SCHOOL ICT NEWS BULLETIN No 125 - 09/05/2008

Published by Children’s Services


Photocopiers

Please be very aware of a photocopier company contacting schools providing Toshiba Photocopiers. This company is called NCS and is not an approved supplier. They are stating they are the cheapest suppliers of photocopiers and they can buy out any of the existing photocopier contracts. If a supplier states they will give you money to pay off an existing contract, that money will be incorporated into a new contract increasing your quarterly payments and overall you will not be financially better off.

The approved photocopier suppliers are – KONICA MINOLTA EAST, CANON UK AND RICOH UK.

The non approved suppliers are – Alpha Business Ltd, ASL - Automated Systems Group Ltd, CHT – Clarkes, Copyfax, Copy IT, Danwood, Datasharp, EBS – Eastern Business Systems, ETC, Green Angel, Insight Copiers , Mayday, Norfolk Copiers, NRG – Ricoh Group of companies Photostatic, Vision, Xcel Office Solutions, Xerox

Important note: Please read the MI Sheet, Management Information MI73/08 in E–Courier. This information is to help and advise all schools when looking at re–newing contracts for photocopiers and telephone systems. Please remember before signing a contract let Leah Fletcher check the contract first and bench mark your quote to make sure that you have received the best value solution for your school. You can contact Leah Fletcher on 01603 475605.

Author: Amanda Carr

Broadband Connection

Audience: Headteachers | Network Managers

Broadband Connection

We have been made aware that some schools within our East of England Regional Broadband Consortium (E2BN RBC), have been approached by companies who are offering alternative broadband services. These services are typically not comparable to the broadband service that your school has.

The table below highlights some of the typical differences:

Norfolk Broadband Service Typical Commercial Offering
Symmetric Connection – where the download speed is the same as the upload speed. This is important when using services such as high speed Video Conferencing (VC) and technologies that are likely to be used in the future such as Voice over IP (VoIP). Asymmetric Connection – where the upload speed is typically much less than the download speed. Most home broadband connections are asymmetric (ADSL) and not conducive to the reliable use of services described in the left-hand column for multiple users.
National Education Network – schools connected the Norfolk broadband service are connected to a Norfolk–wide private and secure Wide Area Network (WAN). This network has security and protection against attacks from the Internet. This WAN is in turn connected to the Norfolk Schools Internet eXchange (NSIX) with the benefits of a range of services (described later). The WAN is also connected to our E2BN RBC and the National Education Network (NEN). This connection to E2BN and the NEN is vital for access to the increasing number of services available. For example, a school can initiate a Video Conferencing session with another school anywhere in the UK. Visit http://www.e2bn.org and http://www.nen.gov.uk for more information. Internet – schools connected directly to the Internet are unlikely to have the same level of managed security and protection and will not have access to NSIX, E2BN and NEN services. As the need to collaborate with other schools across the region and beyond grows evermore important, schools not connected to the NEN will be disadvantaged.
No contention – your Norfolk broadband service enjoys a 1:1 contention ratio. This means that you are not sharing your connection to the WAN with other establishments. If you have an 8Mbps symmetric connection, you have full access to all of this bandwidth. Contention – most ADSL broadband connections have a contention ratio which is usually between 20:1 and 50:1. This means that your 8Mbps asymmetric connection could be reduced by the activity of up to 50 other establishments.

Norfolk Schools Internet eXchange (NSIX) – is a managed service which provides your school with peace of mind when considering E–Safety. When accessing websites on the Internet children and staff are protected from inappropriate material.

Every child and member of staff is also entitled to an Email account. It is important to note that the format of the email account is such that a child cannot be identified by location or gender e.g. jsmith2@gold.esinet.org.uk.

The NSIX service also includes website hosting so that you can share information about your school with your community. This hosting is linked to your official www.yourschool.norfolk.sch.uk domain name.

The NSIX service is currently being upgraded and more information about how this affects your school and the benefits is available at http://www.eficts.norfolk.gov.uk by selecting NSIX Upgrade from the A to Z, or searching for NSIX Upgrade.

Value for money – the devolved funding that you receive for your school’s broadband connection includes many of the extras outlined here and it is difficult to make a direct comparison to apparently similar broadband offerings.

To be eligible for broadband funding Norfolk schools must be connected the Norfolk Schools Broadband Network. This network meets DCSF requirements such as connection to the National Education Network (NEN), 8 or 2 Mbps uncontested and symmetric connections, etc.

Author: Amanda Carr

Service Pack 3 for Windows XP

Microsoft has released the latest service pack for Windows XP. This includes all previous updates for Windows XP plus some feature updates. It does not upgrade Internet Explorer to version 7 if version 6 is installed.

