Category: RM

Proxy issues?

In the early hours of this morning, RM engineers added some new SafetyNet Load Balancers into service. This was planned maintenance work to ensure the service remains stable. We have received some reports this morning advising us that there are problems browsing the internet today. This is back with RM who are investigating…

I’ll add another update shortly.

Thanks,

Kevin Crawley

Speed issues

We believe this has now been resolved. It looks like there were two simultaneous issues;

  • RM’s transit to Google was being maxed out. RM will be implementing new routers with 100G links to deal with the increased traffic volumes. RM is hoping for this will be completed by the end of the month.
  • There were also six minor DDoS attacks to the proxy farm IPs at the same time of high utilisation of Google traffic. RM is working with a third party company to mitigate these attacks. As they were minor attacks, it didn’t trigger the automatic mitigation system. RM will be working closely with their third party to investigate what went wrong and to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

If there are any further queries, please contact the HfL Broadband Team.

Possible Google update and reports of slow internet

Yesterday afternoon (18th October) we received some reports of slow internet.

RM suspect that there was a Google update released which resulted in higher than usual volumes of traffic – and this in turn would cause a slow internet experience. Typically, the RM transit (for Google) utilises at a maximum of 8Gbps, but yesterday it went over 10Gbps.

In fact there were three instances yesterday where the transit bandwidth utilisation exceeded the capacity, timescales for which are updated below.

8.48-9.08
11.25-11.40
13.55-14.03

RM is closely monitoring the situation.

HfL Broadband

I am sure many of you are aware that HfL Broadband has replaced our previous HICS service. I have been intending to update you on the renewal numbers for a while now – but the last few months have been very busy. No doubt the vast majority of you are also feeling the pressure in these unprecedented times!

Up to September 30th 2020, 508 schools were contracted to receive their broadband provision through HfL. We are pleased to say that only 49 of these schools did not renew through us. It’s an extremely competitive market and we are delighted with the renewals numbers. We also had two schools who left us three years ago, decide to re-join.

There were lots of different reasons these schools left our provision: schools closing, infants and junior schools merging and only needed the one connection, schools joining out of county provisions and of course others just wishing to contract elsewhere. We wish all of these schools the best in their new scenarios.

There are 150 schools that are increasing their internet speed either by installing a different type of internet circuit or by increasing their bandwidth on their existing infrastructure. As I am sure that you can imagine there are currently lots of challenges associated to the work that is required and we will be working closely with RM to make sure that this is as problem free as possible.

We would like to extend our thanks to RM, and of course to all schools and I.T. support companies who have worked with us, particularly in the challenging circumstances due to the pandemic. We value your custom and look forward to working closely with you during the new three year contract. If you have questions or need advice, please contact us on either help@sd.hertsforlearning.co.uk or by phoning 01438 844777.

Stay safe!

Kevin Crawley

SSL Connect (VPN) Service Improvements

Following on from our communication yesterday, we have been in discussions with RM to identify how we can jointly support you as effectively as possible for the use of VPN

Within the next 24 hours the following changes will take place:

·         All schools will each be upgraded from 10 concurrent sessions to 50

·         The HICS network was previously capped at 500 concurrent connections.  Burst capacity will be enabled for up to 2500 connections

·         The duration of user connections timing out when they are inactive has been reduced to 10 minutes.  This will reduce the amount of connections which are left dormant, making them available for others to use.

We hope this will drastically improve the effectiveness of the service during this difficult period of time and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.

SSL Connect Update

We reported yesterday that some of our customers have been experiencing difficulties when using SSL Connect Remote Working (VPN). The network is under an immense amount of strain at the moment due to the large volumes of people working from home. In order to ensure this remains as accessible as possible to all, please follow the guidance below:

–          Only log into SSL Connect when needing to access school-hosted resources (e.g. SIMs servers) and log off immediately after using them.  Accessing cloud-based resources (e.g. Microsoft Office 365 and Google G-suite won’t need a VPN connection)

–          Ensure that you proactively log out of SSL Connect when you do not need remote access to ensure that your session terminates immediately without leaving it to time-out

–          If your school is likely to have more than 10 concurrent users at any one time, please let us know via the Service Desk, so that we can do all we can to ensure the correct resources are allocated to you