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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, Broadband provider . . Thinking of leaving BGFL for internet in Technical; Originally Posted by ToyHeartsFan I’m also interested as the cost of upgrading to 100mb is rather high and they have ...
  1. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToyHeartsFan View Post
    I’m also interested as the cost of upgrading to 100mb is rather high and they have said they can not supply anything in between its either 10mb or 100mb. I’m sure somewhere I once saw a price and virgin were offering gig connections for the same price as link2icts 100mb links. But it is a rather large can of worm to open when you start looking at the implications!

    10mb is just about ok for us at the moment but if we wanted to use offsite backup for more than admin data it wouldn’t be up to the job (a restore would take days). My current concern is that if we move to an online MIS system such as Progresso will it cope?


    1. I’m not aware of any.

    2. Probably but they would need to send data out to the web and connect through your new firewall which unless your ISP provide you need to do yourself.

    3. Unless it has changed certain parts of the BGFL network are only available if you are connected directly. Parts of the old link2ict website were not available outside the BGFL network because they had recommended supplier info etc I don’t know if this is still the case. Other things that would need testing include the HR Portal, Finance portal, remote backup (if you use it). Their Video conferencing solution (although they only gave that to secondary schools) wouldn’t work. Their VPN solution wouldn’t work. I don’t think the admin page for Zimbra works. The ebriefing system would need testing. The admin software they use to transfer data to the LEA (can’t remember what it’s called off the top of my head). I’m sure there are a lot more…

    Obviously they could allow external access to some / most of these services but it’s more of a case of will they or will they say it’s a security risk?


    I’m not sure if the charges for Sophos and Policy central are part of the broadband fee or are separate. I don’t think the policy central interface can be used outside the BGFL network so you might have to purchase that and host it in house as well.
    I think you've summed it up pretty well. On paper there may or may not be cost savings, but due to other websites/tools only working within the BGFL network, I'm not entirely sure how this would work. It may end up costing more money if you include your own proxy and/or firewall and other tools required just to make things work again - excluding the management of it all. You'd really have to be an always on site technician, which would exclude me for example.

    As for Zimbra, I'm hoping to start migrating schools to Live@Edu and this would remove the need for the Zimbra Admin page.

    Sophos Anti-Virus and Policy Central are charged separately. Sophos Anti-Virus really is phenomenal value bearing in mind the number of workstations schools typically have these days.

    When MIS systems are properly cloud based, for sure your internet use will go up, but 10Mbps up/down is still plenty, at least for a Primary School. I couldn't see it being a problem as some schools don't even have 10Mbps, but considerably less. Generally speaking cloud based computing could probably run on a 66MHz 486 with 16MB of memory, as you're literally viewing web pages. All the processing is done server side.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    When MIS systems are properly cloud based, for sure your internet use will go up, but 10Mbps up/down is still plenty, at least for a Primary School. I couldn't see it being a problem as some schools don't even have 10Mbps, but considerably less. Generally speaking cloud based computing could probably run on a 66MHz 486 with 16MB of memory, as you're literally viewing web pages. All the processing is done server side.
    10Mbps is quite slow these days and is slower than most peoples home connections, yes the upload is better and you don't have the contention issues but even so... Virgin media are doubling my "entry level" home connection from 10Mbps to 20Mbps for free so downloads will be faster at home than at school which does seem a bit crazy when the school is paying 6k and Im paying less than £300. And yes before anyone starts I know you can't compare the two i.e. filtering, download limits etc, etc...

    There might well be some none LEA controlled schools that don't have 10Mbps connections but I thought all other schools in birmingam were now 10mb or better as that was seen as a requirement. I can't remember if it was a government thing or a link2ict thing...

    We are rather large as we have over 700 pupils so our internet use is quite high already which is why I question whether our connection will cope. If we have 30 kids using education city in the ict suite, half a dozen class teachers trying to play youtube clips etc, me downloading software updates, another 20 teachers checking email etc etc then we try to add an online MIS system into the equation...

    Oh and I almost forgot our staff with link2ict VPN connections, they don't normally connect during the day but every now and again you do get one that needs to work from home for some reason. We also have a small childrens centre onsite and they are using the schools internet connection, although it's only a small number of users it still has an impact if they are streaming videos etc. We are also about to go wireless so as we purchase more devices class room use will increase and instead of just a couple of PCs in a room there could potentially be class sets of laptops etc...

    I understand your point about using old kit for cloud computing but it depends what you mean by "cloud" computing educationcity is "cloud" computing as such but you are still using the processing power of the PC. Try and get XP or W7 with all of the updates, policy central and sophos running and the hardware requirements have gone through the roof before you have even opened a webpage, cloud computing isn't an excuse to stop investing in workstations or servers for that matter as our Business manager seemed to think we wouldn't need an admin server once we migrated to progresso...

