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Sharing Networks Advice

As more schools are working together in partnership there is a greater need for sharing resources across sites.  There can also be great cost benefits in sharing / hosting resources on behalf of other schools.  The BLN has been specifically designed to help schools achieve this through the IPVPN network and can also support schools with other methods of joining up their networks.

There are a number of methods that are currently being used across Bradford, an overview of each is below.  Should you wish to look at implementing a solution for your group of schools, a member of the BLN team will come out to school to fully understand your requirements and arrange any quotations / technical specifications.  This support is included within your BLN contract at no additional charge.

Direct Point to Point Solution
This solution involves laying a piece of fibre between your sites meaning the traffic doesn’t go out to the internet.  This is most commonly used when a whole school network is shared between buildings.  This solution can be very expensive to implement depending upon the distances between sites but is a highly secure solution.

It may be possible to achieve this at a reduced cost if a line of site is available between the buildings allowing for a wireless radio solution.

IPVPN Solution
This solution utilises your BLN IPVPN connection but can only be implemented if both/all sites are part of the BLN network.  A specific route is setup within the circuits so the data does not leave the BLN Network but it does use your school internet connection.  This is a highly secure solution and is much cheaper to implement than a point to point solution as the network is already in place.  You may find that sites have to upgrade their BLN connections depending upon the amount of data being shared.   

BLN to non BLN
Even if a site you are sharing resources with is not on the BLN, it is possible to setup a connection with them.  The traffic would leave the safety BLN network and go out to the internet and back in again so higher security would need to be placed on the data being transferred.  The traffic would need to be configured to go through the BLN core firewalls so you would still have an element of protection in place.  The solution relies on both/all sites having good internet connectivity.

Things to Consider
When looking at any solution it is important to fully understand the data that will be shared / hosted and whether there are any data protection issues that may need to be addressed.   It is also important to consider the length of any contracts that are agreed to as point to point solutions are usually procured on a minimum 5 year period.