ICT Services 4 Education


School ICT News Bulletin No. 165 - 13/07/2010

Published by Children’s Services

BT Service Statement

During May the BT Managed Service experienced 4 separate incidents that resulted in service outages. BT has carried out a full investigation following each of these incidents.

  • 13th May Fibre cables were cut on main connections to Thetford Node by 3rdparty.  A failure on the Swaffham link resulted in loss of service.
  • 17th May Aylsham Node failed. This was due to a fibre cut by a 3rdparty.  Reconfiguration of the core network restored service.
  • 17th May issues were experienced whilst planned works to upgrade one of the schools bluecoat servers. ICAP Errors stopped schools from scanning any web content. 
  • 19th May Users were unable to browse the internet. The server iron in Baynard House had locked up and a reboot restored the service.

BT are currently reviewing the resilience within the core network that following the failure of 2 or more links at one time the service will  reroute and no loss of service will be experienced.

BT confirms that each incident experienced are isolated incidents and do not show any underlying issues with the stability of the service provided, and acknowledges that 4 incidents in one month is exceptional.

Author: Tanya Allen

Fronter downtime during week beginning 26th July 2010.

There will be a period of instability/unavailability for approximately 2 hours at some point during the week. Also it will not be possible for users to change their usernames or passwords or create new users. Once the new system is implemented normal service will resume. Notifications will be posted on the support site www.frontersupport.com when the unavailability will be and a further notice once normal service is resumed.

This is to allow Fronter to roll out a new user administration system to meet the needs of their growing customer base. In addition to improving the overall service, there are a few additional key benefits:
* Improvements and suggestions can be implemented in much shorter time scales.
* Support for exporting data back to the school or LA which will help with problem solving.
* Contains improved support for bulk username updates (note they will still be unique within the building).
* A stricter, normalized database layout will ensure higher data accuracy and performance.

A reminder to empty room recycle bins
Please can school fronter administrators remember to empty the room recycle bins at their school.  Fronter have produced a school house keeping guide which explains how to do this, please see pages 3-4 of this guide. See this week’s Fronter bulletin in the Norfolk Staffroom for more info.

Author: Pip Cartwright

Fronter Service Level Agreement – Admins, please read

The speed at which Fronter Helpdesk responds to calls is defined by the Service Level Agreement. See this week’s Fronter bulletin in the Norfolk Staffroom for more info.  

We know of at least one call that was outside the agreed response time and will be seeking service credits. Please study the agreement and tell us if you think any of your recent calls were not dealt with appropriately. Send the following information to tanya.allen@norfolk.gov.uk:

  • Fronter service desk#
  • Date fault was reported
  • Date fault was resolved
  • Priority level you think the call should have been placed in
  • Reasons for you placing the call at given priority level
  • Any other information which may support a case that the incident was not dealt with satisfactorily

Author: Pip Cartwright

Fronter Instant Messaging

If you would like to be able to use this facility within Fronter it will require ports 6887 & 6888 to be opened on your school’s router.

To request this, please contact the ICT Solutions Service Desk via ictsolutions@norfolk.gov.uk

Author: Richard Cornelius

Internet access for Norfolk schools – Hardware Replacement Programme

The final piece of hardware which provides Internet access and content filtering to Norfolk schools is due to be replaced on 13th July 2010. BT have advised ICT Solutions there will be no disruption to the Internet service whilst this takes place as the other servers will continue to be fully operational during this period.

Author: Mark Carway

Warning over trial subscriptions

Several schools have reported that they are receiving e-mails from a company called PDC Education Ltd, offering a trial subscription.  Like many of these trial subscription offers, the school will be charged for the full annual subscription without any notification unless they cancel within a set period. In the case of PDC Education Ltd the period is just 7 days. Some schools have not realised that they had to cancel the trial and have automatically been invoiced for £500 with no choice but to pay the invoice.

Please contact the Contracts team at ICT Solutions if you need any advice on school purchases or contracts.

Author: Paul Hurst