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Wireless Presentation — What Are The Options?

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Open School Solutions

We have equipped some of our classrooms with fixed beamers and more will follow. From time to time the desire is expressed to see whether you can ‘simply’ transmit a picture / video or the whole screen wirelessly from your smartphone or private laptop. Up to now we have provided a VGA / HDMI cable for our own devices. This usually works quite well, but this excludes smartphones, for example. That’s why we have been investigating and testing solutions for wireless presentation to a projector and screen for some time now, and whether they really are better and more reliable than a wired solution.

Requirements

Our requirements are as follows:

  • Support of all current operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS)
  • Possibility to mirror the screen
  • easy to use
  • reliable in everyday school life
  • “Hijacking”, i. e. the screens / projectors should not be taken over by third parties (e. g. students)

There are many HDMI wireless dongles that promise wireless presentation. In addition, there are the many different standards: Google’s Chromecast, Apples Airplay, Microsoft’s Wireless Display Adapter (Miracast). If only one operating system had to be supported, the selection would be quite large. I know schools that have equipped their classrooms with Apple TVs and give each colleague an iPad. This works quite well within this ecosystem, but we don’t have this budget 🙂 For this reason, there are very few options if you want to support Linux.

Chromecast

The Chromecast is HDMI stick, which supports a large number of devices, actually everything a Chrome / Chromium Browser runs on. You can easily transfer single tabs, the whole screen or content from certain apps (e.g. Youtube App) to the projector or a screen.

Advantages

  • Price (approx. 40$)
  • Support of all major operating systems
  • Connection with Ethernet adapter possible

Disadvantages

  • supports only WPA2 Personal, no WPA Enterprise
  • no management platform to manage many Chromecasts
  • no screen mirroring on some mobile platforms

Generally speaking, it can be said that the Chromecast is designed for home use and therefore lacks some of the features that might be useful in a school or university network.

Airtame

Airtame is another HDMI dongle that promises very easy handling and has been specially designed for schools, companies and universities. As far as I know, Fedora is running on the stick itself.

Advantages

  • Support of all major operating systems
  • Connection with Ethernet adapter possible
  • real mirroring of the screen, no “casting”, i. e. Youtube videos are transferred by the computer in contrast to Chromecast, which downloads them from the Internet itself.
  • supports all WLAN standards (also WPA Enterprise)
  • Central platform to manage many Airtames
  • Option to connect via PIN

Disadvantages

Conclusion

Chromecast and Airtame are two options for wireless presentation. Airtame is actually the device you want for a school, but it has its price. Chromecast, on the other hand, is much cheaper, but does not offer some features that would be “nice-to-have”. We are currently testing the Chromecast and seeing how good and reliable it is in everyday school life and “multi-user operation”. Especially the simplicity of operation has to be tested, e.g. how this differs on the individual platforms.

Which device do you use for wireless presentation?

Originally published at openschoolsolutions.org. Sign up to our newsletter to get access to a FREE PDF with great open source apps for your classroom or follow @OpenSchoolZ on Twitter.

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