Unavailable Internet Links

Question: Why am I often unable to access Internet links from my classroom computer?

The IT Guy says:
Several different things could account for problems with Internet links on your classroom computers. Hints about why the links are not working are likely provided by the error message you are presented after you click the link.

If some links work but others do not, it may be that your campus Internet filtering software is blocking your access. Generally in this event you will see a "filtered!" or "blocked!" message. These types of Internet access problems are becoming increasingly common in schools. Some districts block commonly-used search tools like Google Images, for example. There is not much you in your classroom can do from a technical standpoint about this. Some districts provide a form you can submit to request that a specific Web site be unblocked, but the approval process for that may be unreasonably long for your immediate access needs.

If all Internet links from your computer become unavailable at times, it is likely that either your classroom computer, part of your local area network, or entire campus is experiencing interruptions in Internet access. This can be caused by faulty wiring or other factors. It is also possible that the network utilization of the Internet for your campus is exceeding capacity during peak use times. Again there is not much you can do at your end from a technical standpoint. You can choose to use the Internet at other times of the day when usage is lower (like earlier in the morning generally), or you can save offline copies of Web pages you may want to share with students later from within Internet Explorer to ensure you have access to them. This works for most static pages, but it may not work for search engines or other dynamic sites that use Web forms. If this is the problem, teachers on your campus or throughout the district need to advocate for additional bandwidth from the entity providing Internet service, as well as additional funding from central office for Internet bandwidth.

If restrictions are not in place for teachers as well as students using streaming media applications or downloading Internet files, it may be that these programs are consuming an inordinate amount of Internet bandwidth that is adversely affecting the access abilities of other users. This is an administrative issue that should be addressed so viable instructional uses of the Internet are unimpeded.

Next Tip: Wireless Network Interference from Students