Setting Up a Local Area Network For a Supplementary School In HongKong Essay

Introduction

            The advent of computer networking had brought significant developments in the business practice. It is being utilized by all Profit and Non-profit organizations around the world today. In the field of education, “Studies show computer-based instruction can individualize instruction and give instant feedback to students, even explaining the correct answer. The computer is infinitely patient and nonjudgmental, thus motivating students to continue” (Coley).  For this reason, we have selected a supplementary school in Hongkong to which we should conduct a feasibility study and propose the benefits of setting up a Local Area Connection for the school’s community.

What is a Supplementary School?

In a document written by Parminder Johal, he noted the significant role of supplementary schools in a certain country – “supplementary schools were created to provide opportunities to learn the home language… be able to use it effectively whilst at home and abroad” (Johal). Steve Strand defined supplementary schooling as “… extra schooling organized by and for particular ethnic groups outside of mainstream provision” (Strand).

Supplementary School in Hongkong

Mark Bray and Percy Kwok conducted study on supplementary tutoring in Hongkong. In their research they noted, “Private supplementary tutoring has deep roots, as in other East Asian societies such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. At the same time, analysis of the Hong Kong situation might hold lessons for societies in which private supplementary tutoring is not currently a major enterprise but in which it is growing” (Bray and Kwok). This growth is influenced by the fact that “clients of private tutors can much more easily select the types, durations and intensities of services that they desire, and can instantly cease enrollment at any time” (Bray and Kwok).

Bray and Kwok noted that there are 3 nature of Supplementary tutoring: Academic Subjects, Financial Gain, and Additional to the provision by mainstream schooling. An academic subject tutoring is concerned with teaching academic subjects such as language and mathematics excluding extra-curricular subjects, and religious studies. Financial Gain tutoring is somehow focused on financial gains – i.e. Companies hires tutor to conduct training and has no concern over extra lessons from schools. The last type is Additional to provision by mainstream tutoring is mostly provided outside school hours, week-ends, and during vacations.

What is Local Area Networking?

            From an online source, local area network is defined as “a computer network covering a small geographic area – i.e. a home, office, or group of buildings e.g. a school. The defining characteristics of LANs, in contrast to wide-area networks (WANs), include their much higher data-transfer rates, smaller geographic range, and lack of a need for leased telecommunication lines” (Wikipedia). Another online source states that “a local area network (LAN) supplies networking capability to a group of computers in close proximity to each other such as in an office building, a school, or a home. A LAN is useful for sharing resources like files, printers, games or other applications. A LAN in turn often connects to other LANs, and to the Internet or other WAN.

Networking Materials

Two or More PCs

Network Cards – a definition from wikipedia states that, “a network card, network adapter, LAN Adapter or NIC (network interface card) is a piece of computer hardware designed to allow computers to communicate over a computer network. It is both an OSI layer 1 (physical layer) and layer 2 (data link layer) device, as it provides physical access to a networking medium and provides a low-level addressing system through the use of MAC addresses. It allows users to connect to each other either by using cables or wirelessly” (Wikipedia). There are four types of Network Cards – Integrated Network Adapters, PCI Network Adapters, USB Network Adapters, and ISA Network Adapters. Integrated network adapters are attached mainly on the PCs motherboard – it is part of a motherboard. PCI network adapters are not attached mainly on the motherboard, but can be installed in your PC through the PCI slots in the motherboard. Some computers do not have PCI slots, therefore it could not support PCI based networking. USB network adapters are external cards attached to a USB port.

Network Switch – wikipedia defined it as, “A network switch is a computer networking device that connects network segments. In the past, it was faster to use Layer 2 techniques to switch, when only MAC addresses could be looked up in content addressable memory (CAM). With the advent of ternary CAM (TCAM), it was equally fast to look up an IP address or a MAC address. TCAM is expensive, but very appropriate for enterprise switches that use default routes plus a moderate number of other routes. For routers that need a full Internet routing table, TCAM may not be cost-effective” (Wikipedia).

