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Hardware Thread, School broadband/leased line in Technical; Firstly, not sure if this is in the right section of the forum but I didn't know where else to ...
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    SBM
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    School broadband/leased line

    Firstly, not sure if this is in the right section of the forum but I didn't know where else to place it.

    I am starting to look around at coming out of our LEA's broadband service to our school. I need to give 6 months notice to the end of contract, so need to have a decision in place by September.

    We are a small school, approx 120 children on site with about 100 staff. We are a special school and as such the internet is not used extensively. At most, we will have no more than 20 users on it at any one time. (At the moment, we only have 40 class computers and a further 10 office/staff room machines - most of the children who use the computers work from local programs and do not extensively utilise the internet).

    We currently pay some 6500 per year for the Broadband SLA.

    I've obtained some quotes for a 10Mb leased line for about 5k per year. 20Mb would be 5.5k per year.

    However, and please excuse my ignorance here, but is there any reason I could ditch a leased line all together and go with a business 'unlimited' regular broadband account? We're close to the exchange which is FTTC enabled, so I should be able to receive 20Mbps on a "regular" broadband connection which would cost me less than 500 a year!

    Am I missing anything obvious?

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    In theory this is nothing stopping you going for a regular broadband account if it meets your needs.

    If you are looking to move away from the LEA what else do they provide i.e. filtering, hosted email and anything else hosted.

    Check what they provide and make sure you are able to do all if you move. Also do you host any websites, VLE or email in house, take this into consideration. Always plan for more than what you will use, not sure what the rule of thumb is how much extra but build that in.

    If VirginMedia is available check them out for packages they do some good ones, maybe be better than FTTC but I'm not sure what is out there at present.

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    The contention ratio, I imagine. With regular ADSL broadband, you'll have more than one endpoint user sharing a particular line back to the exchange. This can affect the actual speed you get. With a leased line, the ratio is 1:1 (no contention), meaning you'll always have the bandwidth quoted.

    Example:
    100 users on a nominal 2Mbit/s connection, all sharing a 50Mbit/s connection back to the exchange (this has a contention ratio of 4:1). If more than 25 users try to max out their 2Mbps connection at once, you'll get congestion, and users will not see the full 2Mbps bandwidth quoted.
    Last edited by FishCustard; 15th June 2013 at 08:29 PM.

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    It also depends if you are hosting your own services as you will want static IP's, I am sure you can get them but the upload speed will be much more limited. I guess it will depend upon load you put on the line as to whether it is suitable.

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    Thanks

    They provide filtering and email.

    Our website hosting is outsourced, and I've already taken control of our domain so we can move away from the LEA's email service. We can manage filtering in house fairly easily and I'm no fan of their existing filtering which constantly gives me a headache (Edugeek is blocked, for example, and despite a request to have it unblocked it's been 2 weeks and I've not heard back).

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    Have you looked into BT Infinity?

    Filtering. This is the big one. You'll need a box (pick one) and presumably a licence to keep it upgraded.

    Don't pay 6500 a year if you don't have to (I'm looking at the same thing).

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    I would also recommend you have a look at the guide about choosing broadband and services which is linked from the Northants CC site.
    Broadband connectivity and services - Northamptonshire County Council
    It is designed to help schools make an informed choice and had input from a number of members of EG who operate in Northants.

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