Edmonds School District Internet getting up to speed

Who hasn’t experienced the frustration of a Web page loading in slo-mo?

The Edmonds School District says it’s had a problem with Web speeds becoming increasingly slow, but it reached a low point about a week ago.

“Internet speed is only as fast as the weakest link,” said school district spokeswoman DJ Jakala. “There’s a lot of twirling going on waiting for things to come up,” she said, referring to the whirling browser icon that indicates it’s trying to load a Web page.

The district investigated and diagnosed the problem as one caused by a firewall, she said, and high demand on Internet use that’s causing a bandwidth issue.

The school district has started a pilot program to provide Chromebook computers to students — a total of 6,500 Chromebooks for classroom use and for standardized testing. In addition, 10,000 students use their own computers in schools, she said.

A new firewall was needed to allow Internet traffic to go through faster. There was no problem with hackers trying to break into the system, Jakala said.

Last Tuesday, the School Board approved $156,000 for a new firewall during a special meeting and study session. The district didn’t want to wait until the next regular board meeting on April 28, Jakala said. The money to buy the new firewall came from the district’s technology levy.

The purchase was made through the state Department of Enterprise Services, so a bid wasn’t required, according to Stewart Mhyre, the school district’s executive director for business and operations.

The new firewall is expected to be installed within the next one or two weeks, Jakala said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-33-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

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