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Bandwidth Demand at American Universities 392

Robert Rwebangira writes: "There is an article in The New York Times (free reg required), discussing college students 'insatiable demand for bandwidth.' Of particular interest is the continuing prominence of file-sharing (inspite of the demise of Napster) and the amount of bandwidth consumed in even 'legitimate' activities. It seems students demand for bandwidth just keeps growing."
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Bandwidth Demand at American Universities

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  • Scarcity (Score:3, Troll)

    by exceed ( 518714 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @09:47AM (#2832037)
    What are the three things that will always be scarce? Money, time, and bandwidth. You can't have enough of all three.
  • by Rostoff ( 549205 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @09:49AM (#2832044)
    When the demand for bandwidth has usurped the demand for beer. What's wrong with children today?
  • by -douggy ( 316782 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @09:50AM (#2832050)
    The university network run in the UK by Janet is in constant need of extra bandwidth be it for normal use (downloading linux isos from mirror.ac.uk) or for filesharing. Janet charges the UK unis around 2p per MB which can mount up if 1000s of users in halls are pulling stuff over the atlantic but interuni stuff is free.

    Some universitys are now capping people at around adsl speeds to try and limit the charges

    • Indeed. My college passes the 2p/MB charge onto students once they use more than 100MB. I find I rarely need any transatlantic bandwidth though given the good availability of mirrors and proxies. It's not unusual for me to use more than 100MB a day (mmm, dist-upgrade :) yet I only used 13MB of non-janet traffic last term.
    • Clarification:

      ja.net [ja.net] charges for transatlantic bandwidth partly because a great deal of ja.net's costs were on paying for transatlantic lines. Anything that doesn't travel via these lines (ie via LINX [linx.net] or GEANT is free which means most resources in the UK or europe.

      Ja.net has also mitigated the need to use so much transatlantic traffic through the use of mirror.ac.uk [mirror.ac.uk] and the National ja.net webcache [ja.net].
      If only more people were to use these, a number of smaller UK academic institutions are not aware of a number of services that ja.net can provide for them but this is changing in recent years.
    • downloading linux isos from mirror.ac.uk
      I am sure I will get my butt severely kicked by my net admin if I tried to download a Linux iso from outside. Mirroring is the king here.

      Due to the very small pipe that we've got (we are amongst the bottom of internet bandwidth scale throughout major universities in Asia-Pacific according to the now dysfunction Asian weekly survey last year), we cannot afford to download anything big. We are in CSE/EEE. In a dept with about 700 person, only 2-3 staff member are authorised to download something as big as an iso. All the others need to use the internal mirror.

      Student needs to pay from their own account for using internet (NZ$0.4/MB). Staff and PhD students has "unlimited" internet access (ie, you will get cut off if *monthly* download > 100MB). It is much less than ideal. But, we somehow survive. ;-)

  • by Heem ( 448667 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @09:56AM (#2832069) Homepage Journal
    Without specific proof, I'd be very willing to say that it's not just students. As the internet grows, and we get faster computers, and more visually intense websites, its only obvious that bandwidth demands for EVERYONE is going to grow. The size of applications and games has also risen, and even downloading legal demos and share/freeware games is bandwidth intensive, this is not even to mention 'warez' and the fact that nobody seems to be happy with porn 'pics' anymore, they want vids. So, as download sizes grow, its only obvious that bandwidth demands will also grow.

  • by LWolenczak ( 10527 ) <julia@evilcow.org> on Sunday January 13, 2002 @09:58AM (#2832074) Homepage Journal
    I attend a UNC system school, and we have NCREN powering the internet access. A little background info, everybody has one or two ds3 or oc3 lines. NCREN has an oc48, an oc12, and a handfull of oc3 lines uplinking them to the world. The problem is, that NCREN has given oc3/ds3 lines to companies like microsoft, and they load down the entire system. The traffic graphs for my university never really exceed 40mbit/sec on one line, and 12mbit/sec on the second line. We even have a third line, and its dark most of he time.

    But the NCREN oc48, oc12, and all the oc3 line outbound are allways loaded at 99%. In ncren before you hit the core routers, pings are below 30 ms, once packets leave, they have gone as high as 2000 ms. NCREN refuses to admit there is a problem, or resolve the issues. One problem also seems that one of sprints core routers that peers with NCREN is faulty or over loaded.

    I must admit, when I lived in the dorms, it was nice to sometimes be able to play the major ra3 servers at 35-55ms.
  • Cut 'em off (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slutdot ( 207042 )
    The universities really ought to set lower expectations on bandwidth by setting up QoS on their routers and allowing greater bandwidth from the classrooms and for web browsing in the libraries while dropping other unnecessary protocols such as those used by file sharing clients to almost non-existent levels. It's ridiculous that the universities allow file sharing to go on like they have. If the file is important to school work, the student can e-mail it.
    • Re:Cut 'em off (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RC514 ( 546181 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @10:24AM (#2832125) Homepage

      There's no way to stop filesharing except at the endpoints of communication. Unless the users stop wanting to use filesharing, there will always be workarounds for all the filtering and blocking you can think of. The next step is encrypted connections below tcp level, aka ad hoc virtual private networks. Since there's a heap of good reasons why one would want all traffic (even the "non-shady") encrypted anyway, universities will most likely refrain from blocking the necessary protocols. Once the traffic becomes opaque to the transport, there goes the ability to filter based on contents or protocols.

      What can be done is this: Restrict bandwith or volume of data. That however will limit certain promising aspects of network development like freenet and other decentralized protocols. That's why especially universities which are supposed to be interested in innovation should think twice before crippling network access.

      • Re:Cut 'em off (Score:3, Interesting)

        by invenustus ( 56481 )
        Unless the users stop wanting to use filesharing, there will always be workarounds for all the filtering and blocking you can think of.
        Wrong. At my university, they put in place an internal IP system such that dorm computers can ONLY be accessed from other computers inside the university. I can go on Morpheus and download, but anyone who tries to get files from me (and is outside the university) is going to get a failed download.

        The system was not put in place to hurt filesharers, in fact, because we had that under control - if you exceeded 2 gigs a week downstream or 500 MB a week upstream you got shut off for 1 week - but because too many dorm computers were getting h4x0red and used for DDOS attacks, and the university was getting blamed. (Just be glad they did this BEFORE WinXP came out.)

        There's a happy ending, though. Somebody set up a Neomodus DirectConnect [neomodus.com] hub on a dorm computer, and it spread like wildfire. The university only really pays for bandwidth that leaves the university, right? So now we share files to our heart's content, there's no upload or download restrictions, and the downloads are fast as all hell because they're all within the same organization.

