Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Internet Bandwidth in BVSD

The transition to online assessments is a journey for everyone. Here in IT, we know that online testing during PARCC, CMAS, i-Ready, and i-Station not only causes stress to you, but to our internet bandwidth as well.


Bandwidth in BVSD
Less than a year ago we had only a 700Mbps connection from the internet. Last April 2014 we increased that capacity to 1Gbps because we were bumping up against that ceiling. And now, just 8 months later, we are again exceeding our new 1GB ceiling.


Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as calling our Internet Service Provider (ISP) and telling them to give us more bandwidth; we have to upgrade the equipment and software that runs our network, and that is a big project.


With resources made available from the bond, we will spend this spring and early summer designing and implementing a bigger pipeline that will accommodate our needs for years to come. By the start of the 2015-16 school year we will have at least double, and up to quadruple, the internet bandwidth we have today.


Short-Term Solutions
Until we have a long-term solution to our bandwidth constraints, we may use several temporary measures to ensure that testing goes as smoothly as possible. These could include:


  • Rate limiting—restricting the amount of bandwidth that any one person can use.


  • Traffic shaping—limiting the type of traffic that bogs down our internet, such as smartphone updates.


  • Quality of service—giving priority to certain types of traffic, such as PARCC testing

What can you do?
Based on our analysis of traffic coming into BVSD from the internet, we know that a measurable amount of it is not directly related to instruction or school district business. March Madness is one example of a time when it might be tempting to check the game during the day, but when many people stream video simultaneously it can use a lot of bandwidth, to the detriment of instruction and testing.


I ask that we all be considerate of our personal internet browsing and limit it to what is essential during school hours.


Our network is indispensable to the education mission of BVSD—it’s a responsibility that IT takes seriously. With your help, I’m confident we can maintain a stable and responsive network environment now and in the future.


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Andrew

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