N3 Cloud Services
Unified Communications is the integration of real-time communication services like WebEx and MeetMe.
N3 Mobile Health Worker offers key benefits to clinicians on the move by increasing their efficiency, which results in improved patient care.
Connect to N3 through IPstream & Business DSL – intended for GPs, small clinics & temporary sites. Connect up your main and branch sites with our VPN solutions.
N3's remote worker services for NHS users – connect to N3 wherever you are.
Private Circuit and Ethernet connectiions for larger NHS sites that run applications like Choose & Book, electronic prescriptions and PACs.
The new Healthcare Security Token enables AQPs and non-NHS organisations to access patient information and national NHS applications like Choose & Book and other services from anywhere.
The N3 PSN products enable customers to connect to N3 PSN. These products are based on non-resilient DSL and non-resilient Ethernet services.
Quick summary of N3 features, benefits and technology.
IP Address ranges used by the NHS; legacy, policy and user requests.
Physical security, securing patient data and responsibilities, plus security checklist.
nhs.uk domain, internal vs external DNS and record change requests.
Order an N3 service, fund my N3 connection, migrate my N3 connection, manage a change to a CoIN, Contact N3 and raise a complaint.
The N3 user guides will help get the best from your N3 products and services.
Frequently Asked Questions will give you answers to voice services, security, internet gateway, GP NGA and general queries.
Access N3 product and service brochures about voice services, video and web conferencing, Mobile Health Worker, On Demand Compute and VPN.
Register for the latest N3 events including the N3 User Forum.
Read the latest N3 case studies that demonstrate the cash releasing, innovation, productivity improving potential of N3 products and services that can improve clinician's efficiency and patient experience.
The N3 Event Replay site is regularly updated with videos and presentation material from our User Forum events.
New to N3?
Find out how N3 has helped enable 21st Century healthcare for the NHS and is an enabler for innovative IT solutions such as using video conferencing for a telestroke service.
Find out how N3 are delivering high quality services with service delivery processes conforming to best practices.
We are in constant dialogue with our customers about the service they receive from us. Find out how N3 analyse and act on customer feedback.
N3 are very proud of the many awards that we have won over the last few years. Find out what awards we have won that demonstrate the excellence of our network, our services and our commitment to the NHS.
N3 is enabling sustainable benefits for the NHS, by stimulating a change in the way people work, providing accessibility to national applications to enable local services and reduce wastage and using new technologies to enable collaborative working
What is DNS?
The DNS (Domain Name System) allows IP network users, such as those on N3, to use (easier) alphanumeric aliases in place of numeric IP addresses.
A user typing www.nhs.uk into a web browser will get to the website hosted by a server at Internet IP address 126.96.36.199. DNS tells the user's computer that www.nhs.uk is actually at IP address 188.8.131.52. The user's computer, the server hosting the website and the network on their own only understand IP addresses.
DNS also lets operators move servers and services to different IP addresses invisibly, whilst keeping the DNS naming the same for users.
nhs.uk is the registered Internet domain for the UK National Health Service. This means it is for Internet use, for instance, when sending email outside the NHS or when an NHS organisation wants a public website. However the NHS also uses nhs.uk on N3 and its other private networks. Using nhs.uk both internally and externally (on the Internet) makes the user experience seamless. An N3 user typing nww.nhs.uk into their browser will get the internal NHS top-level website, but if they type www.nhs.uk they'll get the Internet top level website. This is because N3 has a gateway to the Internet, but they are different websites on different networks.
nhs.uk is the NHS's top level domain. Individual NHS organisations normally have their own sub-domain of nhs.uk, for example: connectingforhealth.nhs.uk. Sub-domains are normally just called domains, when they're being talked about alone. A full DNS address (technically known as a URL) includes the hostname prefix; the name of a server where a website etc is hosted. For example www.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk identifies the web server called ‘www' for the connectingforhealth.nhs.uk (sub!) domain.
How does DNS work?
DNS works by user (client) computers sending queries to a local DNS server to get the IP addresses they need. This is called resolving. Domain name data is distributed and/or delegated amongst a number of name servers. Often the local name server doesn't hold all the data requested, even though local servers do store (cache) some answers to recent DNS queries. If the answer isn't cached, the local server checks with other name servers to get the data. This is known as recursive operation. This process continues until the definitive DNS information (record) for a domain is found on an authoritative DNS server. Although previous examples have used the nhs.uk domain, the resolving process works for queries about any domain registered and in use. An N3 user DNS request for the IP address of www.bt.com would be resolved in the same way.
Because DNS is so important there should always be at least two DNS servers for any domain, for resilience. These are often called primary and secondary, although they may share DNS requests more equally than the names suggest, depending on set up.
N3/nhs.uk DNS Set-up
1. the Health and Social Care Information Centre and N3SP recommend all N3 users use the N3SP provided internal DNS servers shown as their ‘local' servers for DNS queries. They are at the following N3 network IP addresses: 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11
2. N3SP provides a Network Time Protocol reference source for N3 users to synchronise the clocks in servers and PCs to. Although NTP is shown separately in the diagram, the reference source is actually available from the same IP addresses (above) as the internal DNS service
Data for a domain, such as nhs.uk, is arranged in zone data files with a number of (resource) records. The most important and most often used are the
- Address Record (A-record) - used to direct users to live servers for web browsing, file transfers, etc.
- Mail eXchange Record (MX-record) - used to direct messages to email/messaging servers for a domain
Other types of record are also used on the nhs.uk DNS servers:
- Start of Authority (SOA): Defines the start of a zone data file, includes information on:
- the name server with ultimate authority for the domain
- who to contact about the domain
- Name Server (NS): Defines one or more name servers with definitive DNS information
- Canonical Name/Alias (CNAME): Defines additional aliases for an IP address (as alternative to multiple A records).
- Pointer (PTR): A ‘reverse lookup' record - associates an IP address to a DNS name; effectively the reverse of an A record.
DNS Change Request Process
nhs.uk DNS records are owned and administered by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. NSS in Scotland administers the scot.nhs.uk (sub) domain. N3SP provides and manages the ‘live' DNS service itself.
DNS Change Requests, to change either zone data files or individual DNS records, must be made directly to these bodies. N3SP cannot accept DNS Change Requests from end-users.
For England DNS Change Request forms and contact information click here: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/systemsandservices/addressing/domainnames
For Scotland DNS Change Request forms, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org