      • There's no way to stop filesharing except at the endpoints of communication. Unless the users stop wanting to use filesharing, there will always be workarounds for all the filtering and blocking you can think of.

        The point isn't to stop it, but to treat it like a second class citizen. So if there is no shortage of bandwidth you can do all the filesharing you want, if the "legit" traffic uses 75% of the available bandwidth then there is 25% left for filesharing. The only blocking would happen if the "ligit" traffic manages to use all the bandwidth.

        From a technology point this is a pretty easy thing to do, the first paper I read about it was in, um, '94 I think, and was oddly enough about a UK to USA pipe that was jointly owned by a research university and a business, they carved it up to 1/3rd of the traffic to the business, 1/3rd for faculty, and 1/3rd for other uni uses (students mostly). Any of the 1/3rd were unused the other two could split the slack.

        This scheme is much better then outright blocking for a lot of reasons. First is fairness, it is fair to let the filesharing go on when there is spare bandwidth. Second is practical use, if you block a port people will quickly use another port, if a port is "just slow" it will take way longer for anyone to realize they should try to work around it. In fact as long as the reasoning is explained many people won't even try to work around it.

        What can be done is this: Restrict bandwidth or volume of data. That however will limit certain promising aspects of network development like freenet and other decentralized protocols

        Depends on the limit. In this case "whatever is left over" seems pretty reasonable. It would work out to far more "network time" then most astronomers get "telescope time", right?

  • by timothy ( 36799 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @10:01AM (#2832082) Journal
    ... is that people get used to high bandwidth as customers. Even though they may technically be customers who are supposed to be buying an 'education,' the fact is that (typical, 4-year, residential) colleges / universities seem to provide professors and classrooms only to supplement their provision of high-speed, on-site-service, always-on, relatively unrestricted network access. This is one reason I regret not living in the dorms at Univ. of Texas, which it turns out grew some good-at-the-time ethernet ports while I was in school, and I bet are still good.

    As someone who wants to be a customer for better internet access of all sorts (true all-continent roaming access for N. America at least would good ... I'd pay $300/mo for the always-on mediumband available in rural Montana etc), I want there to be an increasing supply of college grads used to insane, insanely cheap bandwidth to help drive the market :)

    • UT (well, austin anyway) not too long ago put upload and download maxes on the residential halls. If you exceeded them, it would disconnect your port with little fanfare. I had a friend who stayed in a dorm over the summer who forgot to turn off upload sharing in her kazaa client and was putting through over a gig a day that way (she had over 3000 songs..), thus it all just stopped working, requiring her to call the help system, and finally get onto a public access computer to reinstate the connection.
      • I go to UT Austin as well, and they instituted an interesting policy this semester. Last semester (and all before) there was a 3.5 gb/week limit, if you went over, you were cut off totally. Now, they've lowered the limit to 2.5 gb/week but instead of getting totally cut off, they just route you through a smaller pipe, so all the bandwidth offenders are crammed down a slower link, while the rest of the school is unaffected. Of course, this has never stopped me from going to the library with my laptop w/ 802.11b and leeching about 5 gigs of anime in an afternoon...
  • Bandwith (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GenomeX ( 416265 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @10:02AM (#2832086)
    I am a student at a university in South-Africa. From campus you are only allowed internet if you have an account for which you pay, and once you have this you are only allowed HTTP. I had to use tunneling to get on IRC for instance. Another thing is our whole university probably has about the same amount of bandwith in total as about 10 computers in the US use. This is not the universities fault, but rather out countries weak communications infrastructure and the fact that we have one telco with no compitition.
    All you students and other people in the US should stop complaining, you have _loads_ of bandwith.
  • by akula1 ( 463239 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @10:13AM (#2832105) Homepage

    At my big ten University bandwidth use by the residence halls has been enough of a problem to cause our keycard access system to become DOS'd. You need keycards to buy food, enter buildings etc...

    As of Monday 1.5 GB a week upload and 1.5 GB a week download restrictions go into place. You get two warnings if you exceed these limits and then your residence hall connection is yanked for a semester.

    • Dude, thats harsh, 1.5GB a week is absolutly nothing if yoou really think abut it. Thats an average of 2KB/s constant use, which you could easily pull if you ever just play internet games freqently and surf the web. Or just download 3 iso in 1 week.

      But seriously what stupid network engineers put the keymcard syste on the same network? Talk about securuesity iss.
      Segment the 2 networks. Install a 200MB/s cap so they can't pull faster than that. And if penalties are needed, put them at 10GB a week at least.
      • by kenthorvath ( 225950 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @11:36AM (#2832299)
        My university has similar restrictions, I believe the quota is 1 GB /week or so and 400 MB upstream. However internal bandwidth is not counted so with a little help from Direct Connect [ned-modus.com]. We were all sharing a lightning fast connection to a P2P system with approximately 5-6 TB of files! In fact, We have almost every movie, song, and video game on this server with little or no remote queueing. In fact, the university not only turns a blind eye to this type of behavior, but I've been told by some of the higher ups that it is the best thing that could have happened to the university financially. Legality is hardly an issue because only university computers can connect to the server. It's a great system.
    • by zhensel ( 228891 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @11:43AM (#2832316) Homepage Journal
      We have a sensible system at my Big 10 university (UIUC). 750 MB per day limit, with rate limiting kicking in as you approach the limit - 1.5 mbps at 80% of the limit, 128kbps after hitting the limit, 32kbps if you go to, I believe, 150% of the limit. Works much better than the system they had at the beginning of the year: contacting students if they exceed the limit and shutting down their connection for two weeks in combination with disciplinary action should they repeat the offense. I'd wager that the amount of time they save with the automatic system saves enough money to afford any extra bandwidth used by students with the new system.
    • Yeah, OTC made a really bad decision, but what can you do? You own Association of Residence Hall Students voted for it, for crying out loud. Student government representation indeed.

    • I was an undergrad at Georgia Tech and you *never* *ever* had bandwidth consumption problems unless you were really insane (at one point one guy was using 60% of the schools bandwidth to run a pirate site and he got cought). Georgia Tech just had a lot of bandwidth because they knew tehy needed it.

      Anyway, I expect that almost all Tech schools have reasonable notions about bandwidth consumption. There is a very good reason for this: Tech schools know that every single person is going to use a lot of bandwidth, so they provide the necissary amounts inb the first place. Your average university which just installed dorm networking is tring to bullshit themselves into believing that only a handful of people actually use the network.