Network Cable – Cable is the medium through which information usually moves from one network device to another. There are common types of cables used in networking: Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP), Shielded Twisted Pair (STP), Coaxial Cable, Fiber Optics. UTP is the best option used in school networks. This is connected to a computer’s network connector through the use of RJ-45. UTP are susceptible to radio and electrical interference making it unadvisable in areas with high radio and electrical frequency. In that case, a shielded twisted pair (STP) is used. However the extra shielding makes the cable bulky. Coaxial cable offers resistance to signal interference. A fiber optic cable has higher resistance to signal interference, and has the ability to transmit signals over much longer distances than coaxial and twisted pair. In addition, it has the capability to carry information at vastly greater speeds. This capacity broadens communication possibilities to include services such as video conferencing and interactive services.

The Business Case

The schools offers services such as home language teaching, academic subject tutoring, and advance skills development training. The school campus occupies an area of 80 meters wide and 40 meters in length. It has 4 buildings installed in rectangular form. 1 building is used for skills development training for high school graduates, college levels, and college graduates who wants to acquire skills in computer. The other building is used for tutoring sessions for Language and Mathematics. The other building is used for teaching Hongkong’s home language. Finally, one building serves as offices for the school’s Records and Registration Officer, School President, Finance, Technical support, and other offices.

The school has average number of students enrolled in each 3 service categories. It has been serving the community since the year 2000 and is gaining the community’s respect. It is funded by the local government through the effort of Mr. Juwan Koy, a city official wayback in the January 19, 2000. Since then, it has attracted many clients whose age range is between 4 yrs old to 45 years old. However, the school does not impose age limits for clients beyond 45 years old provided that the client is capable of acquiring the school’s teaching services. Within the first two years of implementation, the school is only concerned with the home language teaching, and academic subjects tutoring. Both services became famous in the local and regional scene. In the year 2005, the school opened another type of service which is the skills development in computer. It provided support for teaching office applications. In the next years, the school expanded computer skills training to computer graphics, computer programming, and web development which are all implemented as a crash course for a maximum of 3 months.

As it continue to grow, the school’s community suffered both management and operational problems. Most of these problems arise during the first introduction of Computer Aided instruction in the year 2005. Number of enrollees varies each year, now it goes up, later it goes down. Sometimes, the number of students in a service is lower than the minimum, and sometimes exceeds the maximum. Although the management has imposed maximum number of enrollees in each service, it still accepts students even if the maximum limit for a service is reached in order to cover up the lesser number of enrollees from other services. This is where the tension comes in. In order to accommodate all enrollees, the school imposed sharing of its resources. Excess students conduct their study sessions in other building which is assigned for the other services. This has offered many problems such as: The teacher’s instructional files are scattered in the different computers within the school as they transfer from building to building to conduct lessons. The same situation goes on the activity files of students. This situation has affected the school management’s effort to regularly conduct check ups of instructor’s syllabuses, and student’s progress. As the syllabuses and other instructional materials are scattered on different PCs, the effort to consolidate and update these materials is becoming complicated. Aside from it, during training sessions, there are situations where the instructional files on computers are misplaced, or the instructor have forgotten the physical location of that file. Searching for the lost file consumed large amounts of time which is supposedly assigned for the session, the worst is it results to some sessions being postponed and make up classes rescheduling becomes more complicated as you need to consider both student’s and instructor’s availability.

Project Scope and Specification

This project is aiming to set up a Local Area Connection for the school. This implementation will enable access to a central database which will be installed in server computers of the school. The information from the server computers can be accessed by clients from different location in the school’s premises. However, access to the information is controlled by assigning access password to the school’s clients. Access passwords will be assigned during enrolment session. In addition, internet access is provided in all client computers. The structure of the LAN is formed by: One main server for internet connection, one main server will be assigned for each of the school’s services. All servers will be placed in one fully secured and ventilated location in the administrators building.

The project is designed for exclusive implementation in a small area only and cannot be applied in areas with distance extending beyond 100 meters.

Deliverables of the Project

            Networking manuals for Students

            Network Map for Network Administrators use

            The Documentation of the whole Project from Planning to Implementation.

