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Wired Networks Thread, Am I mad? School broadband cost versus home in Technical; Originally Posted by Pottsey I know how you feel; I am shortly due to get 120mb at home yet 20seconds ...
  1. #46

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pottsey View Post
    I know how you feel; I am shortly due to get 120mb at home yet 20seconds walk away our secondary school is on 10mb. Which in my mind is crazy.

    Many say but School has a symetric connection but how is that a plus point when you get 100/10 or 120/12 at home against 10/10 at work? Plus I find the home connection depending on users in my area fluctuates less than the school connection and the home connection has way more uptime. I understand the extras like proxy & email along with the others but why can school connections not at least match mobile connation speeds, yet alone what I can get at home? Schools do get extra services and e-safty but unless I missed it no one has explained why School connections have to be so slow more so for the price you pay.

    Surely school connections for use over 100’s of devices should not be lagging behind in speed over mobile phone connections used for one device and should not be over 10x slower than home connections again used for a handful of devices.
    It varies by area. Here, schools get 100Mbit connections - which certainly aren't lagging behind. Up in Lancashire I remember a pile of secondary schools were getting 1Gbit connections. In my experience, the speeds your school gets comes down to a few things such as whether your ISP is directly to the RBC or to your LEA, whether your heads have pushed for faster connections in your 'schools forum' or similar decision making mechanism, the actual demand on bandwidth the school has (10Mbit might be plenty for some schools if they don't actually saturate it), and how quickly your LEA makes decisions and changes.

    Some areas can take years to come to a decision to do an upgrade, where others will do it quickly and efficiently.

    That sort of thing should be brought up with your LEA though, via your head teacher.

  2. #47
    Pottsey's Avatar
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    Speaking about connections and packages are Learning platforms still mandatory? Is it ok to no longer use one?

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    tom_newton's Avatar
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    Oddly enough I am going to weigh in on the connection stuff, and not the filtering

    If we were able to use fast "home" connections at work, they would suddenly become very expensive, sure your one school could knock off that extra bandwidth at times of low use, but if this was offered to every school in your area, the 50:1 (or more) contention would suddenly become important again.

    These fast home connections are available from cable TV providers because they can do the 100meg bit for a fairly short leg back to a point where you get contended back to 50:1 or so. So they might have a single 100meg line to a housing estate where everyone is effectively "chipping in" to rent it, so it seems cheap. When you get a line at a school, you are paying extra for the carriage of your data right back to somewhere where you can get "proper" bandwidth, and you really can get your 10-up 10-down all the time.

    Because of this, you may find the cost difference at school form 10 to 100 is not much at all, because once you have gotten over the initial price hurdle of a "professional" internet connection, upping the speed is relatively easy (up to the speed of the media, which today will be minimum 10). For example, here at Smoothwall Leeds, we pay ~£1k/mo for 100Meg symmetric (with no added services mind) but it would have been 700 for 10. We moved from bonded DSL and for the first time we get consistently low enough latency to run voip.

    One thing to watch out for - some ISPs will send you bonded ADSL or SDSL. These products aren't quite as good, but they're perfectly serviceable in many areas, they should be somewhat cheaper though.

    If you ditch your LEA's service and buy your own connectivity and filtering, you can shop around, and you can spend on the bits you want to spend on. Some primaries are OK on a business DSL @ £60/mo. Its just a bit harder to manage as you have to buy in all the stuff and DIY it, and that does not come for free.

    Hope that makes a modicum of sense, not finished 1st coffee yet.

  4. #49

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pottsey View Post
    Speaking about connections and packages are Learning platforms still mandatory? Is it ok to no longer use one?
    I believe emphasis was taken off electronic learning platforms, and instead put more in terms of pupil and parent engagement. So, 'must' became 'should' in guidance documents.

  5. #50

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pottsey View Post
    Speaking about connections and packages are Learning platforms still mandatory? Is it ok to no longer use one?
    The requirements of Online Learning Space and Online Tools for Parental Engagement are not mandatory, but the DfE view it that successful schools are using them ... so schools which are not successful should ask themselves why they aren't using them?

    In Mr Gove's speech at BETT he even mentioned about online assessment tools giving real-time information to staff and children about progress and achievement ... and that can, of course, by given from a VLE / LP or other online assessment system (e.g. SAMLearning, etc).

    There is very little central prescription about anything from the DfE at the moment and any attempt to try similar from LAs is viewed as a bad thing ... even when it works! (YMMV and yes I know there are lots who don't work ... and not usually because of the specific tools but because of the approach taken).

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    Speaking from an Independant school POV, we pay around £4k for a 10Mb EFM line annually, but as an independant we don't get anything extra for that price, filtering, email etc we have to do in house.

