Technology Infrastructure

WAN Services

Overview

DIIT’s WAN Services group is responsible for maintaining the DOE’s entire IP Network. The "heart of the network" is housed in the Data Center of the "Downtown Campus" (MetroTech, Brooklyn area) and it serves as the network routing hub to all external divisions and agencies, Integrated Service Centers(ISCs), Learning Support Centers (LSCs) and public schools throughout the city. WAN Services staff includes personnel with a wide range of technical expertise and experience within DIIT's Office of Technology Infrastructure. This staff is dedicated to providing a stable, robust and flexible network infrastructure capable of supporting DOE's rapidly changing needs.  There are a number of functional groups within WAN Services, each of which is described in more detail by clicking on the following links:

• Architecture, Technology Planning & Standards
Overview
Infrastructure Architecture
Capacity Planning
Network Quality Assurance
• Network Security Services
Overview
Protection
Secure Remote Network Access
Secure Wireless Network Access
• Instructional Network Services
Overview
Special Projects
Support
o Level One
Level Two
o Level Three
E-Rate & Reso-A
• Project Management Services
• Network Management Services
• Weekend Management Support

Architecture, Technology Planning & Standards

Overview
This staff consists of the most seasoned technical resources and is able to provide an objective view on the integration and scaling of new technologies and new applications into the current environment. Collectively they oversee the framework and provide the blueprint for all other functions within the Office of Technology Infrastructure. The Architecture committee reviews all modifications to the network as agenda items which are addressed at regularly held meetings. This includes a documentation review and technical walk-through for each agenda item at various phases of the project life-cycle.

Infrastructure Architecture
The Architecture Committee provides strategic planning and a review of enhancements to both network infrastructure and tactical operations as they apply to the integrity of the overall network environment. A System Architect is generally designated to oversee the engineering and documentation of Enterprise solutions.  A designed solution would then be presented to the entire committee for review and approval. This committee is also responsible for maintaining full compliance with industry best practices as applied to technology integration and deployment. This group also provides technical consultation to users who require the integration of enhancements into the network.

Capacity Planning
An integral part of strategic planning involves managing the growth of the network. The analysis of current bandwidth usage is accomplished with the cooperation of the Network Management staff. Network probes monitor bandwidth consumption and enable the Architecture Committee to analyze graphs of current usage and historical trends. The committee reviews various “white papers” and takes industry-wide trends into account. At this point, cooperation with the various DOE divisions is an important part of determining which applications will be implemented over any given 5-year span. Once this is determined a reasonably accurate prediction of bandwidth growth can be extrapolated from current and prior trends.  The appropriate design solutions can then be scaled to anticipate future DOE network requirements.

Network Quality Assurance
Internationally accepted standards, procedures and guidelines are enforced with respect to project life-cycle management for all service requests and projects being implemented in the network environment. Life-cycle phases include requirements specification, design, testing, implementation and post-implementation review. Each project is tracked by number throughout its life-cycle.  In coordination with the Project Management staff resources are allocated optimally and tracked for slippage. All associated documentation is stored in Architecture’s documentation repository and cross-referenced by agenda item number.  The appropriate documentation and Architecture Committee approval is required for any agenda item to advance to the next life-cycle phase.

Network Security Services

Overview
Network Security is an integral function of the New York City Department of Education’s Computing environment computer network.  DOE network security policies and practices follow and conform to New York City Department of Investigation and Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) security guidelines and policies.

Protection
To protect the public school students from unwarranted Internet websites with content deemed inappropriate, content filtering policies are used at the school level as well as system-wide to prevent against unwarranted Internet websites. To further protect the DOE network’s functionality from unwarranted malicious Internet attacks intrusion detection and monitoring systems are in place for threat mitigation. The latest network security technologies are deployed utilizing secure protocols to further strengthen and eliminate threats against the organization’s network assets.

Secure Remote Network Access
Remote network access to internal DOE network applications is established through secure communications over the Internet via Virtual Private Networks, LAN to LAN VPN, secure socket layer protocols, and terminal services. VPN support access for remote DOE users, authorized non-DOE users as well as other NYC mayoral agencies. 

Secure Wireless Network Access
Secure protocol wireless technologies are also deployed in NYC public school classrooms and administration offices.  This solution offers flexible wireless network access and security at a level similar to the traditional (wired) network.


Instructional Network Services

Overview

The New York City public school system is presented with the challenge of preparing all students with the skills and confidence to succeed and prosper in the information age. To that end an extensive Computing Network has been built to provide  all New York City Public Schools, access to the Internet. Today’s students leverage the DOE’s Network Services , under supervision and a strict content filtering system, to a variety of educational applications and information to help strengthen academic skills. 

Special Projects

Making use of the information superhighway is a challenging venture demanding creative thinking. Projects such as offering an “on line” version of the Princeton Review test at a student computer facilitates the evaluation students’ academic levels. Another extremely successful special project at the School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is set to revolutionize communications and distance learning throughout the school system. The installation of videoconferencing enables students to communicate using sign language from classroom to classroom, while the principal's office will be equipped to broadcast to all students simultaneously.

Support
Three levels of Help Desk expertise plus a Network Field Engineering team support the Instructional Network enterprise. .  Additionally, schools are proactively monitored for facility outages.

Level One
By dialing the help desk at 718-935 5100, the First Level troubleshooting process is set in motion. A “Level One” representative will record all biographical information and a description of the network problem. Minimal network troubleshooting will take place at this level.

Level Two
As dictated by the nature and severity the issue, the problem is escalated to “Level Two”. This team of engineers is responsible for the majority of network troubleshooting work; working closing with the schools end user, and resolving the problem in a timely manner.

Level Three
Problems that are not resolved at Level Two, or require unique technical expertise, are escalated to the “Level Three” staff.  Level Three is responsible for the more complex networking issues. When an issue cannot be resolved by working with the end user via phone, a network field engineer is dispatched
 
E-Rate & Reso-A
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 outlined a program known as the Universal Service Fund, providing discounts on advanced telecommunications services to K-12 schools and libraries. This legislation was actualized in the Federal Communications Commission Order released on May 8, 1997. As required by the Order, the New York State Public Service Commission adopted the FCC plan, making schools and libraries in New York State eligible to apply to the fund. The FCC created the Schools and Libraries Corporation (SLC) to administer the program, referred to as E-rate. Schools and libraries can qualify for discounts on eligible services and equipment ranging from 20 - 90%, based on the number of students eligible for the national free lunch program and location of the school. In keeping with the intent of the legislation, these two criteria are meant to emphasize higher discount rates for under served inner-city and rural schools. In anticipation of the opportunities of the E-rate program, this group develops and files annual applications for Universal Service Fund discounts for all eligible telecommunications charges for individual schools, district offices and central facilities.

Project Management Services
The Project Management group, in coordination with Network Quality Assurance, insures that all projects are numbered and tracked throughout its life-cycle. All Project Managers are responsible for their own project plans in order to optimize resources and reduce slippage. All project plans then “roll up” to a coordinated centralized plan and can be regularly reviewed and modified by upper management.

Network Management Services
Using a sophisticated suite of management tools this group monitors and manages the entire network in real-time. Infrastructure problems are alarmed and can therefore be observed as they occur. Ideally, the appropriate automated or manual solution is then dispatched before users become aware of a problem. This kind of automated systems management is critical in an operation as large as DOE.

Weekend Management Support
In order to deliver a comparable level of service over weekends this group assumes a wide range of responsibilities including racking, cabling, routing, switching, troubleshooting and network management.