Benefits of LAN

            The project is beneficial to the whole community: for the school, for the parents of students, for the students, and for the reputation of the whole community.

Networks can improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of office work by allowing you to:

Store commonly used files on a shared drive for easier access.
Share files in electronic form to reduce printing costs and paper waste.
Share resources, such as hard drives, printers, scanners, etc., to get more use out of office equipment.
Share software with multi-user licenses.
Send files to individual co-workers with intra-office e-mail.
Perform data backups quicker and easier with files on shared drives.
Give co-workers access to view files on your hard drive from their computer.
Connect your entire office to the Internet through one line.
In an article written by Coley, he stated “Students usually learn more in less time when they receive computer-based instruction. Students like their classes more and develop more positive attitudes toward computers when their classes include computer-based instruction. Computers do not, however, have positive effects in every area in which they were studied. In 34 studies that examined students’ attitudes toward subject matter, for instance, the average effect of computer-based instruction was near zero.”

For the school, it will surely boost reputation and attract more interest from the community. It will boost up enrollees figure; boost up teaching performance, which will open the school for other opportunities of expansion.

Materials required for implementation.

            Shown below is the inventory of materials required by the school for implementation of a Local Area Network.

Description
Number of Units Available
Number of Units required
Availability
1. Computer Sets
100
Additional of at least 4 Computers of high specification. 1 Main internet Server

3 Main servers for each services
Local sellers and suppliers
2. Switches
None
4 Switches

1 Switches with minimum of 10 Ports.

6 Switches with maximum of 36 Ports
Local sellers and suppliers
3. Network Cards
100 all are Integrated Network adapter type
8 PCI types.

4 for servers

4 reserves (for servers)

Further purchases will be for replacement on Integrated Network Adapter.
Local sellers and suppliers
4. Network Cables
None
4 rolls of UTP cables
Local sellers and suppliers
5. RJ-45
None
200 Pieces of RJ-45
Local sellers and suppliers
6. Network Cable tester
None
At least 4 cable tester
Local sellers and suppliers
7. Crimping Tool
None
At least 4 crimping tool
Local sellers and suppliers
8. Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
None
At least 4, 1 for each server
Local sellers and suppliers

Estimated price of each material

Description
Units Required
Estimated Price Per Unit
Estimated Total Purchase

Price
1. Computer Sets
4
$ 1,215
$ 4,860
2. Switches
4
$290.99
$ 1,160
3. Network Cards
8
$ 16.00
$ 128.00
4. Network Cable
3 rolls
$ 148.32
$ 444.96
5. RJ-45
200 pcs
$ 12.54
$ 2,508
6. Network Cable Tester
4 pcs
$ 8.99
$ 35.96
7. Crimping Tool
4 pcs
$ 8.99
$ 35.96
8. Uninterruptible Power Supply
4 pcs
$ 115.15
$ 462.04

$ 9,634.92

Return of Investment

            The investment to the project is estimated to be acquired back 10 years after implementation. 20 % increase in yearly profit is expected to be acquired per year. Considering the depreciation of the fixed assets set at 10% straight-line depreciation. The Yearly profit after implementation is expected to rise by 5% every year.

Item
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
Computer Sets
4860
4374
3937
3543
3189
2870
2583
2325
2092
1883
Switches
1160
1044
940
846
761
685
616
555
499
449
Network Cards
128
115
104
93
84
76
68
61
55
50
Network Cables
445
400
360
324
292
263
236
213
192
172
RJ-45
2508
2257
2031
1828
1645
1481
1333
1200
1080
972
Network Cable Tester
36
32
29
26
24
21
19
17
15
14
Crimping Tool
36
32
29
26
24
21
19
17
15
14
Uniterruptible Power Supply
462
416
374
337
303
273
246
221
199
179

Problems in the Location

            The school is free from disturbances. It is located on a flat plane 100 meters away from the highway, and far from electrical facilities such as electrical post and mainlines. In the review of the school’s electrical wiring plans, wiring installations are properly in place. 1 Circuit breaker is placed at every computer laboratory making it safer from electrical failures.

