The SGSA office has two Internet connections. Our primary connection is via a Virgin Media fibre cable with an advertised download speed of 200mbps. Virgin Media is the only provider of fibre connections in the area, so this is the fastest connection available to our office. However, speedtest.net shows that actual download speeds are erratic and range between 46 and 100mbps. A speed of 100mbps is perfectly adequate for teaching a large virtual class of sixteen students; but much less can result in 'Unstable Internet Connection' messages, video frame freezes, audio lags and, in worst case scenarios, the instructor being dropped out of the Zoom classroom and having to reconnect.
SGSA has complained to Virgin Media about the erratic and poor line performance provided, but our voice is lost in the volume of complaints directed at them (88% of customers rate Virgin Media as 'Bad' on Trustpilot). Unfortunately, because Virgin Media has the monopoly on fibre connectivity in St. Albans, we have no alternative but to use them!
The office has a second Internet connection over ADSL, provided by EE, with a download speed of 11mbps. This connection is sufficient for all SGSA cloud computing needs with the exception of teaching live virtual classes.
Backup for Live Virtual Classes
Steve's house is a fifteen minute drive from the office and has a BT Internet connection over ADSL with an advertised download speed of 72mbps. This is the highest speed on offer and fast enough for most classes (provided that the advertised speed is available). Although less erratic than the Virgin Media connection at the office, the BT speed isn't always adequate so moving your instructor from the office is not a decision taken lightly.
When It Goes Wrong
There have been two occasions since June 2020 when SGSA has experienced severe problems with Internet connectivity during a live virtual class. On the first occasion, the class was abandoned forty minutes before the scheduled end of the class and the lost time caught up the following day. On the second occasion, our instructor relocated to our 'backup location' and continued the class after a fifteen minute interruption to the teaching.
In the event that your instructor drops out of your class and is unable to reconnect, it may be difficult to communicate with you as to what to do next, especially if the session is nearly finished. This page has been created to help keep you informed of what your instructor is doing and what you should do in the meantime. Please check the Service Status comments below every five minutes for a status update.
>>> On Sunday, 04 December 2022 at 10:49 am (UTC+00:00)
>>> Virgin Media (St. Albans: Area Code 31): No known issues.
>>> Student Messages: None.