The Schools Broadband programme provides an integrated set of services to schools which includes broadband connectivity, and hosted services including content filtering, webhosting-blogging and security services including anti-virus control and a centralised firewall.
Content filtering is an essential and integrated element of the broadband service that is provided to schools by the Schools Broadband Programme. The purpose of Content filtering is to ensure (in so far as possible) that inappropriate websites and content are not accessible from within schools. Within the content filtering service provided, schools are given a choice of six different levels of content filtering so that they can choose a level that best meets their particular situation, age group of students etc.. Schools can choose from these six levels, and the chosen level of content filtering is implemented by the Schools Broadband team for the school. Full details on the content filtering levels can be found on http://www.pdsttechnologyineducation.ie/Broadband/ContentFiltering/
A school may elect to have a different filtering level applied to a limited number of devices within the school. This is implemented by applying a different filtering level to a range of IP addresses allocated to the school. To use this different filtering level a device is configured to use one of the IP addresses from the range assigned to the 2nd filtering level. The school accepts the risks associated with using the schools broadband at all levels of filtering including who gets access to this 2nd filtering level.
Implementing Split-Level Filtering
How split-level filtering is implemented is down to how the internet and network are configured within the school. The school is responsible for configuring devices to access the 2nd level filtering and ensuring that no unauthorised access is made to the 2nd level filtering. For a wired network accessing the 2nd level filtering can be as easy as configuring the device to use a specific IP address, however using a wireless network may require configuring the wireless router.
You will need to pick an IP address from the range to assign to a device, along with the subnet mask, the default gateway and the two DNS server addresses. If you don't already have this information, it can be got at any time from the Broadband Service Desk. NOTE: IP addresses cannot be shared among devices at the same time, i.e. two or more devices cannot use the same IP address at the same time.
You can check what IP address a device is using by calling up the website http://whatismyipaddress.com/. If this website reports an IP address beginning with 87. then it should be easy to change this on the device to one from the range, if the website reports a different address it means that the device is connected to another device such as a wireless router or server that is changing the 87 address and it is this other device that may have to changed. As devices and network configuration is specific to a school you may have to contact your network administrator for assistance.
Troubleshooting the 2nd Filtering Level
If you are not getting access to a website which you feel should be available on the school's 2nd filtering level then go to the website http://whatismyipaddress.com/ to confirm that the IP address that the Internet is seeing your device as having is one from the 2nd level filtering range. If the IP address is correct then contact the Broadband Service Desk otherwise change the device's IP address to one from the 2nd level filtering range.
Controlling access to the 2nd Filtering Level
The school need to ensure that access to the IP address range for the 2nd Filtering Level is controlled as once a person knows this range they then can access this filtering level. Having to change the range may involve changes to the school's overall network. In addition caution needs to be taken in configuring the wireless network within the school to ensure that the default access is to the main filtering level or wireless access to the 2nd filtering level is controlled by passwords.