Looking for advice on best configuration for schools

We are working in Kasama, Zambia Primary Schools. I have some schools testing Rachel on Raspberry PI 3s. At the moment there are two main issues, getting the teachers to use them, a training issue, and having enough devices for the learners.

We are working on the teacher training, but one of the real issues is the Head Teachers are against the learners using cell phones in school to access Rachel. The schools have only a few laptops that we have provided and so we have been looking for a low-cost WiFi device for learner use.

My real question is long term. How to provide implement Rachel in the entire school of 30 learners per class and 6 to 10 classrooms. I am inclined to utilize a fast server for the software and extend to the classrooms with switches and Cat6 cable with WiFi WAP in the classrooms.

I am asking for any suggestions and examples of installations. Getting real Internet to some schools is possible but there is a cost and the current service is wireless at 1.4, old T1 speed.

Thanks for your help,

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Hi Ed, thanks for your questions! I think that @Peter_Nyumbu and @joseph_kachiliko, our volunteer country coordinators in Zambia, maybe have some ideas for you.

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Hi Ed,

For your current setup, a cost-effective wifi router would work, assuming your laptops have wifi capability. Your limitation then becomes resources on the Rachel Pi.

A more comprehensive solution would potentially be one of the following two options:

(1) Deploy a Rachel Plus for each classroom of 30+ (vs. Rachel Pi). Each class would connect to the local unit. Not however, student metrics on modules such as KA Lite and Kiwix would track accounts and progress on each separate unit.

(2) Rachel Pro server from World Possible (200-300 users). Run a network cable to an inexpensive cascading wifi router in each classroom (DHCP disabled on routers). Only 6-10 network cables). Use a common wifi router name and password. All students would have access in each classroom using the same credentials and the metrics for each student would be integrated in the Rachel Pro unit (not the case with a different Rachel access point in each classroom, as previously mentioned).


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Where can one find more information about this Rachel Pro server?

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Thanks for the reply. I did not see anything about a server serving beyond 50 users.

I have been looking at Internet-in-a-Box (IIAB) with Ubuntu 18.4 and loaded with Rachel Software. Probably need to look at stripped RAID SSD to get the read performance needed for a school of 300 to 500 devices (we have schools of 1,400 ~ 1,600 Learners).

The main issue is getting the devices. I am shopping around and am looking at Android 7-9 " Tablets running 20~40 USD in China for a device to do most of the requirement. Act as a textbook and reader, Browser for Rachel, with enough storage to hold the main textbooks on the device.

If you would like, I can keep this going as I try the options and work with the Head Teachers to find the best solutions.


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Hi Ed,
I’m just starting to deploy a number of RCA Voyager Pro units. They are a 7" tablet, but they come with a keyboard and use Android. They’re about $50 US from Walmart.

Steve, I’ve never heard of RACHEL Pro Server from World Possible. How much does it cost & where can you buy it?

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Hi Larry,

We are nearly done developing the Rachel Pro. I presume it will become available at our store within the next ~month. The Pro will be tiered depending upon the learner requirements. We are working to determine tiers of support, from hundreds to thousands of learners. As for cost, another part we are working on. However, I would expect the cost curve to be somewhat favorable (Pro vs multiple Plus in one location). In addition, the pro will have our new Advanced DHCP feature (enable/disable with local DHCP detection safeguards). So admin’s may employ DHCP services to assign client IPs and forgo router costs, or leave it disabled…


I am interested in your project. When I started looking for laptops for the schools in Zambia, I was thinking I could easily get 500 from the local Goodwill and pay for shipping to Zambia. Wrong.

One of the issues was getting permission from the Department of Commerce to ship technology out of the country. The final discussion via email with a very helpful person with the Department was, one, if we shipped any software installed on the hardware or not installed but shipped to install, we would need to pay an export fee. The second option was to ship the hardware without software and have the Zambians install with their own software, therefore we were shipping boat anchors without a boat, older used hardware without the ability to make it usable to the schools. It took me almost two months to get to the final decision.

The end result was to purchase Refurbished Dell laptops in China and ship to Kasama, Zambia. The final cost for Dell 630s’ was under $100.00 USD.

I did do some research on the Walmart Tablets. The reviews were not that good. I suggest you look at Alibaba.com. I have been looking at tablets that appear better at lower cost. If you are looking at buying in volume, the good sources will send you a sample to test.

Hope this helps,


Have you launched RACHEL Pro yet? I don’t see it in your online store.