Extend Internet to 4-5 more PCs in classroom

March 19, 2011 at 12:07:17
Specs: Windows XP
In a classroom situation, I have 6 desktop computers, each has its own Ethernet blue cable.

One of those cables is damaged above the ducting in the next room, so no Internet access.

I want to have 10 functioning desktop computers at the lowest possible cost to the school and without having to pull new cables.

We will be using the computers for Writing, desktop publishing with insertion of graphics, and Internet searching for writing school papers.

So, first of all, what is the cheapest, most effective way to get Internet to all 10 computers without pulling additional cables?

Some computers have the possibility to save student work on an "all-access" drive, but not all of them do. Does that mean they have to be configured to be networked? Some can also print to several printers in the building, also, and some cannot.

I've been reading about this a little and it seems that we need hubs and routers, OR a switch. Switched seem expensive.

We also need one more good surge protector for the 4 additional computers.

AND, does anyone have a way to filter certain sites there in the classroom locally as students are searching?

What are your recommendations?

Thanks for any reasonable suggestions!

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March 19, 2011 at 12:54:07
A switch to do the whole job should cost you maybe $70. But if you have a router at the other end already, if it has wireless capability you can convert some or all of the computers to wireless - for free, if they already have an adapter.

For network storage, and for network printing, you will need to network the machines.

For an easy way to filter, I set up openDNS as the DNS provider. It is free, and if done at the router level, and if you set up an account (again free), you can filter sites by dozens of categories, plus add your own individual sites, and any machine on the router will have the filtering. It is not foolproof, however, and it is weak on Internet searches. For that, the next step up is to install K9 on each machine. I found it fairly restrictive, but then that's what it's there for. MS also offers a similar level of parental control now. Both are also free (at least for home use).

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March 19, 2011 at 18:30:48
Thank you. I'll try your ideas out.

The $70 you were mentioning is for a newer hub/router combo perhaps?

Also, does the filtering programming take place at the school site's server or from the the router itself?

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March 19, 2011 at 19:12:06
You're welcome. The best solution probably will depend on what's on the other side of those cables. I was assuming there was a router there already. What I quickly looked at was an 8 port switch for $45 here.

OpenDNS can be set up at either the computer or router level, but router level is better by far, for security reasons and so it only has to be done once. K9 and MS solutions will involve each computer individually.

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