It is available to download from Microsoft’s website and will be part of their Windows / Microsoft Update from the 10th June 2008.

It is recommended that you do not install Service Pack 3 for Windows XP at this time. There have been reports on Internet forums that in some instances the Windows XP installation becomes unstable or some existing applications will not function correctly.

We will hold back the service pack from the Norfolk managed Windows / Microsoft Update servers until it has been thoroughly tested. If you are managing your own Windows / Microsoft Update server we also recommend declining this service pack until you have tested in an isolated environment with your installed software base and configuration.

If you are purchasing new computers it is also recommended that you request them to be installed with Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 from your supplier, as they might ship them with Service Pack 3 pre–installed without asking for your preference.

Author: Amanda Carr

Windows Vista

When purchasing new computers, please keep in mind that Windows Vista might not be suitable for your school network.

You might find that Windows XP is not available from some suppliers. The recommendation is that you ask the supplier to provide you with computers licensed for Windows Vista Business / Ultimate but use the downgrade rights to pre–install Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2. More information about Microsoft downgrade rights can be found in the PDF document linked below:

http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/f/4/5f4c83d3–833e–4f11–8cbd–699b0c164182/royaltyoemreferencesheet.pdf

The Norfolk Standard Product Set recommendation is to use Windows XP Service Pack 2.

Important: Only Windows Vista Business and Vista Ultimate can be downgraded to Windows XP Professional. Windows Vista Home and Basic Home Premium do not have any downgrade rights. The same also applied to Windows XP Home and Media Centre Edition 2005. None of the home versions of Microsoft operating systems are suitable for school or business network environments.

Note: Some computer manufacturers are not making available Windows XP drivers for certain models of laptops and desktops. This makes it virtually impossible to successfully install Windows XP Professional. Please ensure that new computers have suitable drivers for Windows XP Service Pack 2. If you are unsure please contact your supplier.

Author: Amanda Carr

Malicious Media Files

It has been reported by MacAfee that there is a Trojan being propagated via peer–to–peer file sharing sites on the Internet.

These Trojans are in the form of MP3 music and MPG video files but will not play in standard media players such as Windows Media Player. Instead you will be asked to download and install a different media player. Do not download this player as it contains spyware and adware and will cause pop–ups on infected machines.

Many of the names of the media files suggest that they are copyrighted movies such as The Lion King for example.

Some more information can be found on the MSN website:

http://tech.uk.msn.com/news/article.aspx?cp-documentid=8258878

Please remember that downloading illegal copyrighted material from peer–to–peer file shares and warez sites is against the law.

Author: Amanda Carr

New Filtering Categories

On the 2nd May 2008 our Internet Service Provider attempted to implement an adjusted filtering configuration containing new categories. Unfortunately, this configuration did not work as expected in the live environment and so the service was restored to it’s previous state.

Our Internet Service Provider has identified the fault in the previous configuration. The fault has been rectified and is now being tested. Once testing has been completed successfully, our service provider will roll–out the new filtering categories next week.

The new categories can be found on our website.

Author: Jay Zelos

Generic Email Service Changes

ICT Solutions recently advised in our eBulletin* of a change to your school’s generic email accounts, such as: head@, office@, ictc@ and chairofgov@ email accounts and how these are configured. The reason for this change is that the feedback we have received to date indicates that this service no longer meets the needs of its users. Specific feedback advises that users require bigger mailboxes, better anti–spam protection, sharable address books, calendar functionality, etc. Therefore, a Microsoft Exchange 2007 based service has been recommended as a replacement for the generic email accounts used by Norfolk schools.

A school information pack is will be made available in due course which will detail how this change affects your school and any actions you need to take.

The intended pilot roll–out will begin the week commencing the 12th May 2008 and pilot schools will be contacted individually to let them know.

* refers to eBulletin numbers 117 and 120.

Author: Amanda Carr

e1 Upgrade to Version 3

Pearson Phoenix will be re–applying the e1 upgrade to version 3 over the weekend. The system will be taken off–line at 5pm today (Friday 9th May). Schools should be able to access the system again from midday tomorrow (Saturday 10th).

A patch, related to school census requirements, is going to be applied and has been planned for Tuesday 13th May, but schools wishing to do a dry run can still do so and shouldn’t experience any problems. A further patch will be applied on Thursday 22nd May.

ICT Solutions apologises for any inconvenience caused during this time.

Author: Amanda Carr

Internet Downtime

BT are performing a power uplift of the server farm which will result in some outage. This work is due to take place over the bank holiday weekend from the 24th May to the 26th May.

This will affect Internet access and all other NSIX services.

Emails for Exchange schools will be queued on the server during this period.

Author: Jay Zelos

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