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What Is the Difference Between the Airtame 2 and InstaShow WDC20E?

  • BenQ
  • 2021-03-11

Wireless presentation systems for classroom screen mirroring are the fastest-growing segment of the market. While some IT managers experiment with low-cost solutions like Chromecast and Miracast based systems, they are not designed for use in classroom. Both the $699 InstaShow WDC20E and $399 Airtame 2 are popular wireless screen mirroring systems that are often considered for educational environments. So how do these two popular systems stack up in areas that matter most for teachers and IT managers?

 

To compare these systems, let us look at the most asked questions from school IT managers supporting the system and teachers who use them in classrooms.

How Much Bandwidth Burden Is There?

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

The InstaShow WDC20E is the first major classroom wireless presentation system designed to operate without using the schools networking resources. The buttons communicate to the receiver on its own closed network – enabling up to four different students or sources to mirror their screen at the same time – without adding any burden to the school network. There is no need to configure or modify ports on your school network, adjust your quality of service, or add additional servers. Testing by the publication My Tech Decisions indicated it took only a few minutes to install. The system also comes with free central management software to enable IT managers to connect and control the devices using BenQ’s Device Management software.  

Airtame 2

The AirTame2 system uses the school's WiFi network to transmit the video to the AirTame2 device. While the AirTame2 can be set up on a standalone basis, the hubs are usually integrated into the school network according to the network integration guide. AirTame2 recommends an excess of bandwidth or Quality of Service (QoS) adjustments to handle the increased traffic load, requires Multicast to be active, an NTP server be installed, and a stable peak hour ping time performance of less than 10ms.

So how much bandwidth does the device use per classroom? Each Airtame2 receiver can use up as much as 13 Mbps of bandwidth when running 1080p video.

Network Usage & Setup Comparison

Here is a summary of how these two systems stack up for ease of setup and installation

 

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

Airtame 2

 

Classroom Screen Mirroring

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

Does not burden the school network for wireless screen mirroring

Airtame 2

Typically uses the school network per Network Integration Guide for wireless screen mirroring

 

Maximum School Network Bandwidth Usage

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

None

Airtame 2

Up to 13 Mbps per receiver

 

Network Requirements

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

None

Airtame 2

1. Client Isolation disabled on the network

2. Multicast must be allowed

3. NTP server must be accessible

4. RSSI Performance: less than 60dbm

5. Stable Peak Hour Ping Time performance of less than 10ms

6. Quality of Service priority recommended

 

Centralized Management Software

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

None needed

Airtame 2

• Lite Support - Free

• Plus Support - $10/yr per device

• Custom Pricing – 20+ seats

Does the System Require an Application to Be Loaded on a Teachers Notebook?

According to CNBC, the usage of Chromebooks in classrooms is rapidly growing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  So how do the Airtame 2 and BenQ InstaShow WDC20E handle Chromebooks?   

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

The InstaShow WDC20E button is unique in that it will connect to the HDMI output of any Chromebook, enabling full performance and functionality with the simple tap of a button.   No app or network connection is needed, Just plug-in, tap, and you can stream up to 60fps video on the display. The InstaShow will also support up to four different Chromebooks sharing the same display – making wireless classroom collaboration a breeze.

Airtame 2

Airtame uses an app on the Chromebook to wirelessly mirror the Chromebook screen to the receiver.  One drawback of this approach is that the performance of the system is dependent not only on the network bandwidth available – but also on the Chromebook itself. The performance of the Airtame2 system can be reduced if the Chromebook has a less expensive processor, or doesn’t have a lot of RAM. Schools should take these factors into consideration when choosing their Chromebooks if they are planning on deploying the Airtame2 system.  

Does It Work With Chromebook and Other Classroom Devices?

According to CNBC, the usage of Chromebooks in classrooms is rapidly growing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. So how do the Airtame2 and BenQ InstaShow WDC20E handle Chromebooks?   

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

The InstaShow WDC20E is designed for any teacher to intuitively use without training.  The teacher simply plugs in an InstaShow button into whatever device they want to mirror, then taps the green circle to present. Each receiver will support up to four different sources on the screen at the same time. This app-free design also makes it easy for other users, such as guest speakers, to use the system without having to download any additional software. Mobile users can also connect using Miracast or Apple Airplay.

Airtame 2

The AirTame2 utilizes a series of apps to enable a device to find and connect to the Airtame receiver on the display. Available for Windows, macOS, Linux and Chromebook. The app has menu’s for the IT department or a teacher to login to their network, select the receiver, and adjust paramaters such as lowering the resolution or turning off the sound. Because many IT departments “lock down” notebooks to prevent the user loading an unauthorized app, Airtame also has a Windows version for those without administration rights. Airtame can also use Miracast, Airplay, and Google Cast for mobile devices

How Secure Are These Systems to Protect the Network and Private Content?

In 2019, eight different wireless presentation systems were found to have significant security flaws. As a result, IT managers often look closely at how well wireless presentation systems protect the network, confidential student information, and sensitive research from being wireless recorded or stolen.  How do these systems compare?

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

The InstaShow WDC20E button is designed from the ground up for security. Every transmission from the buttons is encrypted and can operate independently from the campus network to minimize the threat from bridging. Also, since there is no app – IT managers don’t need to worry about cloned apps or hidden backdoors.  InstaShow has also been tested and certified for common threats, and checked out by some of the most influential security professionals. BenQ also provides a detailed security white paper to allow IT managers to check out how the system will protect their network.  BenQ is also has a ISO 27001 security certification.

Airtame 2

The Airtame 2 system has a number of security concerns. First, Airtame does not encrypt, or offer users the ability to encrypt any of the streams sent from the app to the receiver. Airtame does not have any detailed security white paper on the Airtame2 or the Airtame app security protection or strategy, and the company does not have ISO 27001 certification.

Summary

While the $399 price of the Airtame 2 is lower than the $699 BenQ there are is a significant difference in the features and performance between the two for use in the classroom.  Of course, you will need to make your own assessment on which one is right for your classrooms, but here is an overview of some of the major differences between the two products. 

Here is a comparison of the security criteria for each product.

Product

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

Airtame 2

Product

Primary Connection Type

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

HDMI / USB-C Button Connection

Airtame 2

Airtame App

Product

Support for Non-PC devices such as document cameras, microscopes & media players

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

Yes

Airtame 2

No

Product

Video performance

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

Up to 60 frames per second

Airtame 2

Up to 30 frames per second with proper network bandwidth

Product

Split Screen

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

Yes – up to four different sources

Airtame 2

No

Product

Touchback

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

Yes – via USB

Airtame 2

Limited –

Miracast only

Product

Maximum Resolution

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

Up to 4K resolution

Airtame 2

Up to 1080p

Product

Wireless encryption to keep sensitive content safe

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

Yes – 128bit

Airtame 2

No

Product

Centralized Management Software

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E

Yes – Free

Airtame 2

Yes – up to $10 per unit extra cost