  3. #18

    Michael's Avatar
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    I agree I get higher than 10Mbps at home, but the upload does make a big difference. As to why BGFL only offer 10 > 100Mbps, it is a massive jump and I wouldn't recommend any Primary to have 100Mbps. It's just too costly but you never know, some BGFL folk may read this and make smaller speed increases available in future. It should all be do-able with the existing equipment.

    All Birmingham schools I believe do have 10Mbps as a minimum and as you pointed out, this is sometimes shared between schools or a Children's Centres. I believe it was partly a Government idea, but also that BGFL rolled it out across the city. It was a good little project, as I still remember schools using 128K ISDN.

    I believe if you log a call with BGFL, they can actually monitor your school internet usage levels at peak times of the day, just to see how much your connection is being used.

    I suppose Education City is a little different as it renders Flash on the local workstation. Future versions of SIMS and Progresso are either going to be PHP based, or most likely ASPX based, i.e .NET Framework 2+ and generally speaking this shouldn't be too resource hungry on the workstation.

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    [QUOTE=Michael;805278]I agree I get higher than 10Mbps at home, but the upload does make a big difference. As to why BGFL only offer 10 > 100Mbps, it is a massive jump and I wouldn't recommend any Primary to have 100Mbps. It's just too costly but you never know, some BGFL folk may read this and make smaller speed increases available in future. It should all be do-able with the existing equipment.[QUOTE]

    Yes 100Mbps might be overkill but the question has been asked several times (by me) and they are not able to offer anything else due to the contract they have with the supplier (virgin media) so it's either 10Mbps or 100Mbps until the contract ends / they can wriggle out of it unless we go with another ISP. Our internet use can easily match that of a small secondary school, an awful lot of primary school resources are web based and our teachers use a lot of online content such as youtube clips as part of their lessons.

    I believe if you log a call with BGFL, they can actually monitor your school internet usage levels at peak times of the day, just to see how much your connection is being used.
    Yes I did that once but it was quite some time ago our use was quite high even back then. What it can't show is how much time is wasted by users that have to sit there twiddling their fingers while something downloads.


    I suppose Education City is a little different as it renders Flash on the local workstation. Future versions of SIMS and Progresso are either going to be PHP based, or most likely ASPX based, i.e .NET Framework 2+ and generally speaking this shouldn't be too resource hungry on the workstation.
    It may well be that a web based MIS system wont have a very high bandwidth requirement (I simply don't know one way or the other) but the issue is that its using the same connection as all of our curriculum users which already puts our connection under strain. If we are not careful we could have admin staff unable to complete their jobs because year 6 are streaming videos for the kids to watch etc...

    You have no idea how much grief I got from our admin staff because the HR / Finance portals don't work correctly with the current versions of acrobat reader which caused the portals to grind to a halt. I have visions of exactly the same thing happening with an online MIS system if we don't have enough bandwidth and the only response I would be able to give is wait until the kids / teachers have gome home and try again... There is a big difference between a locally hosted MIS which you have got either a gigabit or 100Mb connection to and a 10Mb link you are sharing with another 50+ concurrent users.
    Last edited by ToyHeartsFan; 19th March 2012 at 04:24 PM.

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    I think with future MIS systems, you'll be able to have them hosted in the cloud or hosted internally. There are pros and cons to both, but they're still probably a number of years away until they become the norm.

    You never know, BGFL may have upgraded school internet connections by then too. It must be at least 5 years schools in Birmingham have had 10Mbps+ internet connections, so may be time for a refresh?

  6. #21
    zag
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    We moved away from SEGFL recently to our own provider.

    The council wanted to charge us 22k for our "100mbit".

    We went with BT which was 13k a year and bought a Sophos filter for 4k. We also moved to Live@edu for email.

    Its one of the best decisions we have made, no more firewall or filter problems and the connection is about 3 times faster in reality while being half the price.

    WIN/WIN
    Last edited by zag; 20th March 2012 at 02:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamin100 View Post
    We've had the current link2ict service charges through today and my head has asked me to investigate the possibility of moving away from Link2ICt (BGFL) for our internet subscription.

    The cost for this year is just shy of £6k for 10mb down 10mb up

    So I have a few questions?

    1. are there any ISP's that do filtering that are recommended as a replacement?
    2. If we changed ISP would link2ict still be able to have remote access to the MIS workstations etc as we would still use Link2ICT for MIS Support and would still continue to pay the core subscription.
    3. Are there any sites or services we would lose access too if we stopped using l2ict as an ISP?
    We moved to EXA Networks last year with no real issues, you will need VPN connection to access the BGFL for FCS, CRISP, Knowledgebase,Zimbra admin,Policy Central etc..
    We still use Link2ICT for remote support, service desk, MIS.
    EXA have a special deal with ESET so your AV is also cheaper over 3 years.
    We had a demo of Progresso on our connection & the person giving it commented how quick it was compared to the BGfL.
    The filtering is easy to use & comes in the cost. There's obviously top level filtering & you can then add sites to the "White/Black List" as you require.

