District Hotspot Guide

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School Year 2021-2022

The District paid internet service for Boise School District hotspots will be shut off August 1, 2021.  At that time District support will also end, with the exception of students enrolled and attending Boise Online School where the service & support by the District will be maintained.  For ending support call: 1-800-TMOBILE (800-866-2453).  Schools sites send surplus hotspots to DSC attn: D. Jackson.
Students can keep their previously assigned hotspots and can reactivate the service on the hotspot using their own cellular account.  Families are encouraged to apply for the FCC Emergency Broad Band (EBB) program (https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit) to help pay for the service if needed.

Support Summary:

1. Make sure hotspot is fully charged - connect to power and charge every night - all night. 
2. Run a "Reset" process,  either one or both:  Master reset or Hardware reset.
3. Ignore the messages that cycle is ending, or that data is running low

T-Mobile Hotspot Guide

To obtain a District hotspot please place a request with your student's instructors, the Instructor will request the reservation for a hotspot for families and communicate with parents to organize pickup.

  1. Plug in your hotspot, please use the provided charger.  We recommend that you keep the hotspot plugged in when possible.
  2. After plugging in, hold down the power button for about 3 seconds to power on the hotspot.
  3. Next, you will see T-Mobile on the hotspot screen. Press the power button repeatedly until you see the words Wi-Fi Name on the screen. Write down the name you see, you will need it later. As an example the name will look like this ‘Franklin T9 9346’.
  4. Next, press the power button again until you see the word Password on the screen.  Write the password down.
  5. To connect your student's learning device to the hotspot -
      • View the available network connections on your device and connect to the ‘Franklin T9 xxxx’ network that corresponds with the Wi-Fi name of your hotspot.
      • You will then be prompted to enter the noted password for the hotspot WiFi.
      • if applicable, there will be a checkbox enabling the device to 'connect automatically' checkmark that box and the device will remember these credentials avoiding re-entering every time you want to use the internet. 
      • District recommends connecting up to approximately five devices at a time,
      • During video conferencing - Close the MyApps webpage this will help with video interference,
      • When charging, keep devices near room temperature,
      • Never leave the hotspot in an unattended vehicle due to uncontrolled temperatures,
      • Hotspot may get warm during usage; place in a well ventilated area and use caution when handling.

Notes: Hotspot cycle end date/data overage display messages

The T-Mobile hotspot may display a cycle end date or data allowance has run out.  The District hotspots are on an unlimited plan. T-Mobile does not have a mechanism for disabling these messages. The messages do not mean the hotspot will stop working.

Troubleshooting:  If the device menus are unresponsive, or the hotspot isn't functioning, you can perform resets. Please be aware sometimes you may need to complete these resets more than once to get the hotspot functioning again.

A Master Reset restores the original factory settings and reboots.

  1. Turn the device on.
  2. Remove the back cover and locate the Reset Button.
      • To remove the back cover there is a slight indent on a side of the device,
      • see the pic with the device back cover lifted to be removed,mceclip0.png   

A Hard Reset resets the hardware in the device.

    1. While the hotspot is plugged in - remove the cover,
    2. Remove the battery, 
    3. While the battery is out, unplug the device from power.
    4. Wait 30-60 seconds,
    5. With the device still unplugged, re-install that battery,
    6. Then plug power back in.
    7. Press the Reset Button for 3 seconds and release. The device will reset and restart.
    8. Replace the cover.

Once operating - push the power off button to allow for Firmware updates. It may take 30-60 seconds. Then push the power button about 3 seconds to re-power.

Additional Troubleshooting steps

Mobile Hotspot

The icon which shows 4 vertical bars is the one that represents cellular signal where as the one which is shaped more like a baseball field, is for WiFi.  If you have less than 4 bars of cellular strength showing on the hotspot, try moving the hotspot to a window or another location where it may get a better signal.

Keep the Mobile Hotspot within about 10 feet of the laptop.  These really are designed to have on the table in front of you at the coffee shop, not 20+ feet away or in another room.

If the student is using a District hotspot and is able to connect to a modem or cellphone hotspot try resetting the District Hotspot as listed above.  

Home DSL or Cable Internet

If the DSL or Cable modem is in the same room as the student, 5G connections work great.  If it's in another room, use the 2G.  For example in the list of available Wi-Fi you may see something like CenturyLink5161-5G and CenturyLink5161-2G.   5G does not go around corners or through walls very well, 2G does much better.

If the students are getting kicked from meets daily, it is very possible this could be related to the home internet connection. If the internet connection drops even briefly, Google Meets sees that the same way if the instructor kicked the student from the class and it will not let them rejoin the meeting without a new invite.

The older DSL cabling in the neighborhoods around Boise can have issues especially if there is rain or melting snow on the ground.

If the household is on a lower level DSL or Cable internet level, say 20mbps, we suggest not streaming anything else such as TV, YouTube or movies at the same time as the meet to reduce interruption.

Some Internet Service Providers and aftermarket router/access point manufacturers by default will put a limit on the number of devices that can connect to a wireless connection in homes at one time or have a data use CAP.  For example: if the number of connections allowed setting is set to 7.  You have 2 phones, 2 tablets, an Alexa, an X-Box and your one TV (or more), and a couple of cameras.  

That is 9 devices.  Even if the Xbox and TV are off, or the tablets are not on the network connection may stay active even if you have the wireless set up with some devices using 5G or 2G .  Any devices over 7 including school Chromebooks may connect but will get kicked off of your network frequently. 

Have the students try a different wireless source: hotspot instead of modem or vice versa, one they are not already using one such as a personal cell phone temporarily while you are testing connection to determine if it is the wireless or the device. 

If you can connect to the hotspot with a different device try resetting the device, District Chromebook or iPad Reset

As a last resort, if the students are using the same device that they were originally assigned, they can trade it in for a different unit to see if the problem persists.  If this is the 2nd or 3rd device that has been assigned due to the same problem, then, they can try a different wireless source.  The District has ordered additional hotspots but do not currently have stock or check to see if their internet provider can monitor their lines for stability.

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