Deployment Guide/School Server

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7. School Server

Part of our deployment model is to utilize school servers. A School server is designed to provide a gateway to the Internet, a local content repository, back-up, school management, etc. As important as all of these services, their most critical role is to scale the local-area network. (Without the schoolserver, the XO laptops use multicast to communicate with each other which puts a heavy load on the network. The school server eliminates the need for much of the multicast traffic). Without a school server, the largest network that can be maintained is approximately 20 laptops. Each school server can maintain a network of approximately 120 laptops, so in environments with more devices you can put in place multiple school servers.

Some key benefits a school server brings to your deployment are:

  • The OLPC Server is a software stack that can be installed on any reasonable PC or server to complement the XO and help school environments provide a safe, well managed and learning oriented environment
  • Backup – The XOs can all backup to the OLPC Server to ensure content isn't lost. All the XO Journals are backed up to the school server and teachers can view the Journals to provide some oversight and safety in how the XOs are being used.
  • Digital Library – A Digital Library makes it easy for students to publish works (with teacher moderation) to other students and possibly to other schools. Teachers can easily add new resources to the Digital Library that students can access at school
  • Teaching – The OLPC Server software provides an easy way to deliver customized classes through an eLearning system which the kids browse to through the network. Namely Moodle.
  • Management and security - The school server can manage who can connect to the network, can lock laptops that get stolen or who don't come to school, can provide a local software repository for laptop updates and more.
  • Proxy server - The OLPC Server software can act as a proxy for secure web browsing by the XOs and can also be used for security and management of the software and XOs, including management of bandwidth and software releases.
  • There are also additional functionalities coming in the school server, including Video conferencing, GPS and GIS functionality, Voice over IP, Instant messaging, and News services (blogging, forums, etc. As an Open Source platform you could always modify the schoolserver to suit your particular needs.
  • The school server can unify up to three separate mesh channels.

We are working towards allowing a laptop to serve the role of the School Server for small schools; but that goal has not been reached yet and so it is not currently an option. Your school server should be a basic PC and the specifications and instructions for setting up a school server is on the School server page.

Note: the numbers of machines supported in each network configuration are in flux at the moment. You will need to experiment with the technology a little. Look for documentation from other teams to help you.

Please consider the minimum connectivity requirements in the table below when making your deployment plans.

<20 <40 <80 <120 >120
no server needed, but functionality useful server + 1 access point (or active antenna) server + 2 access points (or 2 active antenna) server + 3 access points (or 3 active antennae) server + many access points


A number of computers may act as a school server, but it must be a Fedora-capable computer. Recommended minimum specifications for a school server are as follows:

Server Laptops Supported Processor RAM Storage
Small <20-25 466MHz 256MB 40-60 GB
Large <150 1GHz 1GB 320-400 GB
Huge ~400 2GHz x2 2GB >500 GB

Next Section: Teacher Preparation/Student Facilitation

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