    However, I still don't feel its a rip off. It could and probably should be a bit cheaper but there is no way I'd consider switching to a domestic ADSL connection. The reason being is that like others have said, that 10Mb is guaranteed, we always get that speed, up and down. Also if there is a problem I can be talkiing to someone at the ISP within minutes and they can get a BT engineer out within a few hours, thats the value of a SLA for me.

    Also, we use a standard ADSL connection in another office, and whilst it is roughly the same speed down, it regularly drops the connection, reconnects etc and speed definately drops. Not a huge issue in a small office or a home but that would get very frustrating in a school.

  7. #52
    enjay's Avatar
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    One other point in the home-vs-business connection debate which no-one has mentioned is that home services are capped, business services are either not capped or have much higher caps on them.

    You do need to look at what you are getting for your money and compare one business provider against another, as it does seem like you're paying slightly more than necessary, however comparing home to business products isn't really fair. Do evaluate the options and requirements though - yes, a more expensive service will include filtering, etc, but could you get a cheaper unfiltered service and filter it yourselves (Bloxx, Smoothwall, RM ot whatever) and still save money?

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    In my opinion it's not just about the raw speed you get from a line. It's also the service level and the people behind the service. Yes I'm aware that cable modem home connections for example can be unbelievably fast but what happens when there is a problem? I know of a few occasions where whole towns have been knocked offline for more than 24 hours or slow speeds have occured for similar times.

    For a service from a specialist educational ISP or the LA depending on the technology used you should get guaranteed speeds, immediate support and a guaranteed service level.

    Could you imagine having a fault and having to go to a virtual call centre in another country? Not good.

    On another note specialist education ISP's should give help on other areas inc filtering, general security etc. I'm not trying to sterotype but many schools and technicians don't have the skills to do this properly (even though some say they do!). It's important to be accredited so the engineers / technicians at the ISP know exactly what they are doing and have gone through rigourous training to do so. It's not hard to set a firewall / fitlering up basically. But in my opinion really knowing exactly what you are doing is a massive value add and should not be under estimated.

    It's also well worth pointing out that contention ratio's on BT's wholesale 21CN network for DSL and FTTC services don't really exist as a 20:1 or 50:1 anymore. I was never convinced those contention ratios did actually exist int he first place.

    Broadband over BT's 21CN network for DSL and FTTC works generally one of two ways. Either Wholesale Broadband Connect (WBC) or Wholesale Broadband Managed Connect (WMBC). WMBC gives an ISP a connection into BT's network (normally bought as a 10GIG interconnect). BT then give you a guaranteed rate which I believe is 2Mbit download on ADSL and 12Mbit download on FTTC back to the ISP's 10GIG interconnect. You can pay additionally for BT's Elevated Best Efforts (EBE) which we do on all circuits as standard. This then guarantees 3Mbit download on ADSL and 16Mbit on FTTC. Contention as such can happen in two places. Firstly at the BT exchange. e.g. you have a 37Mbit BRAS (A BRAS profile is the definite speed you will get and is lower than the actual sync speed normally by 3 to 4%). The second place is at the ISP's interconnect into BT.

    The below example is for WMBC.

    e.g you have a 30Mbit BRAS profile, the ISP has gigs of spare capacity on its interconnect into BT. Yet the end user only downloads at 20Mbit. Here there will be contention / issues between BT's network and delivering it to the ISP.

    e.g. 2 you have 30Mbit BRAS profile, the ISP is running at 100% capacity but BT's network is not. The custer then wouldn't get his full 30Mbit.

    Specialist ISP's should never hit capacity and should manage this. You'll find the cheaper ones over subscribe their interconnects into BT.


    There is the WBC. This is only done by a very small handful of ISP's who actually have their own network around the UK. This option is much more flexible than WMBC but you need lots of users to make it worth while in specific locations.

    BT has a number of nodes on their 21CN network around the country (18 I think). An ISP can take an Interconnect into any or all of these nodes. The ISP then buys a different amount of bandwidth into each node. This allows the ISP to have the correct amount of capacity at each node rather than a 10GIG single interconnect into BT. BT then hands off bandwidth at each node / interconnect and passes it onto the ISP's network. This is generally how we provide our DSL and FTTC services.

    e.g. we are doing a lot of business in Northampton at the moment which goes on BT's Peterborough node so this is where additional bandwidth is purchased.

    Leased line circuits on BT's 21CN network cast iron guarantee bandwidth all the way from the customers site through the exchange and to the node / interconnect.

    Here endeth the lesson! I hope you found it useful!

  9. Thanks to SchoolsBroadband from:

    SimpleSi (10th June 2012)

  10. #54

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    I was going to query your re-raising a dead post but your stuff was very good info

    Si

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