Getting Connected

A primary goal of the Sugar learning platform is enabling students to learn and work together.

In a wireless environment, an access point (AP) is a device that allows your computer to connect to an existing set of communicating devices.  The access point usually has a direct connection to the Internet, and can relay data between the wireless devices and the devices it can access.

Multiple ways to connect to others

  • wireless access point (WiFi hotspot)
  • wired network—may require an external adapter
  • OLPC "School Server" mesh network
  • OLPC "simple" mesh network, which lets you collaborate directly with other Sugar users

Connecting through an access point

You can connect from the Neighborhood View. You can see information about the connection on the Frame.

Step 1: Go to the Neighborhood View


Go to the Neighborhood View to connect to an access point.

Tip: To access the Neighborhood View, click the Neighborhood Icon on the Frame or press the F1 key.

Step 2: Choose an access point


Circles represent Networks (access points) on the Neighborhood View. Hover over a circle to see more information about an access point. An access point broadcasts a name (ESSID) to identify itself. An OLPC laptop mesh-point—represented by a series of concentric circles—is identified by its channel number (1, 6, or 11). You can also search for an access point by name in the search bar at the top of the page. 

Note: If an access point is not broadcasting its name, the Neighborhood View may show that AP with some other name.

The fill level of a circle indicates the signal strength of its associated access point. The color of the circle is based upon the name of the access point. A lock icon identifies networks that are secured and require a key (passcode) to use. A star icon identifies access points that have been previously used (favorites).

Step 3: Activate a connection

To activate a network connection, click once inside the circle that corresponds to your chosen access point (or click the Connect option in the hover menu).

While the connection is being established, the inside of the circle blinks. Once the connection is established, the bottom edge of Frame contains an icon for it. If for some reason the connection fails, the circle stops blinking. Sometimes it is necessary to try several times before the connection is established.

If the access point is secured and requires a key, a dialog prompts you for the required information. Different access points may require different types of keys. Before entering the key, be sure to select the correct type from the pull-down menu that is presented.

Step 4: Checking the connection


A hover menu details the connection status.


You can check the status of your connection from the Frame (from any view). By hovering over the circle icon, you can find details about your connection status in a hover menu.

OLPC deployments

OLPC has designed a mesh network that allows XO laptops to communicate without the presence of the Internet and a School Server as a means to make their school network connectivity more efficient. The School Server also provides web and chat services.

Note to parents and teachers

Collaboration between learners is one of the most important features of Sugar. To enable collaboration in a classroom or home setting, it is necessary to establish the same type of connection for each computer.  Computers can be connected through a School Server, a simple mesh if they are OLPC XOs, or an access point.

When using an access point for the connection, the computers must all use the same Jabber server in order to collaborate. Please refer to the Sugar Control Panel discussion in the Personalizing Sugar chapter for details regarding the configuration of Jabber.

Additional hints

Neighborhood_key You make your connection from the Neighborhood View.
Your current connection status is shown on the Frame. Also, the hover menu on the access point icon indicates "Connected". It sometimes takes 2–3 tries to connect. To disconnect, select "Disconnect" from the hover menu that appears in either of the network status menus (See Step 4 above).
AP_level Circles represent access points. The fill level indicates signal strength.
lock_badge Access points that require keys have a lock icon. The color of the circle is calculated from the ESSID of the access point. The name of the access point is displayed when you hover over it.
favoraite_connection "Favorite" access points have a star.
AP_blink You connect by clicking the center of the circle. The center of the circle blinks while the laptop is trying to connect.
connected Once the connection is made, the icon is surrounded by parentheses.
Mesh_icon If you are using an OLPC XO computer, mesh points are represented by a series of concentric circles. The color of a mesh point is the same as your XO color. If your OLPC XO computer is "mesh enabled" and you have not connected to an AP, you are automatically joined to a simple mesh network, enabling you to collaborate with others in the mesh, but not necessarily to access the Internet.
Wireless_key_required You are prompted if the access point requires a key.