After a couple of false starts, we successfully completed an upgrade of our internet service through the opens in a new windowIowa Communications Network (ICN) just over a week ago. The most substantial impact of this change is that our internet bandwidth has been expanded from 1Gb to 3Gb, a critical improvement (more on that below).
Why was this upgrade necessary?
Once we completed the upgrade, issues we had been facing with internet performance almost immediately vanished. Prior to the upgrade, we were seeing our bandwidth max out immediately at the beginning of the school day, and it would remain that way until school was out for the day. This means that – at any given time – we had more demand for bandwidth than our service could accommodate, resulting in slow performance and intermittent drops / loading errors. You can see this in the chart at right, which shows our demand and usage prior to the upgrade. Read More »
Our internet service upgrade – scheduled for last night – has been delayed until next week after we encountered an unexpected problem. We do not have a specific date/time for the next upgrade window, but I’ll post that here as soon as we’ve completed a conference call with the involved parties.
At 5:00 PM, ICCSD network administrators, working with Iowa Communications Network (ICN) and Lightedge Solutions engineers, switched our internet connection from our current 1Gb ICN connection to the new 3Gb ICN connection. A component of this switch also includes moving from our current internally-managed Palo Alto firewall to a Lightedge-managed Fortinet firewall; staying on our existing Palo Alto hardware is not an option, as it cannot handle the 3Gb throughput required for the new connection.
The internet connection worked properly, as did all but one of the mission critical services that we had previously identified as potential points of failure during the internet service upgrade. One service, however – a VPN tunnel to a particular site – was not successfully brought online after implementation of the new firewall. We attempted troubleshooting until the close of our announced upgrade window, but with no success were forced to revert to the previous settings and service.
What should I expect moving forward?
As previously mentioned, we’ll be rescheduling the upgrade window as soon as possible, likely for next week. We’ve already identified the steps necessary to solve the issue with the site that didn’t come up, and now need to coordinate availability on the part of ICN and Lightedge. I’ll post a specific date/time as soon as we have one.
Since the upgrade was not successful, I expect that internet performance issues will continue for the coming (approximately) week. Our network administrators have been tuning quality-of-service settings over the past couple of weeks in order to prioritize critical or interruption-intolerant traffic, and will continue to do so in order to make the most of the 1Gb service we currently have.
As mentioned in my previous post on this topic, we expect all internet performance problems to be immediately resolved following the successful upgrade to 3Gb service. We appreciate your patience as we work through this process.
UPDATE: This upgrade was unsuccessful (details here); we’ll be rescheduling the upgrade for next week.
Tonight is a big night for our internet service in the Iowa City Schools; a long-planned upgrade will take place beginning at 5:00 PM (on September 27th) that will expand our service from 1Gb bandwidth to 3Gb. Here’s what you need to know:
Read More »
While we’ve taken many steps to opens in a new window expand our network access and performance over the past few months, the reality is that opens in a new windowall networks face hard limits in terms of the amount of data that can be moved at once.
In order to ensure that teachers and students are able to maximize internet and network performance, here are a few useful tips: Read More »
As Labor Day passes, we’re beginning the third week of the school year in Iowa City and really starting to roll towards 2018. While this time of year is always ridiculously busy for the Technology & Innovation office – it’s not uncommon in our district and others to see support requests come in at five to six times the normal rate during the first month or so of the school year – this year has been our craziest yet. Read More »