      Anyway, I do not think dorm bandwidth should play a huge role in your college decissions. Still, bandwidth is a better reason then football to pick a school, so I say most people should at least find out how much bandwidth the school offers prior to attending. I would say a more importent point is that bandwidth and computer policy *may* be indicative of other administrative issues and you sould pay attention to the over all administrative picture.

      I can tell you Georgia Tech is an absolutly great school in terms of computer policy (and administration). Georgia Tech students complain a lot, but they are pretty much full of shit. Actually, the *only* real problem I can remember at Georgica Tech was the coop office's power trip issues, but who would ever want to coop anyway.. it's a waist of time.

      I can also tell you that Rutgers has one of the worst administrations I could imagine (without going to some psycho religious school or some place with specific serious rights problems). The rutgers dorm networking is absolute crap and they have insanely small quotas which essentually enshure that you will not use the network for anything interesting. I've never been stopped for it, but the quotas are technically too small to DL a RedHat CD.

      btw> I do like Rutgers as a grad school since I like the department and my advisor, but I hate dealing with the rutgers administration and I can see undergrads having very serious problems (since they deal more directly with the administration).
  • by baptiste ( 256004 ) <mike@NoSpaM.baptiste.us> on Sunday January 13, 2002 @10:14AM (#2832107) Homepage Journal
    Sure, legitimate bandwidth use is high. But student use of bandwidth is huge.

    The university I work at has a huge pipe (1Gb I think) shared with two other local universities. Generally we use the least amount of the bandwidth, but at one point our usage had hit like 500Mb/s Needless to say teh other schools were freaking - they were losing packets due to teh pipe being so full. Well, our dorms are on their own network. Sure enough, thats where most of the bandwidth was going. Blocking Kazza/Morpheus and co is tough since it'll switch and seek out other ports. So the only solution was to limit the total bandwidth for the dorms to 25Mb/s Sure enough, once that block went in place our usage overall dropped to like 90Mb/s. 300-400Mb/s of bandwidth just for the dorms????

    The students were upset since their pipe was now slam full and they had trouble getting out, but the response basically was - stop running servers and stuff for music that suck up bandwidth and you'll be able to get on the Net to do the stuff you need to do. Its not perfect, but for now it works and keeps us from totally saturating our pipe.

    • by Imperator ( 17614 ) <(ten.reknehsremo) (ta) (2todhsals)> on Sunday January 13, 2002 @10:40AM (#2832159)
      The problem is not that students are sharing files. The problem is that students are sharing files outside the campus network. There's almost always extra bandwidth within the dorms. If a school were to encourage some method of sharing that first tried to download from within the campus, the vast majority of desired files would be found within the dorms, and the external bandwidth usage would diminish. Of course, such a pragmatic approach would make the stop-it-all crowd very unhappy, so it is unlikely to ever be implemented.
      • by cmkrnl ( 2738 )
        Yes idiot, it would also make the owners of the campus infrastructure responsible and therefore liable for copyrighted material exchanged through such a facility.

        Plausible deniability is an defence when its a bytestream crossing a network. Impossible when its on college owned and managed P2P server.

        Never mind the ethical/politcal considerations of some of the material transferred.

    • Blocking Kazza/Morpheus and co is tough since it'll switch and seek out other ports

      No it doesn't! Just block destination port 1214 and they can log in and search, but can't download squat because everyone else's Morpheus copy is listening on 1214. I did it to my bandwidth-hog roommate and we're lag-free all the time now.
  • the soln (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gargle ( 97883 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @10:15AM (#2832109) Homepage
    The problem is unlimited, flat rate access. The solution is a market based approach where people are charged according to how much bandwidth they use, and not draconian anti-market restrictions on utilization.

    Want to use more bandwidth? Sure, as long as you're willing to pay for it.
    • Telephony billing costs more for off-peak periods than the transmission costs. Billing, marketing, collection, and support for an ISP cost much more than the back-side bandwidth. It's not economic to meter. And it kills you competitively.

      You need some throttling to hold back the few percent of the user population who will suck up all available bandwidth, but the practical cap is maybe 10x the median.

      As a technical matter, I hate packet drop as a throtting measure. Packet reordering is much more effective at throttling TCP, especially for long TCP connections.

      [I used to do network congestion research. I invented "fair queueing", discovered "congestion collapse", and was the first to describe the "tragedy of the commons" problem for networks. I introduced all three of those phrases to networking. See the RFCs that bear my name. So I do know something about this, although I got out of networking and into graphics years ago. J. Nagle]

  • Light up all the dark fiber in the US, problem solved... for a while. Seriously though imagine all the cool technology that would come out of having tons and tons of bandwidth.
    • I'd love it! ...But it's not gonna happen any time soon. Running extra fiber while digging in the stuff you're using is relatively cheap, compared to the equipment you need to actually light it up. Otherwise it'd already be utilized.

      Prices on the equipment needed are still coming down, though, thanks to new technology and economies of scale. So give it a few years, and your wishes may come true.
    • Light up all the dark fiber in the US, problem solved...

      Problem is the dark fiber for the most part doesn't go where you want. It is mostly cross country, not to the Uni's doorstep (or most businesses, or my house). It's the last mile problem again, but on a bigger scale. Sure there are a ton of unlit fiber bundles going from VA to CA, but none are close to GMU or UCB.

      (and no the fiber bundles don't really go from VA to CA, but you can get interstate routes in most cases, at least for the more populated states)

  • I work in the Academic Computing Services department of one of the UC Schools...

    The majority of our problems come from about 10% of the population on campus who are online 24/7 downloading their pr0n, thus giving most of the other students probably polled in this study a reason to start asking for more bandwidth. I should also add that these are the same 10% who are hogging internal bandwidth playing counterstrike, etc.

    I think that the term "Insatiable Demand" is definitely a misnomer. Although the "Prominence of file sharing" does apply to quite a few people in our dorms, 90% of the people are utilizing the network for, at most 10-20 megs a day. In fact, we have a 2Mbit cap on the routers coming out of the dorms, and most users find that they can surf the web and get their 3 or 4 files a day with no problems, and are pleased that, at 4AM, they can get an insanely high throughput. The reason that the students complain about the network being slow is because of the caps (which most don't know about) at peak times, because, again, the 10% that actually do have an unquenchable thirst for data would take full advantage of the situation.

