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I am trying to import my device data and get an error with the school ID.

This is almost always caused by opening the .csv file from which you intent to import in Excel. If you don’t import the .csv into Excel and declare the School ID field to be a text field, Excel will truncate or cut off the leading “0’s.” This will prevent the School ID from matching the ID’s in NJTRAx. A description of this issue and how to overcome it can be found here.

I have a rating of “6″ (Not Ready) in Network Readiness, yet I have plenty of bandwidth at my school. What’s going on?

A School Network Readiness Rating of 6 for a school that seems to have sufficient bandwidth for testing is almost always a sign that one or more of the Test Locations has insufficient Wireless Access Point (WAP) capacity to support the devices at that location that connect wirelessly. Check the Test Location List screen for Test Locations where “Is WAP Sufficient” is marked, “No.” (See below) Adding wireless access points to that location, or adding higher capacity access points, may be necessary.

WAP

What are WAP Capacity and WAP Readiness?

One bottleneck that has occurred for many schools in states that were early adopters of computer-based testing was caused by overcrowding of wireless access points or WAPs. In NJTRAx, we look at wireless access point readiness at each location where testing will take place, even if that location is a laptop or cart. The capacity of a WAP is the number of users that it can support without a degradation of performance. These can vary from 10 or 15 for an old Apple Airport, for example, to 500 on one of the new high capacity WAPs on the market. Most WAPs currently in use in schools can support about 30 users, and that is the default in NJTRAx. If you’re not sure of the capacity of your WAPs, ask your network administrator. If the district does not have a network administrator, check the technical specifications for the brand and model of WAP that you have in the building. WAP Readiness is determined by looking at the number of testing devices in any location and then comparing that to the number and capacity of the WAPs available to that location. If WAPs are shared, the capacity claimed should be shared as well. If you need further help, please send an email to parcctrt@doe.state.nj.us.

How do I determine the percentage of IP Bandwidth in use in my school?

Determining the percentage of IP bandwidth available to your school can be tricky. Here are a few approaches labeled Bad, Good and Better.

  • Bad. Guess.
  • Good. If your district does not throttle or apportion bandwidth to schools, use the district percentage of use as the school percentage of use.
  • Good. If you have a fixed amount of bandwidth for the school, sit down at a few devices in testing locations in the school during core instructional periods when use is similar to the levels it might be when testing is taking place and run a speed test. The speed test that the NJTRAx team recommends is SchoolSpeedTest at http://www.schoolspeedtest.org/ from EducationSuperHighway. Calculate the mean download speed available during these periods. Measurements will vary but the more tests you do, the more likely the available bandwidth estimate will be closer to reality. If you subtract the bandwidth available from the total bandwidth for the school, this will give you the bandwidth in use in your school. Calculate the percentage of your total school bandwidth that this available bandwidth represents (see the NJTRAx Quick Start Guide for specifics) and you will have a decent estimate. If the district does not throttle or apportion bandwidth, then the percentage of bandwidth calculated at the district level should be applied to each building.
  • Better. If either you or your district has network monitoring software in place, estimates from this software, particularly mean usage calculated during core instructional periods over a number of days, will give you a far better estimate.

How do I determine the percentage of Internet Bandwidth that is used for normal, everyday traffic?

To begin, know that it is virtually impossible to perfectly calculate the level of use of IP bandwidth at any level. There are many factors that impact your use at any given time, some beyond your control. But even though IP bandwidth use is an estimate, we want to give the best estimate that we can. The more data your estimate is based upon, the better. Here are several strategies arranged from Bad to Good to Better.

  • Bad. Guess.
  • Good. Sit down at a few devices in schools in the district during core instructional periods when use is similar to the levels it might be when testing is taking place and run a speed test. The speed test that the NJTRAx team recommends is SchoolSpeedTest at http://www.schoolspeedtest.org/ from EducationSuperHighway. Calculate the mean download speed available during these periods. Measurements will vary but the more tests you do, the more likely the available bandwidth estimate will be closer to reality. If you subtract the bandwidth available from the total bandwidth for the district, this will give you the bandwidth currently used. Calculate the percentage of your total district bandwidth that this available bandwidth represents (see the NJTRAx Quick Start Guide for specifics) and you will have a decent estimate.
  • Better. If either you or your ISP has network monitoring software in place, estimates from this software, particularly mean usage calculated during core instructional periods over a number of days, will give you a far better estimate.

How do I determine my Internet Bandwidth at the district level?

The short answer to this question is to ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Be sure to ask them for your minimum guaranteed bandwidth. Some cable companies, for example, will provide a contract for 20 Mbps (Megabits per second), but allow access to a bit more bandwidth if their network is quiet. Your estimate should be conservative.