Describe the need that you’re trying to address.
The Beatrice Public Library in cooperation with ESU 5 and Beatrice Public Schools would like to bridge the WiFi gap that exists for students after school hours. Many families in this rural community do not have access to WiFi at home due to cost or other economic issues and a TVWS solution would open up many opportunities. Creating community Homework Hotspots through the Public Library for students,would bring access to the digital age that not all would have access to otherwise. Creating off site hotspots would open the door to portable TVWS solutions across town that may aid in community events and disaster recovery.
Cooperating with the local Educational Service Unit will help the project be successfully installed and configured. ESU 5 helps our 10 rural school districts configure and manage their school networks as well as set up 2.4 and 5 GHz PtP links to their Athletic Fields. This extensive wireless background has recently been expanded into TVWS technology, as we are exploring the possibility of providing our remote rural districts with secondary Internet connections in the event of fiber cuts and network outages. Having this background would help to make the proposed ideas here a success.
What would be a successful outcome for your project?
A successful outcome of this project would bring up 4 remote sites from ESU 5 to the Public Library, Hannibal Park, Scott Street Ball Fields, and The Community Players Theater in the city of Beatrice. These locations would primarily provide Homework Hotspots for after school Internet access for students who may not have access at home. When the weather is warm many students hangout at these parks locations after school. The Public Library is also a popular after school hangout and the Community Players Theater offers a weekly after school program. With a technology integrated curriculum becoming the norm, students would have more opportunities to connect to the Internet for research and completing assignments. By successfully establishing a robust base station through ESU 5, the client radio at the Public Library would be mounted as a portable unit, for easy deployment and use by city departments such as the Emergency Management Dept.
As a primary use we plan to provide priority access to Students after school hours. To control user bandwidth and apply priority profiles, a Captive Portal will be incorporated with the hotspots that will manage connections based on whether a student or guest is connecting. Ideally this will be set up to authenticate against existing student Google accounts to create a simplified user experience. Ubiquiti Mesh Wifi AP’s will be used at each client location to allow for an expandable system that can cover large areas such as the parks. Signage around the hotspots and advertising through Beatrice Public Schools and both the Public and School Library will bring about public awareness to promote the new system. Currently the Public Library does not have sufficient bandwidth to support a TVWS network. A TVWS connection from ESU 5 to the Public Library will be setup temporarily while a fiber connection is researched and installed. By utilizing a fiber Internet connection through ESU 5 and Network Nebraska, a reliable network backbone will be in place to support this project and allow for room to grow as the system expands. Collaborating together to bring this project to the community would be a great opportunity that will have a lasting positive impact.
We anticipate a close collaboration between public and school librarians to incorporate both school and public library resources into the Homework Hotspot portal. By working together to provide resources jointly, students will readily have access to online catalogs and media that they might otherwise have a hard time finding on their own. This collaboration will continue to grow as the system is deployed and incorporated.
Please list your team members or partners and their roles
- Laureen Riedesel – Beatrice Public Library – Director
- Brenda McNiff – Educational Service Unit #5 – Administrator
- Ryan McDowell – Educational Service Unit #5 – Director of IT
- Tobias Tempelmeyer – Beatrice Public Works – General Manager
- Norm McConnell – Beatrice Public Works – Tech Department
- Pat Nauroth – Beatrice Public Schools – Superintendent
- Dave Koch – Beatrice Public Schools – Tech Director
- Carol Oltman – Beatrice Public Schools Library – Media Specialist
- Beatrice Community Players Theater – Hosts weekly after school program
- Network Nebraska – Provides Internet at highly reduced rates for Education and Library Institutions
- Nebraska Office of the CIO