    I should add also that we block Morpheus, thereby removing those oh-so-lovely TCP standards hacks it implements, so YMMV
    • Always good to sneak in a jab at computer games and the people who play them in a post like this. However, since games like Counterstrike typically only consume some 1.5kB/s-3kB/s to operate normally, what exactly is meant by "hogging internal bandwidth"? Those numbers seem like very normal use of campus lines, even if the total packet throughput is above-average in a realtime UDP application.
    • by AnotherBlackHat ( 265897 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @03:35PM (#2833109) Homepage
      Yeah, I know what you mean. I used to help with the administration of the pianos in my college, and it was much worse. Seems like the music majors consumed way over 90% of the time available, even though the other students barely touched them. More than once I was on the receiving end of complaints that there weren't enough pianos. And I heard that the swimming pool was in a worse situation, with the swim team hogging nearly 95% of that valuable resource.

      The worst part was the huge number of administrators who seemed to think that the situation was completely acceptable. I would constantly hear phrases like "The equable distribution of resources does not mean everyone must use exactly equal portions.".

      Each of us is an individual. And the name of that individual is Clancy Jones. - Clancy Jones #148.
  • My experience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UnrefinedLayman ( 185512 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @10:28AM (#2832134)
    At an unnamed university in California for whom I work, we have available at any given time ~ 40 Mb/s, with around 800 students living on campus. Normally our network situation isn't bad, but this last fall semester it got completely out of hand.

    Of the 40 Mb/s, on average one-half of it would be in use directly by students in the dorms. At times, individual ports would be using 7-8 Mb/s, for as long as ten hours at a time. Eventually, it was decided that the impact on the university's bandwidth was affecting the educational functions of the campus network and all users were reminded by mail of the campus AUP for the network.

    Students, being students, ignored it largely. The offenders who chose to ignore it and flaunt the fact they were ignoring it (anything above 2 Mb/s for over a few hours) were warned by mail individually, and after that, had their ports shut off and the MAC address of their computers banned from the DHCP pool, so no matter where they went (i.e., plugging it into their roommate's port), they were locked out. To receive service again, they needed to contact the student judicial affairs, which involved only signing an agreement not to be naughty again, with the threat of being kicked out of the dorms.

    Long story short, a few people got their ports shut off and had to go through all the rigamarole. Most of they had no idea what they did was wrong, and didn't understand that leaving Kazaa, Morpheus and all their other file trading utilities on all day long was not only illegal, but the reason they received the notices in the first place.

    It boggles my mind to think that these kids got into a university and don't understand that downloading the new N'sync album before it's on store shelves is illegal. Theft is theft, no matter who you're screwing over, but luckily, most will figure it out pretty quickly when the university tells them they were disconnected because Sony contacted the university about their particular computer, and yes, both the university and Sony would be more than happy to have them kicked off campus rather than deal legally with a pirate.
    • To receive service again, they needed to contact the student judicial affairs, which involved only signing an agreement not to be naughty again, with the threat of being kicked out of the dorms.

      OK, not to be subversive here, but isn't kicking someone out of the dorms for 'netting too much kind of like kicking someone out of college for drinking too much?

      The excesses of students who are "free from mommy and daddy" for the first time is well-documented, and Internet access abuse it at LEAST as old as 1996, when I was hooking up dorm Ethernet connections for the University of Wyoming. Back then, each dorm had a 100mbs connection to the campus WAN via fiber, and the students were still complaining about local performance slowdowns to the campus VAX, and webservers.

      Let alone being unable to get all the porn newsgroups on Usenet. "And why are articles rolled off after 3 days???" :)
      • OK, not to be subversive here, but isn't kicking someone out of the dorms for 'netting too much kind of like kicking someone out of college for drinking too much?

        That's perfectly understandable when their bar tab exceeds their tuition.

    • Re:My experience (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs@nOspam.ajs.com> on Sunday January 13, 2002 @12:59PM (#2832561) Homepage Journal
      didn't understand that leaving Kazaa, Morpheus and all their other file trading utilities on all day long was not only illegal,

      Hello! Why would leaving Kazaa running all day be illegal?!

      I think you're making some interesting conclusions about legal precidents which have yet to be set. Now, I could buy that explicitly downloading something which is copyrighted is a violation of copyright (assuming that no other provision, e.g. licensing, has been made), but you're way out on a limb otherwise.
      • Quoth the parent:
        Hello! Why would leaving Kazaa running all day be illegal?!
        By "illegal", the poster was most likely thinking in terms of the school's network acceptable use policy, which most state in relatively vague terms that a user will not abuse the network's bandwidth or use more than their fair share.
    • Seriously -- trying to prevent bandwidth abuse by students by explaining that downloading MP3s is criminal is the wrong approach to controlling bandwidth.

      Make 'em pay instead -- give everybody a useful (and network friendly) amount of monthly or quarterly amount of traffic. Students who exceed this amount lose access to anything but select campus resources (library, burar, registration, etc) UNLESS they cruise over to the bursar's office and buy more bandwidth, which should be easy and simple for them to do and at market rates.

      This money should be directed exclusively to the university's network operation center for the purpose of maximizing internet throughput -- gear, upstream capacity, people, caches, etc.

      My guess is that of the people who are chronic bandwidth abusers, 75% won't pay more and will go do something else. 25% will pay more and will monetarily help offset the problems they cause.

      The other solution would be to say "We just can't afford student inet access anymore" and give the kids access to university resources (library, etc) only and those that want broader internet access would have to buy it from an outside vendor at market rates. Again, this lets the marketplace solve the problem.
    • At times, individual ports would be using 7-8 Mb/s, for as long as ten hours at a time.... offenders who chose to ignore it ... were warned by mail individually .... and after that, had
      their ports shut off and the MAC address of their computers banned from the DHCP pool

      I've never understood why colleges think they have to go to all the trouble of hassling students about their bandwidth usage when a much simpler and less aggravating method is obvious. All you really need is a program for your routers that measures bandwidth usage from each internal IP address, and computes a "dynamic priority level" for each IP address based on the total number of bytes it has sent/received in the last (n) hours. Then, when bandwidth availability gets tight, the router can free up bandwidth by forcibly constraining the send/receive rate of the IP addresses who have recently been loading the network the most. The way the "bandwidth hogs" never get in the way of the light users... but since the bandwidth hogs are probably just unattended computers doing downloads or file sharing anyway, their users will probably never even notice the slower speeds.

      If this reminds you of the standard Unix CPU scheduler algorithm, it should... it's the same exact idea, applied to network bandwidth instead of CPU time.

      Cisco or somebody could make a lot of money selling a product like this to colleges... just think of all the administrative time and student unhappiness (== lost tuition) it would save.

