, but if you need a 10MB file with a whole class of 20, thats not something you want to wait very long on. Given a 1000 students, there are destined to be a bunch of people needing access to something at every moment.

My school has a 1gbps for about a 1000 students. And it sure as hell doesn't cost them 10000 per month. Maybe a 200 dollars.

Re:Ridiculous government waste as usual (1)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211163)

They're talking per 1000 students. So before you start calling me out on bad calculations, maybe you should so some calculations of your own.

So, for gigabit, that's between $2000 and $5000 /mo. So if you have a school with 10,000 kids. You do the math smart guy. Let me just say, I was being conservative in my cost estimate.

if your whole class has to upload a few MB at the end of class

If your class has to upload a few MB of data at the end of class, you're not a very good educator are you? Why, pray tell, are the students doing anything on a computer? Most likely, and this is an assumption, it's a complete waste of time. Computers are nothing but a distraction for classrooms. Individually, kids using computers can be educational, but in a classroom setting it's nothing but pure distraction.

Re:Ridiculous government waste as usual (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211169)

$200? Where do you live? The year 2035?

Re:Ridiculous government waste as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211155)

So true, war is what we need to be spending our time on. More weapons and more wars. Education like that matters for half the country, drop the souther states and we can have plenty for upgrades.

Not like the teachers are worth much with how bad most teach subjects.

Re:Ridiculous government waste as usual (1)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211213)

Here's a better idea. How about we don't spend so god damn much? How about we don't tax as much? And why not address my specific valid criticisms instead of turning all lib-tard?

Re:Ridiculous government waste as usual (1)

mSparks43 (757109) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211253)

The UK has JANET for educational use, SuperJanet4 is currently 10Gbps. Costs virtually nothing to run fibre between schools (let alone $10,000 per month per school) and upgrade the routers. No reason they can't OWN THEIR OWN FIBRE.
I already have 50Mbps at home, going to 100Mbps sometime soon, with probably a 20Mbps backup - all for me.
Tech is moving quickly, keep up or fall behind.
You seem to think falling behind is the best option.
More fool you.

As a visitor to the US... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40210995)

As a visitor to the US (from Canada eh!) I think you are wasting your money.

Your kids can not spell, can not do basic math, can barely print their own names.

Your high school graduates are functionally illiterate: most can not spell well enough to use an online dictionary.

Your educational system is fundamentally broken, and nobody is addressing it.

If ignorance is bliss, you have the happiest students in the developed world.

Grumpy old man. (1)

thisisfutile (2640809) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211033)

Back in my day, we didn't have no fancy schmancy com-poo-tours with interwebs. We had a hammer! And a CHISEL! AND WE LIKED IT!!

Who sponsored this report, JDS Uniphase? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211037)

SETDA noted that users who stream high-definition video will require download speeds of 4Mbps.

So now our kids need high definition video in the classroom so they can learn English, math, science, and computer programming! There seems to be a dearth of common sense here.

Have I misread this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211057)

100meg a second for 1000 users. There must be a typo there. In theory my connection is this speed (well 55meg is the fastest I've actually seen). I would hope most users in the western world get between 20 and 50meg. I would expect a school would have multiple connections approaching 1Gig. There has to be a mistake in the story somewhere. Or its 2008?

100 Mbits between 1000 students is pathetic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211121)

So all of them online at once would get 0.1 Mbits. Nice job.

In our building every apartment has 100 Mbits, both directions on fibre. 5 dollars per month. I tested it downloading diablo 3, clocked it at 80 Mbits. Try again gimps.

Self preservation (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211149)

So the State Educational Technology Directors Association says we need more ... State Educational Technology. What a stunning conclusion for this completely neutral and unaffiliated group to come up with!

What schools really need is more education and less "State".

'The Broadband Imperative' == nontechnical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211261)

Broadband means shared. It's the antonym of baseband which means one signal passed over the medium. When the group uses a technical term incorrectly in the title, you know the rest of the document is complete crap. The marketing departments of too many cable and phone companies have perverted the meaning of that word in the public's mind.

Seems about right for a Need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211279)

We used approximately 200Kbps per user average throughout a normal day. That was at my company, 100 users, unlimited Internet use, all heavy users. Peaks went up to 500Kbps per user. Once per day, it went up to 2-3Mbps per user for a minute.

I'd guess it's approximately adequate for the normal Internet usage for a school.

I would expect 1,000 normal users to take between 50-75% of the bandwidth. There would be a need for a burstable gigabit for storms. And I would see a Gigabit for 1,000 users in less than 10 years, so better be prepared now.

No matter what, I would fit 10G equipment, and at least a GE line, with 100Mbps provision. That would allow the line to go to 100% 100Mbps, instead of having protocol loss. That would also allow the ISP to simply flip a switch on the BGP to get more, instead of more equipment.

All in all, you can get equipment and installation for 5K$, and less than 5K$ per year bandwidth. Yeah, that's less than $10 per user per year.

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