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.

Installation process

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?

Timing will depend on how your school is connected to the Managed Network and how you use our services. We expect the upgrade to take up to an hour and a half. This will include; testing the system and assessing your school’s existing connection, installing the new router, configuring and testing the network connection, and setting up network services in a way that meets the needs and preferences of your school.

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

Yes. There will be interruption to your internet while we install the new hardware.  We’ll do our best to minimise your 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’ll be publishing the list of IT support companies we’re working with as our technology partners on our website. We expect this list to be published by the end of August, with the possibility of new companies added throughout the year. If you have 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?

Your school’s N4L tech is expected to remain at your school for up to an hour and a half to complete the installation process. However, it could be longer depending on the IT complexity of your school. You’ll be able to directly contact one of our team if you have any questions or need help after your installation.

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