    • >Theft is theft, no matter who you're screwing over

      Yeah, but the dictionary explains theft [dictionary.com] isn't copying files. Just read it. Theft, or its identical but clearly defined brother, larceny [dictionary.com] only applies when a physical item has been removed from the posession [dictionary.com] of another. In other words, the violated no longer has posession of the item.

      Yup, I know about the law definition of posession. Of course, since this applies only to the violated and their product is still in their hands with their rightful ownership intact it still doesn't count.

      Now, walking into NSync's house and stealing all their papers with their ideas for their next album is the only copyright violation I can come up with on the spot that is also theft.

      However, fortunately KaZaa can't do that (yet)!

      >and didn't understand that leaving Kazaa, Morpheus and all their other file trading utilities on all day long was not only illegal

      No, leaving it on all day is not illegal. Perhaps against your AUP, but breaking an agreement between student and university is not illegal. That's why he can't go to jail or get community service for abusing your bandwidth in any way he likes.

      Or do you mean that trading the Nsync album is illegal? There's a big difference between the medium and the message, you know. Just ask the art department.

      I don't disagree with your actions, but unfortunately it seems the BSA has caught another computer professional up in their redefinition of the english language. Don't let it happen! Fight the power and keep the dictionary true to its roots! Copying copyrighted files without permission is copyright violation. Nothing more, nothing less.

      You can say piracy [dictionary.com]. This word, however, is intentionally both overused and loaded. I'm sure you and me both don't consider a software "pirate" someone who goes to coastal villiages and nearby ships to rape women and pillage.

      Sorry, don't take this all too seriously. I just think that when people stop calling piracy theft (which it isn't) people will see that the crime committed is nowhere near the level the RIAA would consider it.
    • This hilights an attitude I found all-too-prevalent when I was in college. Unlike in every business, schools do not recognise who their customers are. Students are the customers--they are the ones pating the administrators' salaries, the ones without whom there would be no school.

      The students do not exist for the school; the school exists for the students. They are the customer, and should be the boss.

      Part of the problem is that schools are very socialist. Typically students pay an activity fee and get all college services for free or for a niggling cost. This is wrong. They should be able to opt out of that which they don't desire, and pay only for what they want. When I was in school, part of my fee went to the football team. I never attended a game. I never wanted to see grown men wearing spandex and slapping one another's rears. So why pay for it? OTOH, I used the campus gun locker to store my rifle, and I used the network extensively, and I enjoyed going to Springfest. I should have paid individually for those things.

      Schools should charge students for bandwidth used. If a student wishes, he can go for the cheap-but-slow plan, or ante up and get more bang for more bucks. We Have the Technology. This is right, just and fair. Honestly, most folks don't need more than maybe 128kbps max. Some people want more than that. Let them pay.

      But the attitude that the students exist as a nuisance to the school is foolish, for without them there would be no network, no sysadmins and no college. The customer is always right--even when he's wrong. And the students are your customer. They do not exist at your sufferance: you do at theirs.

  • by schnurble ( 16727 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @10:43AM (#2832164) Homepage
    OK, first off, I'm very serious. And I'm ignoring such things as Morpheus, Gnutella, etc. Those should be blocked.

    But honestly, is it so unreasonable for bandwidth demand to go up? The medium is getting richer. Websites are taking advantage of media like Flash, movies, and sound more and more. More information abounds. People want stuff in more than just plain marked-up text. Maybe the increase is disproportional, but there are people (like my parents) that still believe that a 28.8kbps modem is sufficient. Not true.

    Yes, as new services (including gnutella and napster) come about, there is a natural demand for more access. Deal with it.

    More, quicker, better. It's the way things will go.
    • by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs@nOspam.ajs.com> on Sunday January 13, 2002 @12:56PM (#2832552) Homepage Journal
      Morpheus, Gnutella, etc. Those should be blocked.

      This is the classic application of authority to solve a technical problem. Look how well that works for the Chinese ;-)

      Now, if a University *really* wanted to solve the problem, they would devote some research dollars to p2p networking.

      For starters, yes the majority of p2p communications these days is porn and music. You will also find humor, news footage, open source software, movie trailers released (quietly and so as not to endorse the media) by the studios, text documents authored by fanatics, fools, story-tellers and tech writers.

      If Universities have a problem with high bandwidth utilization, they should 1) work on the protocols to make them more sensitive to network topology so that they prefer cheaper resources (ala UUCP) 2) impose per-port bandwidth monitoring and charge students per-Gb after some nominal "you can do your homework and send mail to the folks" cap 3) educate students on how the services they use affect bandwidth.

      This idea that Gnutella should be banned because we don't like what it *can* (and often is) used for is counter to what Universities profess to offer to their students. If I wantsed to get a lesson in authoritarian control, I'd work for the IRS.
  • by flsquirrel ( 115463 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @10:46AM (#2832169)
    I attend a small state school of about 7000 undergrads(well, maybe not super small) and across the past year we have experienced precisely this problem. We have ethernet jacks in all the dorm rooms and everybody was running all the usual file sharing apps and it got to the point that you could not surf the web. The browser would time out because it went to long between packets! So the beginning of this year, A QoS package(I beleive we're running packeteer) was set up on our firewall to hunt down and block the packets for these programs as well as streamline some other network traffic and things have really cleared up. It's not blazing fast but surfing happens at a reliable 20k/second which is pretty snappy for browsing. Linux ISO's still take a while though ;-)

    Things to think about in the current suggested solutions:

    1. Limiting bandwidth to dorms just hurts students who don't run these programs! Yes there are some of us out here. The majority of students even in a small school can not be organized to stop running this type of software. They just bitch about the slow connection and keep right on downloading mp3's. At least that's what happened when our college tried it.

    2. Blocking ports isn't effective. One of the earlier posts mentioned about how Morpheous and others seek out new ports. This makes normal port blocking on a router or firewall useless and may arbitrarily block other software that is not a problem but happens to use the same port. You have to have software smart enough to look at packet type/content to be effective.

    3. QoS software works if you get the right package. I work for the computer center at my college and I know we went through a number of packages before we settled on one. But it really makes a difference and it's suprising how many people don't even know this sort of software exists.
    • The majority of students even in a small school can not be organized to stop running this type [morhpeus, et al] of software. They just bitch about the slow connection and keep right on downloading mp3's.

      There are a reason most college kicks complain about bandwidth while running the same bandwidth sucking program: that's what they want to do. Surfing the web at top speed is nice, but most college students really just want to download music. So it doesn't really make sense for them to stop doing it in order to free up the bandwidth. Telling college kids to stop downloading music in order to free up bandwidth is like telling a computer gamer to stop playing games in orer to free up CPU cycles. What good are the freee resources if you're not using them for what you want to do?

