Internet access within the Iowa City Community School District was interrupted this Sunday morning, August 26th, when Iowa Communications Network (ICN) engineers accidentally cut a district fiber optic connection in Tiffin, IA.
The cut has been repaired and service restored as of Sunday, August 26th at 2:15 PM. We will continue to monitor connectivity for issues going forward, but do not anticipate additional service interruptions.
After a couple of false starts, we successfully completed an upgrade of our internet service through the Iowa 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. Continue reading Internet Service Upgrade Completed→
Each year, I provide a report to the board that provides a high-level view of our technology program, through the lens of particular projects completed, underway, or planned. This will certainly not be the most riveting content I’ve posted to the blog, but for those of you who are interested, I’m posting a summary of that report here.
The 2016-17 school year was one of transition in the Iowa City Community School District’s Office of Technology & Innovation. As we move into winter of 2017-18, we have completed a number of major projects and still have significant initiatives underway or in planning stages. Our departmental performance metrics have generally improved slightly, though I’m excited to see how our work in terms of specific initiatives and in targeted locations will manifest itself in the coming year’s technology program evaluation. Continue reading Technology Annual Report→
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:
Think you’re having a better spring break than me? Think again! While the ICCSD offices are closed today and tomorrow, I get to attend the Iowa Technology & Education Connection IT Conference, a great opportunity to learn about topics related primarily to the operational side of our department, as well as to connect with and learn from peers around the state. Continue reading Spring Break! Time for a technology conference …→
On Monday, February 20th at 6:30 PM, ICCSD will experience an internet service outage due to scheduled maintenance by our internet service provider, the Iowa Communications Network (ICN). During the outage, internet service will not be available within district buildings, and some district-provided web services, such as Exchange email, will not be available. The district website, PowerSchool, and Google services will continue to be available during this time.
While we do not yet have an expectation from the ICN regarding how long this maintenance window will take, we are estimating a four-hour service disruption.