Installation Fees

            Installation will be included in a package for purchasing the networking materials. Additional fee will be incurred for accommodation expenses, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Network Maintenance Concern

            After the network is installed, a network administrator/computer programmer will be designated to conduct network maintenance concern and system programming. The school must hire an expert on this field. It is not advisable for the school to assign this position to a present school computer lab in-charge as all computer experts of the school are already handling lessons. This position should be designated as a full time as it requires time availability.

Work Schedules

Task
Whole month of August
Whole month of September
1st Week
2nd Week
3rd Week
4th Week
1st Week
2nd Week
3rd Week
4th Week
1. Proposal Presentation

2. Proposal Approval

3. Revision of Proposal

4. Price Comparison

5. Contact Suppliers for Purchase incentives

6. Contact Suppliers who will conduct networking installation

7. Final Presentation and selection of possible Suppliers and sellers

8. Purchasing

9. Hiring Network Administrator/Computer Programmer

10. Contact an Internet service Provider for internet connection

11. Network installation and setting up for internet connection.

12. Testing

Risk Management Plan

            In every project, there are problems that might interrupt its implementation. It is very important that communication system is established in advance. This ensures everybody knows who should act or who are to be contacted in particular situation. And most important is, be sure everything is documented, and reports submitted on the designated people. All reports should be signed by all signatories stated in the report. Monitoring the project requires regular site visits by the team members. Meetings will be held regularly every Saturday to ensure updates of works are informed to the key people. Emergency meeting can be called up by anybody in consideration with the urgency of the matter.

            Shown below is the Common Risk Management Table.

Risk Description
Possible Causes
Preventive Measures
What to do in case of occurrence?
1.   Absence of Key People
–    emergency Out-of-Town travels

–    sick leave
–   Make regular contact with key people to monitor appointment schedules.

–   Ask for key people’s contact information.

–   Prior to implementation, agreement should be made on appointing OICs. Possible OICs should be listed in advance.
–  look for the OIC or contact the key person by contact information you have listed.
2.   Financial Budget shortage
–    varying product prices

–    additional expenses which are not pre-determined
–   Prior to implementation, a contingency budget should be approved.

–   Prior to implementation, a guideline on withdrawing contingency fund should be approved.
–  Immediately withdraw from contingency fund based on guidelines
3.   Work Delayed by weather condition
–    Unpredicted natural disaster was not known – storm, hurricane, earthquake, other related events.
–   Gather  weather forecast daily

–   Adjust work schedules affected by whether forecast

–   Establish Disaster Management Plan.
–  Immediately apply emergency actions as established by the Disaster management Plan.
4.   Work delayed due to failure in hardware functions
–    Computer units corrupted while on process of configuration
–   Pre-determine Hardware and Software failures in all computer sets.

–   Have suppliers list of all computer peripherals.

–   All workers in site should be informed about the wiring connections of the buildings.
–  Contact for technical support when needed.

–  In case of replacement, purchase the required material immediately.
5.   Work delayed due to power failure
–    Electrical lines encounter problem
–   Have regular monitoring of scheduled power failures.

–   Keep contact information of the Power provider you are subscribing to.

–   Adjust work schedules affected by power failures.
–  contact power provider immediately.

–  Turn off all circuit breakers immediately.

Efforts for Quality Management

            To ensure the quality of work, the project will be handled by a group of project in-charge which will constantly adhere on a feedback system.

Project Team Members and Roles

Name of Designated Individual
Role

1.   Mr. Bernie Mayer

Project Manager
2.   Mr. John Schwandner
Assistant Manager
3.   Mrs. Brenda Fallado
Budget Officer
4.   Mr. Ronualdo McLean
Site Supervisor
5.   Miss Marian Sickfer
Secretary
6.   Mr. Arnold McFadd
Contact Manager

Feedback System

            All aspects of implementation should be documented and be reviewed. Reports submitted by the different team members will serve as the basis for reviewing the project’s status. Regular call-ups for an involved individual in case of failure or achievement will be done by the project manager. Each time a call-up is made, the whole situation will be documented and both parties- the one who did the call-up and the one being called up will sign the document.