      In the end, college kids mostly just want to download music. I know, because I am one. So no matter how well intentioned, any kind of packet filtering scheme is just making the college kids madder.
    • Linux ISO's still take a while though ;-)

      A caching web proxy might help with that sort of thing. I cringe at the thought of one site downloading multiple copies of a single large file. It just ain't right!

      I don't get why all universities, ISPs, etc don't have caches.

      • A lot of universities don't have caches - trying to cache web content for the (approx) 9000 students in UBC [www.ubc.ca]'s dorms would be a nightmare, and if those caches included 600-700 meg files, resources would be taxed.

        A lot of universities (larger ones anyway) tend to have their own file mirrors, and if not, they are often connected to larger universities which do, sometimes over private academic networks.

        A HREF="ftp://ftp.crc.ca/">ftp.crc.ca, for example, my personal favourite Debian mirror, is connected to the CA*Net III, as are all major universities in Canada. This gives a friend at the University of New Brunswick [www.unb.ca] the ability to max out his network card pulling down ISOs, Debian packages, and anything else, over an ultra-fast network link that costs the school absolutely nothing.

        Perhaps more universities could benefit from building thier own such networks between each other. This is, after all, how the Internet got started, why not start again?

  • by coding_ape ( 550567 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @10:46AM (#2832171)
    They instituted a packet shaping policy at my school (Harvard) last semester to kill file sharing apps. It apparently does a lot of packet dropping on ports above 1000. Unfortunately for me, it destroyed my beloved Counter-Strike (300+ pings, 30-40% packet loss etc), along with every single multiplayer game I have tried. Now no one can convince me that CS is a bandwidth hog - the netgraph shows an average usage of a little over 1kb/s. It was designed to be played over a 56k.

    Problem is, no one at school wants to hear about the problem; they just accept the collateral damage.

    Does anyone know why/if this must be the case? i don't really understand why the software (perhaps Packetshaper as mentioned above) ruins the ping times - shouldn't it just drop enough packets so a TCP connection stays at a slow transfer rate?

    Also, shooters generally use UDP to send the state information. I imagine file transfer programs use TCP. Not knowing much about the software, would it be possible to shape TCP connections and not UDP? (this would require reading the header)

    • by Corgha ( 60478 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @02:35PM (#2832900)
      Problem is, no one at school wants to hear about the problem; they just accept the collateral damage.

      I suppose you don't remember the day this fall when packet shaping was turned off [harvard.edu] and absolutely nothing worked. The "poor performance" mentioned in that announcement is quite an understatement -- traceroute probes came back in times on the order of seconds or not at all. I also remember the days just before the traffic shaping was put in place and I was getting over 5-second ping times. People like games, but when email and the web stop working, people quickly start thinking about realistic priorities.

      You also might ask yourself: did your games work when no traffic shaping was in place and ping times were measured in seconds and packet loss was rampant? I doubt it. How, then, can you blame the shaping for your problems if your problems didn't go away when the shaping did?

      Does anyone know why/if this must be the case? i don't really understand why the software (perhaps Packetshaper as mentioned above) ruins the ping times

      First of all, because of retransmits, dropping packets can lead to high "ping" times, depending on the protocol/application and what it considers a "ping." Second, the software may be trying to "smooth" out the traffic to fit under some limit -- queueing packets from burst periods to be transmitted in lower-traffic periods.

      shouldn't it just drop enough packets so a TCP connection stays at a slow transfer rate?

      That's a nice idea in theory, but the problem in practice is this: tracking all those individual TCP flows would require immense amounts of computation by the router. AFAIK, we're talking orders of maginitude greater than what is currently available. From what I hear, the really expensive Cisco router at the border is already extremely busy doing just the simple packet shaping, which just limits the aggregate high-port traffic. Breaking that one giant flow into millions of little flows is non-trivial and probably impossible.

      Now I'm no networking expert, but it seems to me that doing traffic limitation on a per-user or per-flow basis would probably require some sort of distributed model that did the limiting closer to the user. This might mean not only replacing all the switches with more expensive models, but also hiring new staff (non-trivial) to install and integrate the new hardware into the existing network and to maintain the configuration on all those switches or to write some fancy new automated system to do the maintenance. Of course, all that is just another idea, and there may be some other pratical considerations that make it even less feasible. It also sounds like a lot of work, and considering why you would be asking them to do it, I can imagine that it would end up a lower-priority item than other things that the FAS network people have to do.

      Not knowing much about the software, would it be possible to shape TCP connections and not UDP? (this would require reading the header)

      I don't know either, but the file-sharing folks have shown themselves to be pretty adaptable. If they would play nice and limit themselves to certain ports and protocols, then everything would be easy. And, of course, who knows whether this would just require too much CPU time, as well.

      Anyway, some background/historical info:
      The undergraduate dorms get their connections through the FAS (Faculty of Arts and Sciences) network, which in turn gets its connection through UIS (University Information Services), which provides networking for all of Harvard. Back in the good old days of 2000, before the file-sharing people went crazy, UIS had just upgraded its internet connection (to a 155MB/s OC-3, IIRC) -- oh what heady and naieve days those were. Now, however, the situation is this: file-sharing programs seem to act as a gas that consumes all available bandwidth. That first started happening, IIRC, the weekend when Napster was going to be shut down. Suddenly, the undergraduates doing file-sharing shut down the connection for the entire university (which is much larger than the undergrads).

      This is a classic "tragedy of the commons" scenario. The file-sharing folks abused a shared resource and ruined it for everyone else. What the traffic shaping essentially does, since it limits the student network to some portion of the FAS-UIS feed, is allow the file-sharing programs to ruin only the undergraduate dorm commons. Now, it's easy to blame the shaping for the bad performance, but the real truth of the matter is that if the file-sharing programs weren't trying to consume essentially infinite traffic, your games wouldn't have a problem. The router doesn't slow things down just to mess with you. Gamers are getting "scrood" by the other undergraduates doing file sharing, not the traffic shaping. Incidentally, the shaping is similar to the sometimes-raised suggestion of giving the students their own internet connection and fighting it out amongst themselves, except that traffic shaping makes it easier for people to complain about "the Man" and that a separate feed would be stepping on UIS's toes a bit. Also, a student-only connection would have to be much bigger than an OC-3, because it has already been demonstrated that an OC-3 can't handle the file-sharing traffic.

