Network and Internet Service
The Link2ICT Network & Internet Service was conceived in 1998 with a specific focus on learners and education.
With over 15 years’ experience and development, we have the expertise to provide the robust, reliable connectivity essential to manage schools while supporting the delivery of quality teaching and learning.
More than just an ISP
Our service is more than just an ISP and comes with a host of value added services including all of the necessary security and safeguarding measures to keep your learning community safe and aligned to education best practice.
School connectivity is very different to commercial Internet use, whether it is a small primary school or a large secondary school. Like Link2ICT, your provider should have a history of providing education services while demonstrating a sufficient understanding of what is required for the curriculum, administrative and operational needs of your school - different providers offer different services.
Link2ICT offers several tiers of connectivity:
- ADSL2+ (up to the maximum speed supported by your line)
- 10Mbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP)
- 100Mbps FTTP
- 1000Mbps/1Gbps FTTP (please speak to your Account Manager with regard to this product)
Our fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connections provide a dedicated line into each establishment ensuring you receive synchronous speeds for both uploads and downloads. As cloud-based services increasingly represent both the source and destination of school data transfers a synchronous connectivity service is a significant benefit to uninterrupted teaching and learning.
A Link2ICT FTTP connection, provided by Virgin Media, also offers improved reliability compared to connections that depend on legacy copper telephone lines in the last-mile (such as ADSL and Fibre-to-the-Cabinet, also referred to as FTTC).
For connections that rely on copper, the distance between the cabinet and your premises along with the quality of the copper cabling will determine your ultimate speed. The greater the distance, the slower your download and upload speeds will be.
An FTP connection is 100% fibre and does not suffer from the same limitations and as such is the Link2ICT recommended connection type.
Data Security & Safeguarding
Link2ICT and the Local Authority currently share responsibility with your school for securing data under the requirements of the Data Protection Act due to occupancy of the same single secure network. Data transfer, to and from the Local Authority, within the Birmingham City Council wide-area-network (WAN) is a secure means of transmission through the use of a private network. Directly Internet-facing external connections do not offer the same high level of security.
Remote Network Access (VPN)
Secure remote connectivity to onsite systems is an essential tool. The BGfL Virtual Private Network (VPN) service enables staff to quickly and securely connect to your establishment’s network from home using any internet- connected Windows or Mac OS X device. Link2ICT offers five free accounts for Primary schools and ten free accounts for Secondary schools.
Our managed Web Filtering service utilises the class-leading McAfee Web Gateway product to ensure that pupils only have access to appropriate Internet sites and content, therefore preventing the risk of exposure to inappropriate or harmful material. Link2ICT will implement customised filtering polices upon request, providing a tailored filtering service for individual school requirements.
Delegated Web Administration
Our Delegated Web Administration Service (WebDA) puts your school in control of what your pupils and staff can and cannot access, giving you direct responsibility over your own filtering policies and allowing you to make changes, as you need them, to meet your unique teaching and learning needs.
Transparent Internet Access
The recently introduced Transparent Internet Access service is a free enhancement to the Managed Web Filtering service, providing filtered internet access for devices that do not support the configuration of a proxy or where it is not desirable for a proxy to be configured, e.g. non-school owned/guest devices.
Link2ICT provides a managed email security service through the McAfee Email Gateway product, protecting registered email domains from all forms of malicious or inappropriate messaging (such as spam, phishing, malware, viruses and profanity). For schools using the Link2ICT Zimbra email service, email filtering is included.
Your centrally hosted next-generation BGfL firewall offers inbound protection against malicious traffic and increased flexibility around outbound access to cloud-based services and applications that were not originally designed to be used in an enterprise network (and as such may not be proxy-aware or fully proxy-compliant) such as iTunes and other Apple services.
Network Monitoring Service
Link2ICT can host and manage the domain used by your school. This domain (usually schoolname.bham.sch.uk) represents your presence on the internet and is required for email, for hosting and other services that you wish to present to the world.
Public IP Addressing
The Birmingham Grid for Learning (BGfL) is a Local Internet Registry (LIR) and as such is able to provide external IP addresses to allow individual schools to host their own Internet facing services protected by the BGfL firewall estate.
Access to Resources & Educational Content
Access to education content and resources as provided by the National Education Network (NEN) and its members, JANET/JISC, Services for Schools and School Finance Systems are all available through a private BGfL connection and are not accessible via external connections.