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General Chat Thread, "if you can't work with them, work round them" in General; bypassed the LEA provided internet connection? Yes temporarily. doubling connections is against our terms of connection tho'. implemented your own ...
  1. #16
    mark's Avatar
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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    bypassed the LEA provided internet connection? Yes temporarily. doubling connections is against our terms of connection tho'.

    implemented your own broadband connection with a "proper" ISP? No

    In our rural area schools like ourselves could benefit where smaller, more remote schools would suffer - we are a collective, we are powys.

    LEA preventing you from installing your own connection? No

  2. #17

    russdev's Avatar
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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff
    Well, it'd be perfectly possible to route traffic bound for NEN/whatever domain down the LEA connection and then everything else via your generic ISP connection. Go read the squid manual and look up 'cache_peer_domain'.
    One thing the general feeling is to move towards this idea of students own learning once the national single sign on comes online. I think there will be a move towards rbcs connections require students to 'login' into to access the nen and in turn access the internet on a rbc..

    If you move away from rbc you have to provide same or better service and proof it.

    So there lots of issues here and not one to take lightly..

    Russ

  3. #18

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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    What protocols will be involved with SSO? As I explained if it's anything over HTTP its nothing you can't tackle with Squid ACLs.

    If it is more than that, then it's a simple IP routing problem.

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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    We have been using our own ADSL connection (seperate from the LEA connection) for the past year. We originally used Easynet ADSL (2mbit) which is linked to the NEN and provides filtering for schools (for an extra cost)

    We have just migrated away however since it was too expensive (£1300 per year) to Nildram. We now have 8mbit down and 832kps up on the business package, which costs around £750 a year. Speed is excellent.
    Our County connection is supposedly 10mbit, but Nildram is faster (go figure)

    This allows us to provide a proper VPN connection for staff, host our own exchange email, staff do not however use it for browsing as it has no filtering on it.

    If we could dump the rip-off county connection, we would do it tomorrow.
    We are locked into some RBC contract however. The County have no problem with us using an ADSL connection for VPN, we were in fact advised by the county to do this, if we wanted to allow VPN access (they have no plans to implement this until 2009)

  5. #20


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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    Can someone explain what the NEN is for.
    I was under the impression the plan was going towards shibboleth authentication _ so what do we get from the national education network that couldnt be provided alternatively.

  6. #21
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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    Quote Originally Posted by klawd
    We have just migrated away however since it was too expensive (£1300 per year) to Nildram. We now have 8mbit down and 832kps up on the business package, which costs around £750 a year. Speed is excellent.
    Hold on a second!! How much? is that all?! *looks at Nildrams website*... ... Oh my well that is a turn up for the books...

    The schools I'm working with are being charged £4k (this year, next year it's supposed to go to £6k!) for a 2mbit synchronous connection and it is anything but reliable given that it uses a wireless signal through MLL telecom who are still trying to convince us that it's better than an ADSL line which stays up regardless of weather or wet leaves/trees.

    I think you've just provided my head with the arguement he needed to cut his bill with the LEA...

  7. #22

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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    I would just keep an eye on Nilly as they are just starting to introduce Traffic Shaping, they have not announced it yet unless pushed for the info, and it has been rumered to be going on the business products as well as home stuff. But I do like them as an ISP, but I do also like Freedom2Surf, use them myself, and use them at work, very good service from them.

  8. #23


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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    Quite a few SmoothWall customers have taken the "split from LEA route" with a good success rate. LEA connections will have to become more competitive, surely?

    One problem we have encountered with LEA connections is a "one-size fits all" filtering policy, though having said that, some LEAs do seem to be making reasonable efforts to get things right. Hasn't it always been the way that some are better than others though?

  9. #24

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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    Speed isn't everything with RBC connections. Remember that if you leave your RBC there are many services that you would lose or would have to implement yourself.

    For instance:
    * Access to NEN - this is a biggy and is something you will need (I believe some ISPs can offer this though)
    * Filtering - if you don't already have a solution there will likely be some cost involved in setting this up (even if it's some cheap hardware and an open source solution)
    * E-mail - this may be provided by your RBC so that's more hardware and maintenance required
    * VLE - some RBCs provide these
    * Remote access - RBCs can provide reverse proxies and help with VPNs
    * Web space - this can cost too you know
    * Video conferencing gateway
    *... th list goes on

    The above list isn't exhaustive but it proves my point that your money doesn't simply pay for a broadband link.

    I'm not completely advocating the use of an RBC as I know that some suck and simply don't provide all the services that some schools require.

