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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, New Connection Provisioning - Advice Needed in Technical; Hello, I need some advice on how you guys have your site connected to the internet. Before I go ahead ...
  1. #1

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    Lightbulb New Connection Provisioning - Advice Needed

    Hello,

    I need some advice on how you guys have your site connected to the internet. Before I go ahead and let you know what my "great idea" is, let me give you some history....

    Our current internet connection is provided by Liverpool Direct Limited (an offshoot of the council). We are connected to their network via a Virgin Media 10meg SDSL. Our onsite Forefront TMG server connects to an upstream server at LDL (Liverpool Direct Limited). This provides internet connections for all 330 devices on site. The content filtering is done in the could by Cisco ScanSafe. I am pretty happy with ScanSafe and it performs well. We have an Exchange Server which has been issued a publishing rule from LDL and can therefore be seen externally for use with OWA and Activesync. Other than that, we have no other internally hosted web services (at the moment).

    The reason I am considering changing providers, is because they are simply unable to offer us any additional bandwidth. LDL supply internet connections to many schools in the Liverpool area, but their core network is only 130meg. This means that the entire 130meg is shared between all of their customers. I have spoken to them in depth about their plans to increase the capacity of their network, but they have said that any changes could be years away. I am under increasing pressure to try and provide my school with the bandwidth they need to use services such as youtube, vimeo and other streaming media is the classroom. Also with the addition of a guest wifi network, our net connection is going to be put under even more strain.

    So I have decided to post in here to get an idea of how you guys have provisioned your net connections. I was wondering if any of you have experience of using an FTTC connection (BT Infinity Business) and Smoothwall for your content filtering? I personally don't consider FTTC to be a robust solution but with the "bang for buck" it's becoming pretty difficult to ignore. If I could stay with my current supplier but have the bandwidth increased then I would, as the service they offer is great. I'm in a pretty tricky position and as always, SLT want a rock solid fast net connection, but they want it as cheap as possible (sound familiar?).

    Any suggestions or examples of how you have your setup configured would be really appreciated. Any advice is also welcome.

    Thanks!

    Sven.
    Last edited by sven; 27th March 2013 at 04:09 PM.

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    Hi @sven

    FTTC = poor SLA and no guaranteed speeds

    Leased line = 1:1 contention ratio, dedicated SLA and speeds as fast as you want / can pay for.

    For a school of your size I'd always recommend a leased line over FTTC. I'll send you a PM.

    Thanks

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by SchoolsBroadband View Post
    Hi @sven

    FTTC = poor SLA and no guaranteed speeds

    Leased line = 1:1 contention ratio, dedicated SLA and speeds as fast as you want / can pay for.

    For a school of your size I'd always recommend a leased line over FTTC. I'll send you a PM.

    Thanks

    Dave
    Yeah, I'm aware of SLA, contention etc. One of the biggest hurdles I have is price. The SLT want to pay no more than £4k a year for everything (including the actual line itself, filtering etc). I have repeatedly told them that in order to get the level of service they are wanting, they are going to have to throw money at the situation. It falls on deaf ears. All the leased lines I've looked at are way out of our budget (obviously) and it's pointless moving from our current supplier unless we can beat 10meg. I'm in a really tough place, because nobody seems to understand how much it actually costs to run a network. They want an all singing all dancing set of services at minimal cost. It's really frustrating.
    Last edited by sven; 27th March 2013 at 09:50 PM.

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    Get quotes and show them the real cost, you cannot do anymore than that. You will have the proof and then tell them ball is in their court.

  5. Thanks to MatthewL from:

    sven (28th March 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewL View Post
    Get quotes and show them the real cost, you cannot do anymore than that. You will have the proof and then tell them ball is in their court.

    Yup, this is exactly what I'm doing. It's one of those situations where they get a home connection for £x a month and they think the same applies to business class connections serving 300+ workstations.

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    Feel your pain on this one, wanting it all for nothing.

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    You could load balance cheap connections to get good capacity. The SLA is what is missing. Why not keep the leased line for mission critical feed and load balance extra capacity on cheap non guaranteed dsl lines?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sven View Post
    They want an all singing all dancing set of services at minimal cost. It's really frustrating.
    Draw their attention to RFC1925, Point 7a...

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    Sometimes IT departments struggle to explain themselves in a way that management can relate to.

    I would flip it round, sit with management and ask for clarification.

    First look at what you have. If your TMG box goes on the fritz or you lose a core switch, how soon will you be back up and running in reality?
    What is the SLA with LDL?
    Are you using traffic shaping or QOS to get tbe best from existing line?
    Would a proxy that can cache youtube help?

    What are management trying to achieve?
    How much downtime is acceptable on the internet connection?
    Why do they think that the budget set is enough?
    Is CAPEX or OPEX the issue - can they find more money?
    Do they know of other schools using a solution that delivers what they require at the stated budget?
    Do they know any providers selling the required solution at the stated budget?

    You are all part of the same team and all you want is a solution that adds value in the classroom. No added value in the classroom - no need to spend the money.

    IT often ends up in an adversarial relationship with end users through poor communication.

  11. Thanks to geezersoft from:

    pcstru (29th March 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by geezersoft View Post
    IT often ends up in an adversarial relationship with end users through poor communication.
    Good post. I'd add - most 'arguments' arise through miscommunication - often both parties even use the same words, they just think they mean different things.

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