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Internet Connectivity Resilience For Education

Moving Services to the Cloud Demands Reliable Internet

With many services being moved “to the cloud”, this puts a lot of demand on schools and colleges having an internet connection that not only provides enough bandwidth but is also reliable and available when needed.

We all know that things can go wrong from time to time, and that can impact on productivity. Having a service with the right Service Level Agreement (SLA) in place is essential. Having an internet backup in place can also help with continuity for mission-critical services. Being able to get things back on track as quickly as possible should things go wrong is also crucial.

Department for Education Guidelines

The Department for Education has set out guidelines for broadband internet standards for schools and colleges:

1. Full Fibre Connection

Schools and colleges should use a full fibre connection for their broadband service. Broadband should be provided using a full fibre connection, sometimes described as:

  • A leased line
  • Fibre to the premises (FTTP)

Note: Copper connections, while widely used in schools at present, do not meet this standard.

2. Backup Broadband Connection

Schools and colleges should have a backup broadband connection to ensure resilience and maintain continuity of service. You should investigate which backup internet services are available and implement appropriate systems. Your broadband/service provider will be able to advise on possible solutions and costs.Technical requirements to meet the standard:

  • Multiple broadband connection services (of different service types)
  • Multiple routers and appropriate associated router programming to provide automatic failover to backup services as and when required
  • Redundant power options on core active network equipment

Resilience Options

There are numerous ways to provide resilience, depending on the level of resilience you wish to achieve, and different levels of resilience come at different price points. One of our most popular dedicated internet services for businesses and schools where downtime is not an option is BTnet, a resilience guide can be downloaded here.

Taking two services from two different providers may seem like a good idea, but is often not as resilient as you may think. There is a high probability that both connections will take the same route, be served by the same core PoP and local exchange and can present multiple single points of failure.

Also adding a second line AFTER the first line or existing line has been installed can also be not as resilient as you may think.

In order to provide full diverse routing, and get service from two local exchanges and two core PoPs, ordering what is known as RO2 (resilience option 2) is a great choice. This variant is commonly regarded as “belts and braces” resilience. When ordering an RO2 service, the provider can plan both routes at the same time to achieve seperacy as much as possible, reducing common points of failure. The options below are what we offer on BTnet.


Single Connection

  • 1 Core Point of Presence (PoP)
  • 1 Local Exchange
  • 1 route to the property
  • With or without managed router

Backup (Similar to failover)

  • 1 Core PoP
  • 2 Local Exchanges
  • 1 shared route to the property
  • 1 active line at any one time
  • Normally with managed router
  • Single Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP)
  • Secondary connection normally smaller than the primary
  • With managed routers

Failover (RO2)

  • 2 Core PoPs
  • 2 Local Exchanges
  • 2 diverse routes to the property
  • 1 active line at any one time
  • With managed routers
  • Single Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP)

Load Balanced (RO2)

  • 2 Core PoPs
  • 2 Local Exchanges
  • 2 diverse routes to the property
  • 2 active lines set up as Dual HSRP (essentially a dual failover and two active connections)
  • Bandwidth available on both connections
  • With or without managed routers


The further down the list you go the more expensive the resilience type tends to be. Pricing is made up from various elements and distance to a serving exchange can be a factor too.

Sometimes existing resilience types can be converted to provide additional throughput without the need to necessarily have new infrastructure installed.

HM Network Solutions

HM Network has been providing internet options and resilient internet connections to various customers, including Education, for over a decade. If you wish to look at your resilience options, feel free to arrange a call with our specialists, we can establish your needs and look at various options for you.

Please visit our contact page.

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