With the new CathEdNet Router installation now almost complete in the schools many of you may be asking what the point of the exercise is besides replacing some old hardware. Terminology such as “Hot / Cold”, QOS, double the bandwidth are some of the terms being thrown around and i’m sure some of you are a little puzzled as to what it all means?

Why is this happening may be your first question? In order for you school to be connected to the internet, send and receive CatheEdNet emails and browse websites such as MyHR, the CathEdNet intranet or CAS portal your school needs to be connected to the CathEdNet network. This is all done through the schools router or as some of you may know it as, the CEO Router. It’s job is to simply navigate the traffic from your computer to the right location. From the moment you click on the “Send” button on your emails, this router will navigate the traffic to the place it needs to go to. Now after many years and possibly millions of emails and website requests each school has sent it, like anything it needed to go into retirement and be replaced with a newer, faster and stronger version of itself!

So what does this new “CEO Router” do thats different to the old one? Possibly the biggest ticket item is that it is twice the speed / bandwidth. I tend to use the terminology “lanes of traffic” a lot when explaining this to principals or staff.

Think of your internet connection as a highway with two lanes of traffic. In the two lanes of traffic are many cars speeding down the highway moving toward their destination. At different times of the day there are more cars on the road resulting in congestion on the highway slowing everyone down from 100 km to 30 km. Now taking that picture, I want you to imagine that those cars are actually your internet requests. For example your colleague accessing MyHR is one car, your principal sending an email is another car and the 31 kids in Year Five all accessing YouTube adds another 31 cars to the highway. You can see from this analogy that the more people sending their “cars” down the highway on only two lanes of traffic can cause your internet to slow down.

Now with the new CEO Router imagine that your lanes of traffic have now increase from two to four. This means you can send twice the amount of cars down the highway without slowing the speed down.

QoS or Quality of Service is (in the least technical terminology possible) a way that the traffic on your highway can have priority to get to where it needs to go, faster. The best way to describe this is to think back to your highway which now has four lanes of traffic. Imagine all your cars are travelling happily down your highway when all of a sudden you hear an emergency vehicle with the siren sounding coming up fast in your rear vision mirror. Your cars move aside and let the emergency vehicle pass because it has a higher priority. This put simple is QoS, the traffic passing through the new CEO router has the ability to priorities traffic over other traffic.

Hot and Cold? No we are not talking about a shower with a faulty hot water system here.

Hot / Cold is just the terminology used when describing a special lane of traffic that your highway now has on the new Router. Once again we go back to the picture of your four lanes of traffic on the highway with all your busy cars and emergency vehicles driving down the highway. At some point your highway will be congested with traffic and while your emergency vehicles are trying to shoot past the normal traffic it can still be slow to pass due to the large number of cars on the highway. Now I want you to imagine a special lane on your highway dedicated to emergency vehicles, much like a taxi or bus lane on a highway. The 4 lanes of traffic is your “Cold” connection while your special taxi/bus lane is the “Hot” connection. Everybody in peak hour traffic always looks at the bus / taxi lane in envy as its flowing quickly while your at a stand still. This put simply is your Hot / Cold connection on your new CEO Router. So what goes down this “Hot” connection? Sites like MyHR, CAS portal, Cathednet intranet, CathEdNet emails, Seqta and a few more services all use this new “Hot” lane of traffic. As a result, if you have year 4, 5 and 6 all on YouTube you can rest assure that your access the MyHR or Seqta will not be slow or affected because all the traffic the students are using are going out through the “Cold” connection while your traffic is going out the “Hot”

Now for the technical stuff! For those of  you helping out in the schools with the IT, This section is for you.

Previously any changes that needed to be made to your CEO router’s ACL lists, all needed to be passed onto Telstra by a CathEdNet technician for Telstra to process. This could sometimes take up to 24 hours. Now the new router’s are configured for inbound ACL filtering – so all traffic to and from the school is controlled by the Checkpoint firewall. What does this mean? You can now contact the CathEdNet service desk for immediate action and not wait for a techy sitting behind a desk in a Telstra building to do it for you.

Hopefully that has cleared up a few questions you may have been asking yourself when you receive an email about the new Routers. If you have any more questions please feel free to comment or flick me an email.