LKDSB internet investments prevent social media slowdowns

Social media and Netflix accounts for about 5 per cent of LKDSB internet activity

There’s yet another difference between big city schools and small town academies.

Last week, the Toronto District School Board blocked students using its wireless network from accessing Netflix, Snapchat, and Instagram.

“These sites account for more than 20 per cent of our daily network activity and, on our older, slower network, make many necessary operational tasks, such as attendance, registration and report cards, nearly impossible to complete,” said a TDSB news release.

The Lambton Kent District Board, however, does not have similar problems.

“We monitor the networks and it hasn’t caused any problems yet,” said Chris Marvell, manager of IT for the LKDSB.

Only about 5 per cent of the LKDSB’s internet network is consumed by social media sites and Netflix, said Marvell.

“We’ve recently undertaken quite a big network upgrade and we continue to do so,” said Marvell. “It’s quite low for us because of the bandwidth that we have.”

Students hoping to catch up on the latest Netflix series or watch sitcom reruns may be out of luck.

“We do have a partial block on Netflix for bandwidth purposes,” said Marvell.

If social media use and video streaming did cause network problems, blocking access to certain websites and apps wouldn’t be out of the question, according to Marvell.

“From an engineering perspective that’s something we would consider but what we would do is evaluate it and pass it up to senior administration,” he said.

Marvell said the LKDSB has been proactive in upgrading its internet networks to deal with more connected personal and school board devices.

“We have thousands of iPads connected to our network and we had to beef up the network to deal with that,” said Marvell.

Upgrading the school board’s internet was part of the school boards 3 year, $4-million, IT infrastructure strategic plan, said Marvell.

The LKDSB may avoid some of the problems faced by the TDSB because of the size of the school board. The TDSB serves approximately 246,000 students in 584 schools throughout Toronto while the LKDSB is home to about 25,000 students and nearly 65 schools.

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