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BLN3 Website Filtering

The BLN offers all schools a Smoothwall device which will be locally installed.  This will act as a 'firewall' at the edge of your school. This device also delivers personalised filtering and can be setup to provide policies for all pupils, staff and visitors to the school.  We understand that it is important to be able to keep your pupils safe whilst being able to teach effectively and utilise great resources over the internet. The Smoothwall was originally designed specifically for the education market.

Smoothwall meets the DFE criteria for Educational Webfiltering and is part of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)  The independent review into ISP provision available to schools carried out by Bradford Council in 2015 also recommended Smoothwall as the best filtering product available in Education.

What does Smoothwall do?

The smoothwall device acts as a firewall with Layer 7 control to protect your internal school network from virus attacks and threats as well as providing filtering of web content for all users connected to your network.

Smoothwall integrates with your school Active Directory, meaning when a user logs onto their computer in school they will be automatically given the filtering policy that you have applied to them.  Different policies can be given to different groups of students, different groups of staff and even different rooms within the school building.

Some of the other key features of the smoothwall webfilter which you may wish to utilise include

  • Read only access to sites such as Facebook
    Sections of pages hidden – such as comments associated to youtube videos
    Access to sites during a particular time period – such as game sites during lunch times
    Dynamic Content Analysis to accurately categorise and block all undesirable content instantly
    Realtime website signature scanning preventing the use of proxy anonymizers
    Filters Flash content
    Search term filtering
    BYOD filtering across all platforms
    VPN - Supports IPsec, L2TP and SSL
    Bandwidth Management
    Integration with AD, eDirectory, Open Directory and more
    Supports Kerberos, NTLM, RADIUS and SSL portal authentication
    Live reporting of network activity
    Customisable report templates 

Smoothwall PREVENT module
Smoothwall have also recently released a new module which is designed to specifically support schools with the PREVENT agenda.  Nominated school staff are able to view reports through a portal in an easy but detailed manner.  Users who have accessed any content of concern are highlighted using a 'traffic light' system and reports can be easilly drilled into so you can gain context around what they have been viewing. This includes reports relating to self harm and abuse aswell as terrorist related content.  Email alerts can also be configured so you are aware instantly of any possible issues.  Free training on using the portal will be delivered on a regular basis.  All schools have the PREVENT moduule included for free as part of their BLN subscription.

Smoothwall meet all of the new criteria set by the DfE in May 2016 for filtering in schools.  The full document of how they cover the new requirements can be Viewed here    


What type of hardware will I receive?

The model of Smoothwall box that your school will require will be dependent on the number of devices you will have connected to the Internet at any one time**.  The BLN will provide you with either a S4 or a S8 included as part of your contract with full hardware warranty over the 3 year period.  The spec of these devices is as follows





Dual core @ 3.30GHz

Quad core @ 3.40GHz







Ethernet Ports

6 X 1Gb

6 X 1Gb










Recommended User Count



Max transactions per second*



*A transaction represents a single object retrieved from a server such as an HTML file, an image/video or a sript file
** some devices, such as iPad's, are equivalent to 0.5 of a device

How do I manage my webfiltering?

With all this flexibility comes the need to understand how to make it happen.  For schools who have a full time employed Technician / Network Manager training is delivered free of charge throught the year to equip them with the necessary knowledge to fully manage the device.

For those who do not have their own employed Network Manager, we recommend you buy into the Education ICT Filtering Managed Service.

This service will enable you to have the tailored solution you require without the need for in house knowledge and is guaranteed you will have a response to your requirements as and when you need.  The service will include amending policies, allowing and blocking sites, configuration changes and managing reporting.

If you choose not to take this service and changes made in house result in above average fault calls, the BLN reserve the right to charge you on an individual basis.
Cost:  £200 per year