Below is a list of frequently asked questions. Please contact FidelityLink by phone or e-mail if you have any questions that are not answered below.
What is a WAN?
A WAN is a wide area network that physically connects the school district's buildings, enabling the sharing of data, internet bandwidth, applications and other resources. A WAN offers several benefits over alternative networking technologies such as Internet-based VPNs or the "Cloud," and is eligible for Priority-1 E-rate funding; however, not all WANs are created equal. As discussed below, a FidelityLink WAN is superior to the shared-infrastructure-WANs offered by traditional telephone and cable companies.
How does the FidelityLink WAN differ from alternative services provided by traditional telephone and cable companies?
The FidelityLink WAN consists of a private fiber network dedicated to the district's use. Unlike the traditional services provided by your local telephone or cable company, the FidelityLink WAN does not rely on an over-subscribed, shared infrastructure, where you are competing with other customers for bandwidth. With a FidelityLink WAN, the school district is the only user on the private fiber network, eliminating the need for edge firewall and security devices.
What about price?
It may surprise you, but you can lease a FidelityLink WAN for about the same cost, if not less, than an alternative, inferior offering from another provider. Additionally, with a FidelityLink WAN, the costs of bandwidth increases are minimal - all you pay is the cost of any necessary equipment upgrades. Your prices are fixed for the term, and you control how much speed you want, and when you upgrade. Typical deployments consist of GigE connections to each school building, upgradeable to 10 GigE for what may be as little as an additional $100 per month per location. Control your data destiny with a fixed-price, scalable FidelityLink WAN.
Will a FidelityLink WAN integrate with our current network infrastructure?
The FidelityLink WAN integrates Layer 1, 2 and 3 switching and routing functionality. With this functionality, the school district has advanced control of its network communications, including the ability to streamline communications and prioritize designated network functions. Such functionality is based on standard internet protocol, and works with the school district's existing infrastructure.
Our current bandwidth will not support common core MAP testing requirements. Can you help?
Today's classrooms now demand data-intensive solutions to provide interactive learning, MAP testing and distance learning. At least one independent study recommends that, by the 2014-15 school year (when the common standards and new assessments are to be fully implemented), schools have at least 100 Mb per second of connectivity to the external Internet for every 1,000 students and/or staff members, and 1 Gb per second of connectivity for data transactions within a school-wide or district-wide network. By the 2017-18 school year, those recommendations call for expanding to 1 Gb per 1,000 students and/or staff members for an external connection, and 10 Gb for internal network connections for the same number of people. FidelityLink can install and maintain a private fiber network that will not only meet these minimum standards, but will allow for seamless bandwidth expansion as the district's needs grow.
Our IT staff has enough to deal with. Do you maintain the fiber and other WAN facilities?
Our Network Operations Center ("NOC") supports and maintains the FidelityLink WAN, including all leased hardware. We are flexible as to how the WAN is deployed and operated. The school district's IT department will have the ability to manage and control all router configurations, or can leave such technical details to our NOC. Although fiber cuts are relatively uncommon, should one occur, based on the architecture, traffic would be automatically re-routed so the district will not experience any service loss. Specifically, each FidelityLink WAN is designed in a "ring topology" so that no location has a single point of failure. In the unlikely event of an outage, our service level goal is to respond onsite within less than four hours.
How do we get your service?
Our knowledgeable staff understands the E-rate cycle and process, and we will coordinate with you to seamlessly transition to our E-rate approved services. Consultation is free, and the solution is turnkey.