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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, Moving away from LEA Internet. in Technical; ...
  1. #1
    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    Moving away from LEA Internet.

    I did a search and only found one old thread.

    The reasons are simply that our current internet through the LEA is broken. We pay for 4MB and get three. It's unreliable and unresponsive and costs 2k+ per year. We are a Primary with 100 PC's.

    BT Business broadband is offering a 40/10mbs connection for £50 per month. Including tech support, static IP and guaranteed fix if it does not work. Netsurf offers filtering for £600 per year.

    I would like any thoughts about pitfalls and best practices. Also hardware needs. The BTbuisness bub looks to be a little suspect!

    I would not be considering this move if the current set up was not so appallingly bad. In the past year we have had multiple loss of service with the worst being 10 days. It is affecting teaching and is a constant source of frustration.

    All thoughts gratefully received!
    Last edited by ICT_GUY; 19th June 2013 at 03:43 PM.

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    Trapper's Avatar
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    Outside of the big city I'd consider your main concern to be filtering. Not really setting it up as Smoothwall is available, but selling it to your Govs and SLT that the responsibility is now on them. Any parent going to the press about insufficient filtering and you can't throw it back at the LEA.

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    pbainbridge's Avatar
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    Does your MIS send data back to the LEA (such as SIMS/ONE scenario)? If you do or send any sort of data back to the LEA securely through the current pipe then you'll have to consider how this can be done.

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    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    The sims issue has held us back before. I am not sure how to solve that particular issue. However the curriculum network is for teaching not the benefit of IT services :-P

    Filtering is an issue. I would be happier out sourcing it. The current filtering is erratic and slow. It also blocks random general sites and lets through unsuitable ones. But not in a consistent manner. Unfiltered also randomly blocks sites.


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    pbainbridge's Avatar
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    The SIMS export is just 2 xml files that can be encryped and sent weekly to the LEA, it'll be a ball ache for whoever has to do it though (usually IT!). Filtering and reporting is always the issue, I suppose you can just ask on the forums for suggestions.

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    john's Avatar
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    There was a good link provided by @GrumbleDook this week to a pack of info about looking for alternative ISPs and is available online if you have a search on here you will find it. Its a good document that has lots of useful bits of info in it to help give you things to look at and think about.

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    GrumbleDook (20th June 2013), ICT_GUY (19th June 2013), tmcd35 (20th June 2013)

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    The toolkit involved was courtesy of the Schools Broadband Working Group in Northants, available here : Broadband | The Duston School . Some of it may be specific to Northamptonshire however the majority of information is common good practice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    The toolkit involved was courtesy of the Schools Broadband Working Group in Northants, available here : Broadband | The Duston School . Some of it may be specific to Northamptonshire however the majority of information is common good practice.
    Yes it was a good document. Perhaps a bit too much for primary schools though as some of its quite technical.

    If you really know what you're doing then you could go it alone with BT using FTTC.

    Of course I'm slightly biased in saying you should choose an ISP specific for the education market as they understand what schools need and will offer much more specific support that I believe Schools need than you'd ever get from BT or another big ISP.

    Also you've got one point of contact for everything. Your DNS, Internet connection, anti-virus, remote VPN, domain hosting, content filtering and e-safeguarding etc etc. We find generally most primary schools go for a package with either us or another specific provider.

    Happy to answer any questions if you put them here or via a PM.

    Thanks

    Dave

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Absolutely it is rather technical; I can't remember (or wasn't told) if it was on purpose or not but one thing to bear in mind is that it *does* require a hell of a lot of forethought, planning and research, something that clearly shouldn't be carried out by laymen.

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    I'd guess that the 40Mb line will almost always out perform your current service, but remember to check the contention ratio - it's not a leased line, so bandwidth not guaranteed. Most schools are in predominantly residential areas, my guess would be that you'll do OK during the school day.

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    I have moved both of my schools from the LEA offering ... they are both about the same size as you. We went for a Virgin Business 20 meg line at about 42.00 per month. I monitor the speed and we get 18-20 meg all of the time. The upload speed is about 2 meg. As we dont do a lot of uploading this is perfectly ok for our needs. The installation was a breeze and they have both run flawlessly ... We went for inline Censornet software installed on one of those really cheap HP mini servers. They have a cloud offering as well ...
    Again the setup was easy and the intelligent filtering works very well. cost £300.00 per year ... I purchased a Netgear router for each school cost £180.00 each. The bonus with the Virgin line is that you get a free telephone line included !!
    All in all were very happy with the result and at a fraction of the cost.

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  19. #12

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    I would argue now that a higher upload speed is something that should certainly be considered; in this day and age, cloud/offsite storage/backup even for a primary school should be considered, and if it isn't now, then certainly in the near future. Also useful to have a bit more speed going up for remote access and offsite working in general.

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    [QUOTE=synaesthesia;987989]I would argue now that a higher upload speed is something that should certainly be considered; in this day and age, cloud/offsite storage/backup even for a primary school should be considered, and if it isn't now, then certainly in the near future. Also useful to have a bit more speed going up for remote access and offsite working in general.[/QUOTE

    We have offsite backup at a partner school and have had no problems attall with upload speed. The backup runs every night and on average takes less than 30 minutes. The initial setup was to export all of the files to be backed up to a portable device (About 350 gig in our case) .. then carry it to the offsite location and import the files to the drive that holds your backup .. After that its only the stuff thats changed that get sent up the wires ...

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    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    I have 11 years experience in schools, certified and have built my school network from scratch, more than once. I'm also full time. We have more than the typical primary expertise

    Still, moving away from the LEA is still daunting. I am only considering it because the current service is so inadequate.

    However, planning is going to be critical. :-/

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    Every school in Leeds is currently facing this situation as the current LEA service is coming to an end next year. This has forced people to look into this more closely and the biggest worry for most schools is feeding MIS data back to the LEA. Our LEA have suggested that a remote token system will be required at a fixed annual cost, however there seems to be some conflicting information out there as to the legalities surrounding this.

    You are absolutely correct, planning is critical and getting everything written down and documented properly will help you highlight any issues that need to be addressed.

    If the service you are getting (or not) really is that bad, then there must be other schools in your area who are also looking at alternatives - have you spoken to any of them?

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