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Wireless Networks Thread, Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done it? in Technical; Due to .....various issues, we're considering dumping our LEA connectivity / IT involvement (which is now limited, due to BadThings) ...
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    Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done it?

    Due to .....various issues, we're considering dumping our LEA connectivity / IT involvement (which is now limited, due to BadThings) and going solo.

    Could anyone who's done this share their experiences?
    What were the main pitfalls, if any?
    Has anyone gone back?
    How happy are LEAs about schools doing this - do they put up a lot of resistance?
    Did you save money in the long run or does it cost more (but worth it)?
    Who suggested the move - technical staff or SMT?
    Who / what did you go with in the end?

    And anything else people consider relevant.

    Thanks

    Pete

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    Re: Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done

    Hi Pete,

    We were with EMBC but have now gone over to NTL for their 8mb leased line (1:1 contention ration). Never had a problem with NTL and they do have service level agreements and stick to it!. EMBC has so much red tape it drove up mad trying to open up ports, they lost our requests twice!, the internet went down without any notice and our 2mb service was saturated completely so it was time to move to another supplier. The 2mb line is only from the school router to the local concentrator and after this other schools may jump in as well so essentially sharing the connection.

    There was no notice of potential problems with connection or informing us of any planned ourtages. We were promised the 10mb service a year and half ago but nothing materialised they have just started rolling out the 10mb service now so not sure what it will be like but to be honest sometime their helpdesk (fujitsu) appears to have no clue as to how to deal with problems and some staff are completely remain baffled (i.e. no idea how to do that) when we try to request the most basic services/request.

    One positive thing about EMBC was its email filtering yes i'm saying email filtering and not web filtering. We didn't have much spam and it was easier to control and manage the settings for our domain via web browser. As for their web filtering solution its completely the opposite, only 50 local URL! that you can request to be blocked or allowed - how silly is this. Apparently it used to be only 30 before, my colleague tells me. :?

    LEAs don't like you to do this bacause they want to keep all schools with RBCs (regional broadband consortia) and there are plans to share resources across the national educational network (NEN) which all RBC will be involved in at some stage. I say at some stage because the NEN is yet defined on how or what it will cover - there are guidelines drawn up by BECTA but the its still in the early stages.

    NTL are looking to get Becta accreditation which allow them to provide services as whole or partly to RBCs.

    Things to look out for:

    - The cost of net connection
    - Email filtering
    - Web filtering
    - Domain name/content hosting
    - Public IP addresses
    - How the connection is delivered i.e. managed router, serial lines or direct ethernet

    HTH,

    Ashok.

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    Re: Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done it?

    Care to give us a rough guide to how much your connectivity costs, Ashok??

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    Re: Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done

    Just to complicate the question - has anyone gone through a partial move? ie kept the good bits from their LEA put moved outside for other services.

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    Re: Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done it?

    Most LEA contracts wont allow that.

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    Re: Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done

    Yeah agree with Geoff,

    Most LEAs don't allow this kind of separation. The solution embc uses for its email filtering is a solution from emailsystems which you can buy as well. www.emailsystems.com

    The issues here is why does do people have to move away from RBCs? this is the question that the RBCs need to really look at and take note of the concerns schools have.

    Ash.

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    Re: Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done it?

    Seems to me its lack of flexibilty. They are generally too resctrictive to devolve control of the internet connectivity and associated services to let the schools do what they want. Fair enough some schools don't have the technical know how to effectively do that but some do.

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    Re: Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done it?

    It's interesting to see the issues that others have with their connection. We have all primary schools on 10MB and all high schools on 100MB and there are no complaints that I'm aware of.

    I have heard other LEAs talking about 'issues' but wasn't sure what kind of connectivity they offered.

    Rob.

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    Re: Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done it?

    At the moment the only issue I have with our LEA is their webfiltering. It misses far too much stuff. I have solved the problem locally with a Linux box running Dansguardian but I shouldn't have to really.

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    Re: Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done

    Rob,

    There is no consistency between the different LEAs or RBCs on even the bandwidth they provide i.e. like you say your primary schools have 10mb connections and secondaries 100mb, well over here in the Midlands they have just started to upgrade the secondaries to 10mb. This is one example of course but there are lots of other inconsistencies i.e:

    - the number of public ip allowed
    - forcing the usage of their proxy server
    - providing restrictive access on selected public ip(s).
    - poor filtering and restrictive control to manage each school's filtering

    Ashok.

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    Re: Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done it?

    Indeed, our LEA just provided us with 10mb a few months ago. Though we very rarely get speeds of 5mb, let alone 10. We pay 13k a year to them for it too. (including filtering, which doesnt filter terribly well anyway). Just for them to open some ports for our webserver we had to fill out several forms, get written permission from the queen and donate a kidney each.

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    Re: Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done

    @ashok - thanks for the info.

    @Rob - it's very different between LEAs. I'm green with envy about some of the things people on here can do with their LEA.

    There's no clear divison (acceptance?) of responsibility, catfights amongst the different parts, the decisions seem arbitrary and there's no accountability. Costs are never explained.

    @Jake - what size school are you? IIRC, embc calculate cost of connectivity based upon school size. We're paying 6K at the moment for a 2MB SDSL line which is maxed on the download, but barely touched on the upload. We'd get more benefit from an 8mb downpipe with a good contention ratio.

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    Re: Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done it?

    I'd like to point people to the last newsletter again.

    http://www.edugeek.net/index.php?nam...article&sid=68

    This give recommendations for schools who are looking at what to do when their RBC is up for renewal ... the things that are needed to be set out, but you can easily take the information and look at it for what you want in a new ISP.

    We are moving to our RBC ... partly politics, but partly because we know we can make it work and if it doesn't they will get a serious amount of grief as we have the interest of Becta and the SSAT in this.

    Come Easter I will be publishing a case study in how to make and RBC work to the demands for your school. This is likely to be published by the SSAT and it has made me a little unpopular with EMBC (some of which Russell caught by mistake).

    There are other options open to schools, but remember that unless you are moving to something that will eventually be on the NEN you will have further costs down the line. It will eventually become compulsary.

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    Re: Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done it?

    From this forum I can see that there is large inconsistencies between LEAs. For us to have a port opened they only need it in an email to one of the technical engineers.

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    Re: Leaving LEA broadband / network provision - anyone done

    @webman: We are at the other end of the spectrum... we don't have a public IP and can't even have outbound ports opened!

    Our RBC is very good though and is making an effort to rectify this. All schools have decent Internet pipes and the infrastructure is all in place for video conferencing and the like on the NEN.

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