Category: Service

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.

Slow internet

Good morning.

We have received multiple reports of slow internet this morning. RM are investigating. Apologies for the disruption.

Thanks,
Kevin Crawley

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.

Websites that use websockets – Chromebooks

When using Chromebooks, you may experience issues accessing websites that use websockets. In these instances, the browser on the Chromebook attempts to go out to the internet using the SOCKS protocol entry from the proxy settings.

Normally sessions go out to the internet using the top 3 protocols (HTTP and HTTPS especially). Other devices (Windows etc) have the SOCKS protocol blank so it will send the session to the internet via HTTP/HTTPS instead. On Chromebooks if you’ve set a proxy (wf1.thegrid.org.uk etc) via G-Suite it ticks it for all protocols (including SOCKS). However, RM do not support the SOCKS protocol and this makes the outbound connection fail.

There are some high profile websites that use websockets such as SCOMIS, Spotify, and LiveStorm. It may also cause issues when using the remote desktop web client into a LARA server.

There are a couple of fixes!

Option 1) remove the entry from the SOCKS protocol, and leave it blank.
Option 2) schools connect the Chromebooks to a transparent proxy network (typically a 10.* range), instead of the proxied network (172.* range)

If you have any queries, please get in touch with our Service Desk. Thanks

May Half Term – a good time for some housekeeping?

With Half Term on the horizon, it might be a good idea to review the firewall access that you have in place. Are there legacy firewall rules that can be removed? Of course if firewall rules are no longer needed, the access should be disabled. I would encourage you to pay particular attention to inbound access. Have you previously deployed access to an internally hosted server that has since been decommissioned? Or have you provided access for a company to connect into the school network and you no longer work with them? It is the school’s responsibility to let us know if access is no longer required, otherwise it will remain in place.

To find out what is in place at your school, please get in touch with our Broadband Service Desk. We would recommend you viewing this information in SafetyNet and we will be happy to talk you through the information  that you are looking at.

Thanks,

Kev

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