      What most people want is for the file-sharing people to be moved out of their commons and into someone else's. That's what you're suggesting when you want TCP but not UDP to be limited. As an off-campus user, the file-sharing people are already out of my commons, so I'm happy that I can access Harvard websites and mail and login servers again. Most of the users of Harvard's network aren't on-campus undergraduates, either. Perhaps you can understand, then, why I'm defending the shaping. I like the network to be actually usable instead of the packet-dropping mess that it is when shaping isn't there.

      There's also the option of getting rid of the commons, which is the shaping-per-user suggestion, but that has some disadvantages, too. Even if the undergrad dorms get one third of that university-wide OC-3, that's only 7.5kb/s per undergrad, which is not too great. Up the per-user bandwidth to something reasonable and now a certain number of file-sharing people can take everything over again.

      Then there's the get-a-bigger-commons option. There are several problems with this. First, it's not clear that there exists a pipe fat enough for the number of file-sharing users among the undergraduates plus the other uses from the university at large. Second, of course, is what someone else has already mentioned -- try to imagine the FAS network admins justifying to UIS the need for the university to get a bigger feed, and UIS in turn having to justify that budget item, just for undergraduate file-sharing.

      Everything I have said is based on what limited stuff I have seen and heard, but it seems to me that it's all really complicated, and if there were an easy solution, I'm sure it would already have been adopted.

    • So, you gamers never heard of a LAN party? Geez, get a grip.
    • And of course no one cares about games after 9-11 and in a university school wiht the whole columbine thing, why cant there be a study on the benifits on games, stress relife, peer to peer interaction, ect.. ect..
  • by Enonu ( 129798 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @10:54AM (#2832199)
    As history has shown, people will use a resource to its full limits until there is none left, and then complain for more. As a college student myself, I can't wait for the day until I can host 640x480 HQ MPEG2 videos at let's say 80 megabytes a pop, downloaded at lets say 10 times a minute. I can't wait for the day where a Linux ISO download is burned straight from the net onto my DVD-R @ 10X. On top of that bandwidth, I want it all wireless, 1 ms per hop for latetency, and at most 5 hops to anywhere in the world.

    Of course by then I'll be demanding real-time, life-size holographic video of a "phone-call" to a friend in Asia @ 3 million DPI.

    Then finally, matter transport. I wonder how many bytes it'd take to decribe each atom and all its subatomic particles. How many atoms to a human body? Let's do it Star Trek style, and do it in about 5 seconds.

    Fast forward a million years, and let's say we haven't blown each other up yet. We'd probably be at the equivalent of God by then.

    "Hey Jeff, fancy creating a solar system today?"
    "Why not Bob?"
    "Well fancy that. OK." *click* "What do you think of that for a Sun?"
    "Pretty impressive. Hey let's transport Dave's planet from quadrant four over here. That bastard is always gloating. It'll take him a few seconds to find it."
    "OK." *click* "Hey it sort of looks nice doesn't it?"

    • Um, technically, if you restrict yourself to laying fiber across the surface of the planet, it'll still take 70ms or so to get around to the opposite side of the planet. Speed of light and all.

      So I don't think your 5ms latency to anywhere wish is going to come true.
  • A side effect... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @12:15PM (#2832418)
    I did a security assessment at a large university late last year, and found something astonishing. The number one expenditure of time for the computer security staff was dealing with cases of "copyright infringement" from the representatives of record companies. And I mean, it was something like 80% of the manpower. What was also infuriating was that a lot of these cases involved MP3s that had been posted by the band to their own website (that week that I was onsite, most of the warnings given to the university had to do with a song by Incubus, if I remember correctly, that had been downloaded from the official Incubus website.)
  • by Wyzard ( 110714 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @12:19PM (#2832433) Homepage

    At my school (Lehigh University), we address bandwidth problems this way...

    Each student (each MAC address, really) is allowed to transfer one gigabyte within a 12-hour period. If you go over the limit, you get put in a "penalty box" (basically sub-58k speeds) for a while until your transfer total for the past 12 hours is under a gig. Uploads and downloads are counted separately, and transfers that don't go off-campus don't count at all. One of the university's servers holds a list of what addresses are in the penalty box, and what their transfer totals are.

    This is quite effective - it gives each student a reasonable amount of bandwidth, and it only punishes those who actually use too much of it. And our 45mbit internet connection is rarely maxed out.

  • These two products do wonders for bandwidth hogs, QOS Works [sitaranetworks.com] by Sitara also has a built in HTTP cache. Packeteer's Packetshaper [packeteer.com] does the same thing (without the cache). Initially you simpy plug them into your LAN and they monitor the types of traffic for a while then provide you with charts and graphs. You choose what types of traffic to give how much bandwidth. If some new hog show up you find out pretty quickly and can limit it easily. Really slick products. Can be costly though.
  • http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2002/01/01-11 -02tdc/01-11-02dnews-02.asp

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I go to a fairly major university that's had its share of bandwidth problems. Our network services division has done everything from deny that a bandwidth problem exists to limit outgoing bandwidth to prevent file sharing from taking place and simply saying "well, if you want faster speeds, don't run file-sharing." Lately it has been acceptable, except for outgoing bandwidth, which can cause ping-spiking in games.

    Now, this is a technical-oriented school, particularly in the CS and engineering fields, so computer-literate users are quite common. What most people don't know is the effects of leaving programs such as Morpheus and KaZaA running 24/7. We had a "computer JR" (judicial referral) discussion session, the gist being "don't get caught," but the more telling thing was the users of such services.

    They had no idea how to restrict outbound transfers or even how to change shared folders. I've heard them complain they are awoken at 4am from their HD churning away and they wonder why. Each of their eyes was wide-open in amazement when they found out that they could get a "computer JR!" They had absolutely no notion of what they were doing, the effects of it, and why it caused problems. They shouldn't be allowed to run those types of apps, period. I blame it on the generation of people coming in who found that Napster was "cool."

    And yes, I have felt the effects of these selfish idiots hogging bandwidth when using the network for legitimate, educational means.

    Are there any ways to get network services to listen to us?
  • At my big school... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by crashx99 ( 444198 )
    At a big upstate NY school, we have had massive problems with that. It was mainly Morpheus and Kazaa, and I used to work for the computing consultants and I would get a LOT of calls in about how little bandwith kids in the dorms were getting. I personally in my dorm couldn't even check slashdot because it was so bad, and our school has numerous OC3's too! It was a painful experience, but the school just send out mass emails about how to turn off file sharing in Morpheus and it made it a WHOLE lot better. I myself have been a bandwidth hog (using over 2 gig's a day, but rarely) but no, these kids are even worse with their MP3's. And it's even harder to tell my roommates to not do that stuff because it hurts everyone else. And yes, We have major companies down our throats... All the time.
  • by Restil ( 31903 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @01:18PM (#2832647) Homepage
    I've said this before, but its a good point. Even though its been pointed out to me that some of the file sharing software supports this, people don't primiarly share locally. They abuse the upstream connection for all of their sharing, when chances are good on a large university campus, there will be numerous others sharing similiar things, and the local bandwidth is cheap and plentiful.

