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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, "Spare" ADSL Line in Technical; Something went pop at BT last week, meaning we were without our Internet connection from Thursday evening until Monday lunchtime ...
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    enjay's Avatar
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    "Spare" ADSL Line

    Something went pop at BT last week, meaning we were without our Internet connection from Thursday evening until Monday lunchtime - this got me thinking about the merits of having a second line in place to use in such circumstances. Should we get something totally non-BT related, e.g. Virgin cable, or would a different ADSL provider be sufficient?

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    I would go down the cable route for another line. Something happens to say the post outside that feeds your school it will take down both connections.

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    Whatever you get you must make sure that it takes a totally different route to your site. More than once I've been on a site that's had it's main net connection taken out by some building work and everyone wonder why the backup didn't kick. Until I point out it runs down the same ducting that got run over by the JCB as the main fibre.

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    I agree - a totally different provider and connection. Otherwise as FN-GM mentioned above, you could have two BT lines down as they'd be fed from the same local exchange most likely.

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    The problem with other providers is that they're still using BT phone lines. Cable is your only option realistically.

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    The ideal solution is to get something complete separate. Our backup line is in a different building, but does feed back to the same street cabinet. That said, one is FTCC, the other is ADSL, and on different ISPs. As of yet, we've not lost both at the same time even when there was a problem at the exchange.

    Having it in a separate building also means that if the worst happens and the server room burns down, we can have something up and running very quickly. I suspect we've all experienced the agonising wait of how long a brand new DSL line can take to be provisioned.
    Last edited by AngryTechnician; 4th December 2012 at 10:05 AM.

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    zag
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    We have a 100mbit fiber line + 80mbit Infinity line as a backup. We keep both routers online all the time and its easy to switch over the IP addresses at any time.

    Recently we also got a talk talk adsl line that is used for our guest wireless system which could be used in an emergency.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryTechnician View Post
    That said, one is FTCC, the other is ADSL, and on different ISPs. As of yet, we've not lost both at the same time even when there was a problem at the exchange.
    That was my thinking too. A cable line following a completely different route would be preferable for all the reasons above, but as you say, short of a digger going through our cable the chances of an FTTC connection and an ADSL connection both being affected are quite small. The upheaval would be less too, as we could use our existing phone lines rather than have to dig anything up to lay new cables.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    We keep both routers online all the time and its easy to switch over the IP addresses at any time.
    Why keep them both powered up and swap IPs? Would it not be easier to have both of them using the same internal IP address and then just connect the LAN to whichever you wanted to use, that way the clients would connect immediately?
    Last edited by enjay; 4th December 2012 at 10:13 AM.

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    To be honest, I think it does staff and pupils good to realise that the technology is fallible and to get them to resort to Plan B. If the internet goes down here I'll tether a laptop to a phone for the Office Manager to access emails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer View Post
    To be honest, I think it does staff and pupils good to realise that the technology is fallible and to get them to resort to Plan B. If the internet goes down here I'll tether a laptop to a phone for the Office Manager to access emails.
    I disagree. I don't think teachers should be required to plan a backup lesson/activity every time they include a web resource in their lesson. Also, there are some things for which an Internet connection is essential and the lack of it could have a significant impact - paid-for online training, times where pupils have been removed from class in a pre-agreed lesson to complete online assessments, visiting speakers in assemblies, etc. Plus, our email, calendars and home-school communication are all web-based, so we have a greater reliance on Internet connectivity than some schools might.

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    zag
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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    Why keep them both powered up and swap IPs? Would it not be easier to have both of them using the same internal IP address and then just connect the LAN to whichever you wanted to use, that way the clients would connect immediately?
    Never thought of it like that, but yeh that sounds sensible too.

    I've only needed it once and by the time I'd walked up to the server room and plugged it in the Fiber line was back up

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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    I disagree. I don't think teachers should be required to plan a backup lesson/activity every time they include a web resource in their lesson. Also, there are some things for which an Internet connection is essential and the lack of it could have a significant impact - paid-for online training, times where pupils have been removed from class in a pre-agreed lesson to complete online assessments, visiting speakers in assemblies, etc. Plus, our email, calendars and home-school communication are all web-based, so we have a greater reliance on Internet connectivity than some schools might.
    And where's this reliance going to lead us? We are already at a stage where transport and commerce collapses when the computer system goes down. It's all going to go pear-shaped one day and it's the people living in mud huts who will survive.

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    Yes, you have to look at the system as a whole. Not just one bit. What's the point of have fail over on your Internet connectivity if you don't have redundancy in your core network or server infrastructure? What about underlying supporting systems like power and air con for example?

    If you take this to the Nth degree you end up with a very large price tag attached to it and you need to ask yourself if it's really worth the time, effort and expense? Granted if your running a hospital or a stock exchange then yes it probably is. In your average school? No I think your standard disaster recovery is sufficient.

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    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer View Post
    And where's this reliance going to lead us? We are already at a stage where transport and commerce collapses when the computer system goes down. It's all going to go pear-shaped one day and it's the people living in mud huts who will survive.
    I think that IT systems are like lights and heating - things which staff should be able to rely on being present. You don't expect teachers to prepare lessons which can be taught in the dark just in case the lights go out, nor do you expect them to prepare lessons which children can do despite wearing gloves because the boiler is off. By the same measure, in today's world, they should be able to plan a lesson expecting that they will have the Internet.

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