From the N4L website:
“N4L’s managed network has been designed specifically for schools, providing safe, predictable and fast internet with uncapped data; online content filtering and network security services.”
The government, through N4L is providing schools with free high speed, unlimited internet with options of security services and content filtering. Schools are able to choose themselves what security services they use and what filters are set to meet the needs of their community.
“The Managed Network will run over fibre and will be capable of connecting more than 800,000 students, educators, and school administrators across the country.” (Connecting to the Managed Network/Overview)
If your school is already connected to the N4L managed network:
If you're waiting for connection:
We've been on the N4L for most of this year.
I remember when the "customer acquisitions manager" @Gary-Wicks came in to talk to us about N4L. I laughed at the title; he sounded like the wicked witch from Hansel and Gretel, "acquiring" customers. He told us that as a "Smart Net" school, we were able to be in the second roll out of N4L. He outlined what this meant. The principal just stared.
"And? What are the fish hooks?" No fish hooks. Just free UFB. Great! And we should see an increase in speed of access, particularly upload speed. Naturally, I immediately followed Gary on Twitter, so I could find him if that didn't come true!
N4L farms out the installation, and I have to say that I was a little disappointed that I found myself crawling around in the server cabinet, one hand on my cell phone, as I tried to install the Cisco router with phone instructions from Smart Net. All good, and the technician we employ from a local firm, who comes in once a week to do the "hard stuff," checked that what I had done in the cupboard and in the "works", was all okay. Anyhoo - it all worked!
Our SNUP and fibre installation both took place last year, so we were like the Thunderbirds - all go. We hadn'tt been worried with speed previous to N4L however; issues in some blocks were fixed when we installed the Unifi units.
However - there are issues with speed now which we haven't sorted out. The problem is that while we think our wireless system is good - Unifi enterprise units - one between two rooms, we certainly didn't go for top cabinet stuff. We also now have a huge number of devices going a lot of the time - maybe 120 or more at any one time, and in a school with 11 classes, that is a lot. Because we are an intermediate, a lot of it is gaming, coding or video. Heavy on the system! However - we all like instant, so speed is relative.
I've just done a speed test at 4.09pm and have to say, it doesn't look great and there are only a dozen devices going right now:
As a self taught "fixer" I only took on the roll because I was teacher in charge of elearning and that meant everyone assumed I knew how to do the nuts and bolts stuff too. So I do depend on good advice. I am the DP - not a technician.
I'd love someone to tell us how to fix this. I got on the phone with N4L and had great service from a great technician - sorry - can't remember your name - who assured me that the upload and down load speed I could see was okay when it was an ethernet port connection. Granted, that day both wireless and ethernet were 50-70mb/s. What I want to know is why IS it worse since the connection? Our dear technician can't help me on that one.
The help desk has been MARVELLOUS. Instant help on opening and closing sites; when we were first connected, we lost Youtube which these days we recognise to be a very useful source of flipped learning. And I couldn't access Twitter, which, anyone who knows me, is a must!
So - the good side: free UFB which we were clocking up before. Neat people who try to help out from afar. The downside - dedicated folk nearby who can wave a magic wand and fix stuff.
All advice appreciated!
Thanks for getting the ball rolling in this forum and sharing your story. Interesting you had to be crawling around the server cabinet yourself to install a router.
I also have had great service from the N4L staff (all Pond related in my case, but still excellent!)
I hope to hear that your speed issues are sorted soon. Please keep us informed.
Annemarie, you have me a little worried. We are have been connected to Rural UFB at 100mbs through CallPlus which works great apart from rainy days when for some reason it slows down for nearly 2 years now (must be a out in the country thing!). Great for our BYOD etc. We can get up to 80 devices going at any one time which isn't too bad for a roll of 110! We are also a SmartNet school and have Unifi Wireless, which we installed for probably the same reason as you - affordability and simplicity. Dmart Net set up a VLAN for students for me so it switches on and off automatically at the beginning and end of school day and we run a separate teacher WLAN.
Anyway we have NFL coming on Monday to begin the process of switching over but am a bit concerned as like you I'm the DP who happens to have learnt a bit so is it! We also will be slowing down to a 50mbs connection but it will be FREE! Also looking forward to joining POND if anyone has an invitation going out there! Great to hear that they are really helpful and available.
So I'll write to through the process and now ask a few more questions on Monday.
HI there, apparently my school has just signed up as well, without really knowing what we are in for. But it is being sold as the answer to all our problems and we will have so many resources to look at that we wont know where to start.......... I would love to receive an invite as so far no one at our school has had a look......