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Network and Classroom Management Thread, web Filtering Products in Technical; @ Tony - yes we do have a number of large installs - (1000s of PCs) both here and in ...
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    tom_newton's Avatar
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    @ Tony - yes we do have a number of large installs - (1000s of PCs) both here and in the states. PM me for details - can't name names publically without permission from t'customer

    TBH, our software is primarily designed around the "single network" model - that's the "best fit". We increasingly see large central installs giving various filtering profiles by originating IP, and then bigger schools taking a NG/SG licence themselves (at no extra licence cost)

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    netsweeper limitations

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    The frustrating thing for me is the lack of text level filtering and poor intelligence. Then again, all bidders went for a pretty standard 'Becta accredited' setup that deals with large scale installs.

    @Tom

    I would be interested in hearing about the largest setup that you have. Anything at LA or RBC level yet?
    Hi Tony,

    Yes the one you mentioned are some of the limitations but the really difficult thing with the central filtering is that the school will lose the ability to allow/disallow sites by users (unless i gues you could login to the portal) so teaching staff can access more sites than student say for example.

    At the moment out setup is working very well for us and we can choose the type of acces we give the students, staff, TAs etc. Now of course with the centralised web filtering this could be lost or difficult to implement.

    Ash.

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    @Ash - you're right, that's when the filter becomes really useful, when local users can interact more with it. This is why we are now developing a number of new systems to allow better feedback & control for staff & students. It's just not really viable when done centrally.... only sane to do "base level" filtering centrally, ie porn, warez, all the really undesirable things, but even then you might lose some reporting capability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashok View Post
    Hi Tony,

    Yes the one you mentioned are some of the limitations but the really difficult thing with the central filtering is that the school will lose the ability to allow/disallow sites by users (unless i gues you could login to the portal) so teaching staff can access more sites than student say for example.

    At the moment out setup is working very well for us and we can choose the type of acces we give the students, staff, TAs etc. Now of course with the centralised web filtering this could be lost or difficult to implement.

    Ash.
    The idea is that they do indeed log into the portal before going elsewhere onto the 'Net. A school has site level filtering set at 4 (the top level) and then they login to get user level filtering, which can be grouped.

    The bit where this falls down is that it takes the IP from the client machine and if you are using a firewall between you and the RBC it appears that most traffic would come fro the same IP (the WAN port of the firewall) ... hence why the SNB tells you no firewall or inline proxy / filter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    The bit where this falls down is that it takes the IP from the client machine and if you are using a firewall between you and the RBC it appears that most traffic would come fro the same IP (the WAN port of the firewall) ... hence why the SNB tells you no firewall or inline proxy / filter.
    I shudder at the thought of ever having to run an entire network without its own firewall, it seems to be bad practise on so many levels.

    I have a hit ratio that certainly justifies having a local proxy, I would guess technical limitations at a RBC level are then pushed onto schools lower down in the chain.

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    Most of us who use firewalls would use in an isolation mode, one that segregates the school off from the MAn / WAN, whereas most of us actually have stuff in place to deal with things anyway with our router. It is fairly easy to setup port based ACLs and presuming you have your routing done correctly you should not need a firewall.

    Of course, this is in an ideal world and presuming that you have up to date AV and Anti-Spyware, that all clients are secure and patched, you have an internal cache correctly configured and all pigs are fed and ready to fly.

    If everyone followed the Standard Network Builds from RBCs there would be a lot less problems ... but also a lot less pushing the boundaries for tools for learning / teaching.

    Getting the balance ... that is the fun bit.

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    SNB

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Most of us who use firewalls would use in an isolation mode, one that segregates the school off from the MAn / WAN, whereas most of us actually have stuff in place to deal with things anyway with our router. It is fairly easy to setup port based ACLs and presuming you have your routing done correctly you should not need a firewall.

    Of course, this is in an ideal world and presuming that you have up to date AV and Anti-Spyware, that all clients are secure and patched, you have an internal cache correctly configured and all pigs are fed and ready to fly.

    If everyone followed the Standard Network Builds from RBCs there would be a lot less problems ... but also a lot less pushing the boundaries for tools for learning / teaching.

    Getting the balance ... that is the fun bit.
    @Tony

    I agree with the SNB and how it can be made to work but the problem with the central filtering is that many websites will be denied (rightly of course) but the request is still fed through the wan link only to be denied again taking up bandwidth that could be used for other things. Kids will be kids and will try to bypass and access sites that are filtered and when you get this situation from a lot of schools where the requests are being made but are denied sometime this could overwhlem the webfilter and unfortuantely this used to happen regurarely with our RBC filter. This would then go into block everything mode until the box was reset or rebooted. Clearly there are software and HW that will handle more connections etc but the idea of having a report of who accessed what and ability to give users different filtering levels based on their identity is highly required.

    Also the portal where users sign on could be down so there might be disruption to accessing the internet and again the same logic applies about many connections that will be required to be handled by the portal, bandwidth used i.e. we have 300-400 stations (out of over 800) that access the internet at the same time. In the above scenario there would be a need to have more bandwidth available and the 10mb connection may not be enough.

    I not having a bo at the RBCs or the idea of RBCs, i think its great but there should not be an expectation that everyone will adhere to the SNB because for some schools (larger ones) that have different requirements will find that SNB put too much restrictions or does not fulfill their needs.

    Ash.

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