Managed Network Upgrade FAQs

Below are some questions that you may have regarding the rollout of the Managed Network Upgrade.

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What are the benefits of the upgrade to schools?

The Managed Network Upgrade will provide a smarter and safer online learning environment. This means:

  • Enhanced network security to keep up with evolving threats (e.g. malware, phishing and other online attacks)
  • Improved individualised and group filtering – i.e. modify filtering based on the needs of your students and classes    
  • Greater ability to manage VPN (Virtual Private Network) used to bypass internet filtering
  • Smarter reporting and analysis of how your network is being used
  • An easier way to upgrade to more bandwidth when required
What’s the key difference from the solution we are using now and why is N4L upgrading it?

As the online world continues to evolve, we need to ensure our services evolve too. In order for your school to benefit from the Managed Network Upgrade, we need to replace your school’s N4L hardware. The new hardware will mean schools have a combined router, firewall and internet filtering solution designed by cybersecurity company Fortinet. N4L will continue to centrally manage the service as part of the wider Managed Network offering.

What is FortiGate?

FortiGate is a cloud-managed filtering and firewall device by cybersecurity company Fortinet – who provide enterprise-grade security solutions to government organisations, schools, and businesses worldwide. FortiGate is just one component within the Managed Network keeping your school safe.

How do we make changes to the upgraded internet filtering?

Every school sets up their internet filtering rules to meet the needs of their internet use and safety policies. Our team will work with your school to make sure these settings are transferred to the new solution. Once your school has the new N4L hardware installed, modifications to your internet filtering can be made by your school by contacting our Helpdesk. This is just a short-term solution and you will soon be able to make filtering changes yourself – we’ll keep you updated on when this is available.

What if I had customised filtering rules? Will they remain the same?

Our team will work with you to ensure your customised filtering rules are carried over to the new solution during the installation.

Is there any training we can do to get the most out of the new security solution?

There is no immediate training required; however if you want to learn more about how you can make the most of the Managed Network Upgrade using the new device, we will be writing a series of articles and training resources for Support Hub.

My school has integrated user identity, what does the upgrade mean for us?

We’ll ensure that your school continues to have identity integrated after the upgrade. In order to do this, we’ll need to copy your existing configuration when we upgrade your Managed Network connection. Our team will work with your nominated IT contact to make sure this all happens smoothly.

How do I know if user identities have been integrated successfully?

There are a couple of ways to tell. The first is if users have to enter a username and password before they can access the internet, the other is if you can report on what individual users have done on the internet. We’ll contact you if this applies to your school.

Do I need to do anything to re-configure identity for my school?

We may require your nominated IT contact to perform some prerequisite admin work to successfully migrate your identity configuration, including providing us with specific information that allows N4L to upgrade your school’s setup.

What are LDAP credentials?

These credentials are a username and password which allow N4L’s Web Filtering to access user’s details in your school’s network directory service. We’ll require these in order to migrate your identity configuration successfully.

Will I notice any changes with my school’s set up?

In most cases you won’t notice any difference. There may be some instances though where users might be prompted to enter their username and password when they first access the internet, and not only when accessing specific privileged sites.

My school has SSL inspection implemented, what does that mean for us?

One of our engineers will be in touch with your nominated IT contact prior to the scheduled upgrade, as there is some additional effort required to redeploy the SSL certificates to all devices. If your school has an external IT support company, we’ll also be working closely with them on the day to ensure your school’s upgrade is as smooth as possible.

Will we need to redeploy SSL certificates to all devices?

 Yes, we’ll be providing your nominated IT contact a link to a new certificate (along with instructions) that will need to be deployed to all devices. This will need to be completed at least a week prior to your school’s scheduled upgrade. We’re on hand to help, so if you have any questions about this please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Installation process

When will my school be upgraded?

To find out when your school is expected to be upgraded,  you can check out this map. We’ll be in touch in advance to schedule a day and time that suits your school for the installation of the new N4L hardware.

How is the order of schools being determined?

We’re committed to providing equitable access to our technology services. This remains true through the rollout of hardware across 2400+ schools. While this does present its challenges, we’ll be working with schools and technology partners to ensure that the rollout scheduling reflects a diverse range:

  • School size: based on student roll
  • School type: primary, intermediate, composite, secondary
  • Location: region – including rural and urban*
  • Decile

*Subject to the regional availability and training of partner services

Schedules will be confirmed in monthly batches, with school’s notified in advance of the onsite installation.

