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Moving away from LEA supplied Broadband

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, 16th March 2011 at 02:47 PM (8722 Views)
So we are now an academy and I've been looking at the future of the LEA supplied broadband service that we have been using for the last five years. The only advantage I can think of keeping it is that everything is bundled and to be fair it does work. But with the advances in video and multimedia on the internet such as iPlayer and YouTube we are consistently reaching our capacity so its time to look at our options.

Disadvantages of current LEA supplied Broadband
- Slow 10/10mbit fiber link
- Very expensive after the harnessing technologies grant has gone the council want to charge us treble the amount it used to cost
- Managed firewall is difficult and bureaucratic to change
- Central backbone seems limited (we share it with 40 other schools)
- Cache pilot filtering (which in my opinion is very poor slow technology)
- Inability to chop and change services

I went and got a few quotes from various suppliers for full fiber lines right down to cable and VDSL technologies.

Currently we are evaluating BT Infinity VDSL connection.

I just got a new telephone line installed in the school for 100 quid and ordered BT business infinity, it costs £55 a month with 8 IP addresses. Very happy with it so far but it remains to be seen if it can service the whole school over the next couple of years.

Speed test for the new BT "infinity" Connection.

Compare that to our current Easynet LEA supplied line

Speed test for the old Easynet LEA connection.

The new connection is clearly faster both in response times and raw speed.

As far as testing goes I just set the router up disabling the wireless and DHCP options. Then I gave it an ip that is just 1 different to our current router. I then change a client PC to use the new IP as a gateway and everything worked smoothly without needing to change any other network settings. The new connection is noticeably faster than our current 10mbit fiber line which is not really surprising since its 3x the speed and has no filtering at the moment.

One other thing I am going to do is move to Live@edu for our email hosting. This means I don't have to mess around with Exchange server or MX records any more. But internet speed and reliability will be key to the success of this hence why I'm looking into it now.

So in summary we can get a quicker, easier to manage and hopefully more future proof line installed for the fraction of the cost of our LEA supplied services. I think we're going to go for it.

Updated 16th March 2011 at 02:49 PM by zag



  1. saihaynes's Avatar
    Interesting, let me know how you get no also looking at moving away from the LEA/Grid

  2. CAM's Avatar
    Bear in mind LA services will be more then just supplying you with capacity. The grid I am connected to offers the following:

    - Web Filtering
    - Redundancy for reliability (both seperate line and seperate power supplies, both of which have been used recently!)
    - Connection to the LA IT Support Intranet which in turn has a lot of resources from upgrade notifications to e-Safety
    - 24/7 monitoring for connection failure
    - Attendance to the LA server farm within an hour on-call if something does go wrong
    - Access to VLE, Filtered and virus scanned Webmail, MIS Integration and other services

    If you change providers, can you supply the same things that your LA is supplying? Especially the on-call and redundancy sections.
  3. zag's Avatar
    Yeh they do offer more but in our situation is probably even more reason to move as we don't use many of their "extra" services

    - The VLE they supplied(netmedia) was awful and useless, no one ever used it as far as I know
    - The web filtering is poor and slow (I'd rather go for the best solution around, especially as I can't virtualize cachepilot right now)
    - The line monitoring is indeed good but we've had a fair few outages due to DNS servers going down, or router problems. In essence all it really means is the provider talk to the LA first instead of me being able to do it.
    - Email virus scanning seems inconsistent and I would rather have more control over the process, with office 365 that should be out of my hands anyway, but in a good way
    - I have no interest in the LA intranet anymore, it just made things harder to find from my experience
  4. Edinlondon's Avatar
    I'm guessing your not in London. The RBC there (London Grid For Learning) seems to be the only one in that region with their act together. Good prices and services.

    If you do go alone. Make sure you are capable of managing both your network and connection. I've seen plenty of schools connections ruined by network admins not quite knowing enough to do the job properly.


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