When experiencing an internet connection or access issue, there are many different points where a breakdown can occur. The diagrams below describe how your home network or public access point connects to Canvas and similarly, other platforms. It is important to understand that 100% up-time at any one of these components is never possible. It is advisable to have alternative internet access or a plan for notifying others when you experience issues.
Common Home Network Setup
A typical home network setup includes several points where breakdowns or blocking can happen. When encountering a problem with internet connectivity, points of breakdown include:
- Computer/Device- Issues can occur with computer hardware and/or software that prevents a connection to the internet.
- Network Modem and/or Router- Hardware and/or firmware issues may occur.
- ISP (Internet Service Provider)- The ISP or greater network in a certain geographical area may be experiencing a service or physical cable outage.
When experiencing an access issue, blockage points include:
- GHO Issued Chromebook- These devices implement an "allow list" which requires the browser to check a list of predetermined URLs. The Chrome Browser checks each line of this list whenever a link is trying to be accessed. To add a URL to the Allow List, see the article, "Google Chromebook Allow List for Educators."
- Home Network Settings- Routers come with their own set of configurations that are controlled by the system admin for the device. (If you pay for internet service to your house and were sent a modem and/or router, you are the system admin even if you have not configured this yourself and are using the default configuration.) Through the modem and/or router device, internet connectivity and access to certain websites can be controlled. An example of this is a home network where a parent has set controls for a child's device to only have internet connectivity during certain hours of the day, block specific websites entirely, and/or disallow certain types of platforms to be accessed. If you are accessing the internet from a friend/family member's home, staying at an Airbnb/vrbo, or another similar scenario, you may not have control of the network configuration.
- ISP (Internet Service Provider)- When contracting internet service through broadband, DSL, or satellite companies, your internet access can also be monitored and controlled through that ISP. In large within the United States, ISPs do not restrict access and your blocking point is very unlikely to be at this level. (Please note that there when traveling internationally, the previous statement may not be applicable.)
Internet Access from a Public Access Point
When accessing the internet from a public access point, many of the overall components involved are the same except for at the network switch level. At a public access point, usually advertised as "Free Wi-Fi," users will connect through an Access Point connected to a larger network switch. This is similar to connecting to a home modem/router but includes more robust controls and configuration settings. As an example, hotels will typically use traffic shaping tools to restrict the connection speed to "browsing" speeds, limit the amount of usage, and/or type of usage. This particular scenario describes users at a hotel but is common at libraries, coffee shops, airports, or any other "Free Wi-Fi" access point. In many of these cases, it's suggested to ask a staff member about their network's configuration and any parameters they may have set up, however, many of these networks are managed by an IT team operating remotely and off-site.
What can GHO control?
In both of the scenarios detailed above, GHO can only control the information that exists on Canvas. These are typically items such as assignments, quizzes, announcements, grades, etc., and are handled by your scholar's teacher. The yellow star icon on the diagrams above indicates points GHO is able to manage.
If your scholar is using a GHO issued Chromebook, the Google Chrome Allow List is a blocking point maintained by GHO. See the article on "Google Chromebook Allow List for Educators" for more details on this process. If a scholar is using a personal device, this blocking point is not applicable.
All other points of breakdown and/or blocking are either controlled by families, their ISP, or the location/organization they are accessing the internet from.
[Sprint 1 Check: CB 03/01/22]