What if the timeframe you choose for my school to do the installation doesn’t suit?

We will work with your nominated IT Leader to confirm a day and time is scheduled within your allocated month. Due to an installation being required at every school, it is only under exceptional circumstances that we are able to consider upgrading a school outside of specified times.

What time slots and days are available for the installations?

Installations will be scheduled Monday to Thursday, 9am, 11am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm.  

Will my school be upgraded during weekends or school holidays (or outside of school hours)?

Upgrades are scheduled to take place from Monday to Thursday during school hours, with a choice of time slots available. However, we will consider upgrading a limited number of schools during school holidays. Applications will be considered on a case by case basis and will need to be fully supported by the school’s allocated IT support company.

Will my school’s installation take place during exam time?

Our aim is to work with your school to schedule a date and time that suits within your allocated month and avoid any exam times.

What does the installation process involve for my school?

We will be upgrading the N4L router in your school with new, smarter hardware – which means an N4L tech from one of our technology partners will need to visit your school to complete the install onsite, and will require access to where your N4L hardware is installed. The N4L tech will work with the school to ensure appropriate testing is carried out before and after the hardware is replaced, and also confirm when the internet outage is about to occur.

How long will the installation process take?

We expect your installation to take between 1-3 hours. Installation time varies based on the way a school network is configured. We will provide indicative timing when a school schedule is confirmed. All installations include the physical installation, customised configuration and testing to ensure the schools requirements are met.

Will my school’s internet be interrupted during the installation process?

Yes. There will be an interruption when we switch the routers, and we expect this to take around 30 minutes with additional downtime possible. However, it could be longer depending on the size, location and IT complexity of your school. Our aim is to minimise internet downtime to an absolute minimum during the upgrade.

Who will be doing the installation?

We’re working with a number of IT support companies, representing N4L, to complete the upgrade of N4L hardware in your school. The IT support company allocated to your school may be your existing external IT support company, if they are one of our technology partners for the upgrade rollout. If you use a different IT support company or don’t have an external IT support company, one of our technology partners will be allocated to take care of your school’s upgrade.

Can I use my own external IT support company to complete my installation?

We’ve published a list of IT support companies we’re working with as our technology partners on our website. If your school has been assigned a technology partner that is different from the external IT support company you normally work with, then they are welcome to attend the upgrade, however this will be at the cost of the school.

What happens if we don’t have an external IT support company?

If your school doesn’t have external IT support, or uses an external IT support company that isn’t one of our technology partners, we’ll appoint one for you who will be acting on our behalf.

How long will someone be at the school for?

It really depends on the setup of your network. We expect the N4L tech to be onsite between 1-3 hours and to complete all installation processes. This includes testing at the beginning and end of the process to ensure your service is working as it should be. You’ll be kept in the loop throughout the process and we’ll supply the relevant contact details in advance should you have questions.  

Is there anything we need to do pre, post or during the installation?

Your allocated technology partner will work with your nominated IT Leader to confirm a day and time. In order to ensure a seamless transition and reduce disruption, we will be unable to implement any changes to your network (e.g. changes to firewall or web filtering) during the week leading up to your scheduled appointment. We will also need your IT Leader to be available while we’re onsite installing the new N4L hardware.

Who do we contact regarding issues after the installation?

Call 0800 LEARNING to speak to a dedicated member of our team who will be on hand to support your school.

Why October 2019? How can you guarantee the upgrade will be completed by then?

We are aiming to upgrade all schools before the end of Term 2 2019. The vendor of our current filtering solution has earmarked October 2019 as the ‘End of Life’ for its product. We have been performing rigorous testing of the new FortiGate solution, and have made sure we are able to upgrade schools at a rate that will ensure we meet this deadline.

How much will the upgrade cost?

The Managed Network is fully funded for state and state-integrated schools. The funding for the upgrade is part of the $211 million committed until 2020-21 to establish the Managed Network and fund schools connectivity to it.

Still have questions? We’ve got a dedicated team on hand to help.
Give them a call on 0800 LEARNING, or email info@n4l.co.nz