    You will have scare tatics from Link2ICT but I can honestly say we've had no problems at all.

  8. #23
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    There is no reason to suggest that you could not still subscribe to the Core services but get the ISP subscription from somewhere else. What you would lose or need to replace is listed here .

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    Thought I would add my 27p.

    The current BCC/BGfL infrustucture does not support staggared increase of the leased line. I can't see this changing until SB either re-negoiate (next year I think) or go elsewhere. Virgin Media will not re-invest in the switches unless either SB pay them for it or the demand is there.
    When the infrustructure was put in place, cloud services were not on the agend, likewise with online streaming. Found some old leaflets the other day saying the orginal goverment target was to role out 2meg lines and not 10meg so quite glad they went for the latter.

    With regards to having access to the BGfL resources, the current BGfL Cisco VPN can be used to get back into the BGfL (which is what the school that has moved away has done). This gives you access to all the stuff that the admin staff would use.

    In regards to getting MIS support, Link are looking at using a cloud based remote support solution but until the "policies" are looked into for this, I think it will be log-me-in for any remote support.

    Data Extract for the council. This would require the school to put the Cisco VPN client on the server with Groupcall on, connect, run GC, and then disconnect. Only downside is that it would cut off that machine to the network but I don't think Groupcall needs to be on the server though don't quote me. The only other way would be to contact the Data Extract team to see if there is another way since the FTP server for the data extract sits within the BGfL network.

    Besides that, there is not much else besides email. If you are just moving ISP, the above covers most of it. I think everyone else has covered the other things to think about.

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    Hi Folks,

    There still appears to be some confusion about what is included with the different subscription offering for Birmingham schools from Link2ICT. The new service guide is available at http://www.link2ict.org/serviceguide and this makes it clear which services require the ISP service. Three starting points to note:
    The VPN accounts are linked to the ISP service as they are designed to allow staff to connect from home to the school network. These are redundant once you move to a different ISP and will be decommissioned.
    Several systems or services are only visible within the network such as the knowledgebase and these will no longer be available to you
    Your method of data transfers to the city will need to be changed to comply with the Data Protection act - this will require the use of the s2s website and the current Government guidance on this is available at:
    Transferring personal data securely - Schools

    Link2ICT are happy to arrange a meeting with any school that are considering this to talk through exactly what needs to be considered, just log a call with the Service Desk

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    Quote Originally Posted by ICTRambling View Post
    Intresting document and it confirms the points I made in my first post about opening a can of worms if someone changes ISP although I'm not sure what the ISP charges refer to as it says 5.5k for primary and 8.2k for secondary compared against 13.5k for a leased line (with less services) from someone else. We are paying something in the region of 6k for 10Mb connections and I have recently been quoted 18.5k to upgrade the connection to 100Mb next financial year so I don't know where 5.5/8.2k figures quoted come from if it was only 8.2k for a 100Mb connection then I think we would all have upgraded already.

    I understand that link2ict are currently unable to offer say 30 / 50Mb connections but they did say several times in the past that they were exploring the possability. The problem is a bill for 18.5k is hard to swallow but 10Mb is starting to struggle and my primary concern is that with online MIS systems in the pipeline that admin traffic will be competing with curric traffic and it could directly impact on the ability of our admin staff to do their job.

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    We were the first school to go in Birmingham, Jervoise School. 1 year on still happy, having some issues this year ref VPN to bgfl but that's due to more schools moving away from grid in my opinion. A solution will be found & we are now looking at moving more services away from the city.

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    Data transfer

    Quote Originally Posted by chippo View Post
    We were the first school to go in Birmingham, Jervoise School. 1 year on still happy, having some issues this year ref VPN to bgfl but that's due to more schools moving away from grid in my opinion. A solution will be found & we are now looking at moving more services away from the city.
    Can I just remind schools to check with the city about data transfer arrangements as VPN will not be available and it is causing problems in a couple of schools.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ICTRambling View Post
    Can I just remind schools to check with the city about data transfer arrangements as VPN will not be available and it is causing problems in a couple of schools.
    There should be alternatives available as otherwise schools are being held hostage or unfairly restricted from seeking alternative connections.

    Ben

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    That is one of the problems with Link2ICT\BGfL they only offer an all or nothing package for essential services such as the secure data transfer. It also goes further with AV and their core services in that you have to use them as an ISP or lose the package altogether.

    Link2ICT are very slow at waking up to the realities of business, they either offer flexible packages or go bust as they watch their business fade away.

    I may be wrong here but I think we can purchase ISP or other services from neighboring LEA ISP providers which may help.

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