Steps to follow when looking for new connectivity at your school.

The internet is now a vital element to the curriculum and running of any school - now more than ever it is important you have a fast, reliable, resilient and secure connection.

The Government has issued guidelines for internet connectivity for schools that requires you to meet safeguarding and eSafety requirements for pupils and staff. With our steps below, we can help you meet the requirements for your school and those of the government.

1: Connectivity

The first thing to think about when selecting a new connectivity solution is your bandwidth/speed requirements, these are generally measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Generally, 100mpbs or 200Mbps would suit the needs of an average secondary school and 50Mpbs would be ideal for a Primary school.

Novatech will usually recommend an EAD (Leased line) where budget allows. EAD lines are dedicated to your school and often know as uncontended, these lines also provide you a 'symmetrical' connection. This allows the same speed up, as well as down and is ideal as you start to look at moving more services to the cloud.

Novatech can also provide Superfast Broadband (FTTC) and Superfast Broadband+ (EoFTTC) these lines ideal when on a tight budget, and are primarily for Primary Schools or smaller establishments. FTTC and EoFTTC lines can provide up to 80Mbps download speeds and up to 20Mbps upload.

2: Capacity

Over the coming years you will likely find that your schools? bandwidth requirements will increase. Main services are now becoming heavily reliant on your connection, and as you look to move more services to the cloud this will only add pressure to your bandwidth. With that at the back of your mind, remember to ask about how future-proofed your current connection is for your school.

3: Contract

A clear terms of service or SLA is always vital in any contract agreement. Novatech provides a clear service level agreement for all connectivity solutions, outlining how quickly faults will be resolved and at what point service credits will be issued in the event of SLA slips.

4: Reliability

Reliability is normally referred to as 'uptime' for example what percentage of the time the connection can be guaranteed to be working. As a minimum, you should always look for an uptime of 99.9% - this should mean no more than around 8 hours of 'downtime' in a year. You should also look at how quickly the connection can be restored in the event of failure. Novatech holds a 5 hour fix time on all EAD lines and 7 hours on Superfast Broadband+ (EoFTTC) lines.

5: Safety and Security

With the rise of dynamic content pages, the creation of thousands of websites per day and the increasing threat of external threats, a secure connection for your school is vital. You need to ensure the safety of your pupils and staff, but also the security of your data and services. Novatech has partnered with Smoothwall and Fortinet for internet monitoring, filtering, firewall, anti-virus and intrusion prevention services.

Our filtering and Firewall solutions ensure your pupils and staff can access relevant online content whilst maintaining the eSafety, safeguarding and data security guidelines. Our selected partners fully adhere to recognised standards such as the Internet Watch Foundation, as and standard we provide the following services with our web filtering:

- Who, What, Where and When policies
- Context and content real time filtering
- HTTPS Filtering
- Forced Safe Search
- Content control on sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter
- Social Media Controls - including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter
- Anonymous proxy detection
- Flexible and comprehensive reporting tools

6: Value for Money

Always compare broadband services on a like-for-like basis and check total costs. Novatech always display all costs upfront and allow you to spread any capital costs over the duration of your contract. Any additional services you may wish to take are also outlined from the start in the same way to give no unwanted surprises mid contract.

7: Reputation

With many connectivity providers in the market, you are more likely to get a reliable and suitable service from a provider with years of experience and a proven record of accomplishment in the education market.

Novatech has over 29 years experience in the education market and is always actively working with schools and our partners to improve upon e-learning, eSafety and safeguarding.

8: Finally

Signing up to any new connectivity provider can be daunting, especially if working on a tight timeframe and when you have many services that rely on your current connection. For Novatech connections we are currently working on 30 day installation times for Superfast Broadband and Broadband+ lines and 56 days for EAD lines. When your line is fully installed and tested, we complete a hand over process allowing you to change services over one by one to your new line before your migration is complete.

Written by

Shayne Grove

IT Specialist for Education

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