Monday, August 29, 2016

Weekly Tech Tip #1 - NCS Wireless Networks

Today we're starting a new series of posts for the school year- Weekly Tech Tips. These will be quick and easy reminders for using technology resources at Natomas Charter School.

This week our focus is wireless networks. At Natomas Charter School we maintain multiple wireless networks. We maintain separate networks because our devices need to be filtered at different levels and we need to ensure that our internal network resources are safe from malware and viruses. While useful, the separate networks can be a bit confusing, so here is a listing of each network and its intended use by campus.

Main Campus

Here we maintain four networks - two for devices owned by the school and two for devices owned by students and staff

This network is used by wireless devices owned by Natomas Charter School, primarily teacher and staff laptops. All of these devices have antivirus and malware protection software and since the devices are used by staff the filtering is fairly open. Only the IT department has access to this password and we add it to all devices when they are set up.

This network is almost identical to NCS-Staff with more restrictive filtering. It is used to support our school-owned Chromebooks and iPads. Similar to NCS-Staff this password is maintained by the IT department. 

Bringing your own iPad, iPhone, or laptop to school? No problem. You can use NCS-StaffGuest to connect to the network. It is filtered at the same level as NCS-Guest, but does not allow users to access internal network resources (servers, networked printers, etc.) and instead routes users directly to the Internet. We do this because personal devices may not have adequate antivirus/malware protection software. All NCS staff members have access to this password. I am not posting it here since this is a public site, but feel free to contact the IT department or check your email if you do not know the password. Please do not provide it to students. A few years this happened and everyone ended up having to reset their devices.

This network is available for all students (at teacher-direction) and guests who are not NCS employees. It is filtered like NCS-Student, but similar to NCS-Staff Guest does not allow access to internal network resources. When using NCS-Guest it is important to launch a web-browser after connecting, accept the security certificate, and enter your email address. The password is ncsguest.

PACT & Star

These two campuses have different wireless hardware than the main campus, so their system is slightly different as well.

Identical to NCS-Staff at the Main Campus

Identical to NCS-Student at the Main Campus

Star Guest or PACT Guest
Very similar to NCS-Guest at the Main Campus and meant for use by student, staff, or outside guest personal devices. This network has two account settings

  • For Students and Guests - Use the password ncsguest. This is filtered at the student level.
  • For Staff Members - We have a the ability to provide you individualized accounts on these networks filtered at the staff level. If you would like your own account or can't your remember the password please submit a help ticket.

Hopefully, this post clears up some confusion about our wireless networks. We are constantly working on improving the system, so you may hear of updates as well in the future. Please let us know if you have any questions. Should you ever come across a site you or your students need simply put in a Help Ticket (or email if it is an emergency) and we will take care of it.