Wiring-Closet-LG.jpgNew Internet Services at Leland and Gray

Kevin Burke

Townshend - As you all hopefully know by now, we have installed a brand-new Internet service at Leland and Gray, but this is only part of a larger picture. What has been happening recently is that federal funds have been provided to the state of Vermont to install "middle mile" trunk lines in order to make it easier for that "last mile" access that we have been anticipating for many years. SoVerNet was chosen as the company to provide this service known as the "Fiber Connect" project. Leland and Gray was chosen as an anchor institution, along with the local libraries, to receive a direct fiber connection. This anchor institution designation makes Leland and Gray the hub for our entire district, which allows us to manage Internet traffic to all the elementary schools, so L&G gets the benefit of having the primary connection, which in turn makes you all the primary beneficiaries of this new service.

aerohive-access-point

You may also have noticed that the old wireless access points have been disappearing as well. There is no longer a "white cart" or "E – 11" to look for and wonder if you are going to be able to access what you want. What we have replaced it with is a system that is known as a "full mesh" set of access points throughout the school. Now there are only three IDs that will show up on your wireless device, which allow you to access our network. There are "LG guest," "LG Classroom," and "LG Faculty – Staff." With this new system you are now able to roam freely throughout the school and maintain your connection with any wireless device. These two new systems are helping us to be on par with the rest of the developed world as far as connectivity and speed.

What this means for you is that we now have unprecedented download and upload speeds giving you the ability to provide rich content to your students at any time of the day without wondering if your content will load or not. What this also means is that the entire network is much more organized giving us, the IT Department, the ability to manage all of the public printers, the servers, and the network traffic more efficiently.

This change also has its costs and there are many sites that are blocked now. This is a result of a new piece of equipment we have installed that filters all of the website traffic for the entire district. This is a brand-new piece of equipment and by default it is filtering out more than we have ever filtered before. That said, we have a greater ability to fine tune these filters than we had previously. So, if there is content that you cannot access, please send us an email with your request at it@lelandandgray.org. We are presently working on the system to get it up to where we need it, but we cannot know everything without your help.

One aspect of this system that I would like to address and hopefully impress upon you is the concept of access levels. We have set up three access levels that are coordinated with the wireless IDs that I mentioned earlier.

The first is the LG Faculty Staff access. This level of access allows fairly unfettered access to the Internet. This access is found through the wireless access points, provided you have the proper credentials (password). The other way this network can be accessed is through the wired network (no password).

Accessing the network with a wired connection is the main concept I really want you to understand and be aware of. If you find a student with their computer plugged into the wired network, then they have the ability to access any computer on the network as well as the "fairly unfettered" access to the Internet. This should not happen without adult supervision. If you come across a student with their computer plugged in to the wired network, then you need to ask them to disconnect immediately and send them to the IT Department. No student should be connected to the wired network without permission. In the behavior referral form, this is considered a "yellow behavior" for Misuse of Technology.

The next level of access, is the LG Classroom network. This network is only accessible with the proper credentials (password). This network is mainly for the computer carts. Each cart will be able to print to the printer on the cart. The exception to this involves the computers that are available to borrow from the IT office and on the smaller five and 10 computer carts. These loaner laptops and small carts will have the ability to print to the IT Department printer and the Library Lab printer. Not all of them have been updated as of yet.

The next level of access is the LG Guest network. This network is for guests and students who bring their own machines to school. This includes all devices that have wireless access built into them. This network does not require any password but it does have a page (Captive Portal) that appears and requires the "digital signature" of the user, in order to access the internet. This level is also the most restrictive. As of now, it is filtered quite heavily and we are working on fixing some of the finer details like getting students access to their Gmail accounts. This network is also restricted in terms of bandwidth use. This means that any services that may use an inordinate amount of bandwidth will be restricted, such as YouTube, Pandora, social media services, and others.

Please be patient with us while we work out and fine-tune the new equipment. The only way we can truly make this system work most efficiently is through feedback from you. Again, if you have any access issues or other problems with the new system, you can try sending an email to IT@lelandandgray.org or through one or more of the analog channels we know and love such as the telephone, written note, or seeing us in person.