            In case there is a need for immediate replacement of designated persons, all documents which belong to the project will be properly turned over to the successor. The turn over will be done in front of many witnesses: Presence of Project Manager, Assistant Manager, Budget Officer, Site Supervisor, Secretary, Contact Manager. The turn over exercise will be documented and signed by the witnesses.

Is the Project a Success or A Failure?

            In my analysis of the project, it is a success. On the view point of project management, all aspects were properly described. The data gathering methodologies were held thoroughly which involves three groups of people within the community: Parents, School Employees, and Students. The summary of this investigation was presented in the business case where problems are also cited. Business case is defined as “a vision document that reflects the final goal, a motivation to undertake a project, which is often expressed as a problem statement. The cost of implementation was identified. This was presented in the Description of the Area Page of the document. Time management was shown in Gantt Chart which reflects the schedules of work which is expected for a duration of 2 months from August to September. Project team members were designated. In addition, project monitoring is done by providing guidelines for feedback system, and schedule of regular meeting. To ensure potential risks are managed properly, a risk management plan was presented through the use of Common Risk Management Table. To ensure budget is properly monitored, a budget officer which communicates with the other members of the team is designated to monitor all ins and outs of cash funding for the whole project.

Further Suggestions

            My further suggestion of the project is the consideration of further expansion which is outside the scope of the project. It should have been documented in this context in a basic introduction. Although the whole project is mostly hardware base, and most are ready for future expansion, it is much better if the concerns involve in expanding from a Local Area Network to Wide Area Network.

Reflection on How You Organized and Manage this Assignment for the Production of Final Report

            From the very beginning of the whole assignment, I adopted the project management practice. In selection of the project, I ran through many IT projects and was able to choose this one as I found it very beneficial. I found this one unique as it does not offer one sided benefit. The project offers benefits to the community as a whole and most especially to the students who are enrolled in the school as they are given the opportunity to have an environment very conducive to learning. On the issue of time management, I have spent my time wisely. I made task priorities. First I conducted research about the prospect school, then research on networking materials, research on prices, do estimates for making cost benefit analysis. All involve risky decision making as every now and then I make decisions whether this one is appropriate or not, or if I am doing it correctly or not. It’s more on researching, documentation, and decision making. The tasks are repeated when required, the same situation happens in real project implementation to do further rescheduling of task, adjusting budgets, and doing other managerial tasks. But most of all, the best thing that I learned is not to rely solely on what is learned from school.

References

Johal, P., Learning at a Supplementary School. 28 June 2008

http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:ElkoTqxpTM0J:www.naldic.org.uk/docs/members/documents/NQ2.2.5.pdf+What+is+a+Supplementary+School%3F;hl=en;ct=clnk;cd=5;gl=ph

Strand, S. Surveying the views of pupils attending supplementary schools in England. 28 June 2008 ;http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN;cpsidt=18559150;

Corporation for National and Community Service. Benefits of A computer Network. 28 June 2008 ;http://www.seniortechcenter.org/hardware_and_software/network_benefits.php;

Coley, R. Technology’s Impact. 28 June 2008.

;http://www.electronic-school.com/0997f3.html;

WordPress.Com Weblog. Portrait of A Business Analysts. 28 June 2008

http://bizvalu.wordpress.com/2007/05/05/importance-of-a-business-case/

Akoh, J. ; and Paul Gutherson, P., Setting Up Complementary schools Hubs and Networks. 28 June 2008. ;http://www.cfbt.com/evidenceforeducation/

pdf/91083_Hubs;Networks_Handbook.pdf;

Lillington, C. Leeds Community Mandarin Language School. The National Center for Languages. 28 June 2008. ;http://www.cilt.org.uk/languagecolleges/cls/prince_henry.htm;

Hallberg, B. Networking a Beginner’s Guide. Page 7

Darling, D., Networking Survival Guide. Page 9-10

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