  10. #25


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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    The reason many of us set up these aforementioned services is because the solutions offered by RBC's is often too restictive, under speced and a generally poor service. Precisely the reason the 'one solution fits all' strategy of BSF outsoursing doesn't work

  11. #26

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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    I am presently moving *to* an RBC ... and yes, there have been a number of issues ... but I have sat down with the provider and we are thrashing them out. I know this is not always the case but I would be interested to here what the response has been from RBCs when other schools have approached them and said "actually ... we want to do it *this* way".

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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_
    Speed isn't everything with RBC connections. Remember that if you leave your RBC there are many services that you would lose or would have to implement yourself.

    For instance:
    * Access to NEN - this is a biggy and is something you will need (I believe some ISPs can offer this though)
    * Filtering - if you don't already have a solution there will likely be some cost involved in setting this up (even if it's some cheap hardware and an open source solution)
    * E-mail - this may be provided by your RBC so that's more hardware and maintenance required
    * VLE - some RBCs provide these
    * Remote access - RBCs can provide reverse proxies and help with VPNs
    * Web space - this can cost too you know
    * Video conferencing gateway
    *... th list goes on

    The above list isn't exhaustive but it proves my point that your money doesn't simply pay for a broadband link.

    I'm not completely advocating the use of an RBC as I know that some suck and simply don't provide all the services that some schools require.
    I agree with you on some of these. However, things such as the VLE are (in our case) hosted by a seperate company, accessable from any internet connection. Who we use for internet access is irrelevant.

    The biggest potential benefit I can see, is that being on the same WAN, we should be able to get LAN speeds to and from this "educational network". But in our case (and all schools in the same county I have spoken to...) this is limited to 10mb - our usual upstream.

    We get no benefits of being able to access any such "NEN". No teaching staff here have ever heard of it, much less require access to it.

    The only benefit I can see that we get, is that County can provide remote support for admin over the RBC connection. Even this could be done using RDP and VPN if they really wanted to.

    I am presently moving *to* an RBC ... and yes, there have been a number of issues ... but I have sat down with the provider and we are thrashing them out. I know this is not always the case but I would be interested to here what the response has been from RBCs when other schools have approached them and said "actually ... we want to do it *this* way".
    Like talking to a brick wall. They have been deliberately obstructive and unhelpful. We went ahead and did it anyway. We had a dire connection up until recently, and if we were not locked into a RBC contract for the foreseeable future, then we would have kicked them into touch months ago. Everyone blaming each other when there was a problem, ridiculously restrictive firewall, no access to router, no VPN access, unwilling to even discuss opening ports or reconfiguration. Massive downtime.....yada yada

    We are a hub providing access to other schools via our RBC connection, we used that as leverage. They turn a blind eye to how we manage our internet connection and services, and in return we make sure nothing bad happens to the their router. Seems to work well.

    We are able to run a good system, (Exchange,Web hosting, VPN), and can run it with far less downtime, and faster speed to go with it.

  13. #28


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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    Quote Originally Posted by klawd
    Like talking to a brick wall. They have been deliberately obstructive and unhelpful. We went ahead and did it anyway. We had a dire connection up until recently, and if we were not locked into a RBC contract for the foreseeable future, then we would have kicked them into touch months ago. Everyone blaming each other when there was a problem, ridiculously restrictive firewall, no access to router, no VPN access, unwilling to even discuss opening ports or reconfiguration. Massive downtime.....yada yada
    Sounds very familar.


    Just been to a meeting with our RBC and affiliates. Amongst the *great* suggestions by them were;

    Setting the router up to block ALL http traffic apart from from the proxy (which is unbelevably crap). I had to explain that it wouldnt work as quite alot of software wants registering over the net and doesnt support going through autenticating proxies.

    Securing switch ports so that they shutdown when another MAC address is detected on that port - ohh yeah great idea, especially when the kids work out that all they need to do is swap network cables round and they wont have to do any work. I could see reseting switches becoming a full time job.

    These people are getting paid a hell of alot of money to think up ideas, the vast majority being picked apart by us lowely technicians.

    To cut it short - ours dont understand that they are providing a service for schools, and schools have kids, and kids dont always do as they are told.

  14. #29

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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    We pay somewhere in the region fo £20k - 25k for our 8mbit Internet connection which is a county wide vpn.

    Trouble is all the Teachers care about is "is the Internet working?"

    Ben

  15. #30

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    Re: "if you can't work with them, work round them"

    Quote Originally Posted by plexer
    We pay somewhere in the region fo £20k - 25k for our 8mbit Internet connection which is a county wide vpn.

    Trouble is all the Teachers care about is "is the Internet working?"

    Ben
    "No ... the Americans have turned it off today so they can clean the seaweed out of the pipes that go under the Atlantic Ocean ... why do you think it has been so slow recently?"

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