Internet Interruption: Explanation and Resolutions

Yesterday was a challenge for instructional and non-instructional users of our network, and it’s one we’re working to prevent in the future. A failure in our firewall–the device that fights internet intrusions, provides internet filtering, and allows us to manage traffic from the internet to our networks–prevented most users from accessing any internet based resources for much of the day yesterday.

As the district’s new director of technology and innovation, I have made network and Internet reliability my top priorities. There are many other pressing items to address and many exciting digital learning opportunities, and without a robust and predictable network none of that work matters much.

Since arriving at the district in early November, I’ve listened, observed, and learned a great deal. In the technology department, we have a dedicated, smart, and hard working team. This is clear to me after many conversations with all team members, collectively and individually. Based on what I’ve learned, there are actions we can take to make our networks rock solid.

Immediate Upgrades
Already in progress are infrastructure upgrades. As part of a planned update, team members have been coming in on the weekends to install new switches in all of our closets. Though not visible to our users, these switches will allow data to travel on our network at 10 Gbps (currently data travels at up to 1 Gbps).

Over the December break, our team and a group of engineers will be replacing the district’s core switch, upgrading it from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps. This new core switch is much more robust and will serve us well for the foreseeable future as our needs increase and reliability is paramount. In order to install this, ALL in-district networks will be shut down on December 28 and 29, 2015. Google and district email, which are not housed locally (they are cloud based), will not be impacted.

There are other steps I am taking with the team to ensure our network reflects the mission-critical status it now has. I thank you for your understanding as we move to a robust, redundant, predictable, and reliable network and Internet environment.

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