    The clients used for this purpose need to prioritize on local networks. Even if there is a limit on the number and speed of the connections, give immediate unrestricted access to anyone thats on the local net. This will encourage people to look first from within and only search the rest of the internet if it can't be found locally. If other large universities did the same thing, then the incoming requests would also be significantly minimized.

    Remember, if the upstream connection is used or a local one is used, the local bandwidth is spent anyways. Might as well quit wasting one of them.

  • by htmlboy ( 31265 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @01:18PM (#2832649)
    as i see it, the problem lies in students' view of computers as music storage devices rather than tools to do classwork. napster/audiogalaxy/kazaa/whatever is now seen as the primary use for a computer in a dorm room, and the students with those computers, being the unwashed masses of the internet, will often leave the default settings on, sharing all the files they download. large numbers of people doing that will slow down any internet connection.

    but that's not it. because this is how the students see their computers to be used, they expect that the campus resources for internet access should be adjusted for their obviously non-academic activity. this sense of entitlement is at the root of the problem. without all the people who only know their pc as a souped-up jukebox, there would be plenty of bandwidth for legitimate use.

    that may sound pretty out there -- i'm just speaking as someone who's seen the cycle of network saturation leading to a blocked ip or rate limited port too many times.
  • Acceptable Usage (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shut_up_man ( 450725 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @01:29PM (#2832684) Homepage
    I don't like Acceptable Usage Policies. I see them and think "these guys haven't built their network properly". I want their network to let me do whatever the hell i want, and restrict me automatically through technical means, not allow me to overload everything, THEN tell me I've been bad.

    I'd like to see bandwidth restriction based on current overall usage too, rather than times of the day, ports, or locations around campus. If no-one is using the 10Mbit link, I should be able to use it! When things get busy, my pr0n downloads should be throttled back.
  • Penn State (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jdc180 ( 125863 )
    Penn State recently capped downloads. There's and article here [psu.edu]. The interesting thing is the fact that 247 students(1.6%) use 46% of the bandwidth.
  • Quite a few postings above have been from a netadmin's point of view, and I understand their pov. BW is expensive. I however, am a student, and would like to give my perspective. Capping is a pain for users. Asymmetric capping is even worse. I can't convey how annoying it is when your trying to send something to a friend (Large powerpoint presentation from last week comes to mind) and it goes SLOW (course slow is 24KB/sec). People can normally DL here at about 100KB/sec, which means that 3/4 of the bandwidth is going unused, and roughly quadrupling the DL time. I hate that. And as for quotas... ewwww. 1.5 GB a WEEK... I go over that in a day. Mirc, Webrowsing and a little dl really add up.

    As for Morpheus and Gnutella... I'm a college student. I'm not rich, and I'm tired of price gouging ($500 for BOOKS!!!!! COME ON!!!!). It is a natural response to it. Leave it be.

    PS, If anyone from University of Kentucky IT is reading this, North Campus would kill for a T3 right now.

  • I'm both a student (undergrad) and an employee of my University, and I've watched with interest the bandwidth problems we've experienced over the past year and a half. As a student in the dorms, last fall I watched as the dorm internet connection went to shit. Now, at first I was rather ticked off that I couldn't download all my songs movies and games, but then I went to work one afternoon and found that the ENTIRE Univ network was nerfed.

    I spent some time calling around to various computer and network services groups on campus to find out what was going on, and I got the same answer every time; "The ResNet is flooding the entire network offline" This wasn't cool, not in the least... It wasn't just the students who were being hit hard by this, the entire University was unable to conduct normal work.

    Now, even though I couldn't surf the web for the latest news on whatever game I was waiting for at the time or IM my friends to see what was going on that night, what was more of an irritation was the fact that I couldn't get my work done. And I had to deal with tons of users who didn't understand that it wasn't within my power to restore net service.

    I've been dealing with fellow students for the past year who do nothing but bitch and complain about the net connection being slow. All I hear is people blaming the University for not giving students the bandwidth they're paying for (The semester fee of $50 goes toward reshall connections, lab use, technical support, network maint. etc...) and so on. Students need to realize that they aren't the end-all-be-all of the Univ system, granted they're the primary source of income, but they have to also realize that their chat privledges and music downloading does NOT take precidence over legitmate academic work.

    So, in response to problems, the Univ has capped the max speed of the reshalls (50mbs total) and set 1.5GB upload and 1.5GB download limits that only apply to traffic that leaves the network. Students need to learn how to use their net connection with fairness and responsibility. I've heard complaints about the download limits from people yelling things like "What if I want to download several Linux ISOs?" They don't realize we have a mirror server that has all the latest files on the internal network.

    To all students who are currently fuming over whatever their university is doing, until you have the proper technical background to be able to suggest viable solutions to the problem, sit down, and kindly shut up as you're doing nothing but flooding the network admins inboxes with emails that they have to read when they would be better off working on the problem.

    • I've heard complaints about the download limits from people yelling things like "What if I want to download several Linux ISOs?" They don't realize we have a mirror server that has all the latest files on the internal network.

      Well, it's a university. The last thing you should expect, is that the people would be able to learn. ;-)

      OTOH, if you did something transparent, like, say, having a caching proxy, [squid-cache.org] then they would still end up using your local copy instead of the connection outside, and it would even work for uninformed and irresponsible people.

  • Despite what they say, its not just filesharing thats bogging down the networks. for two weeks after school began this year for me i was without a school internet connection because everyone uses the internet all of the time now. Instant messanger, email, voice and videoconferencing, websites (flash etc) an other things have taken over the bandwidth. There is just too much you can do on the inbternet now.
  • Our college (2000 students, tech school, half computer's majors) had two T1's for the campus. The dorms gets a T1 and the rest of the campus gets the other T1. With 400 students in the dorms, it was always full and always slow. Most of the traffic was, of course, warez mp3's and movies. Instead of blocking the offenders, they screwed everyone. People got shut off just for downloading linux ISO's. People like me were locked out for trying to start a business.

    While it is shared bandwidth, and should not be used for illegal sharing, it should NOT block legitimate purposes. College is a time to encourage innovation and trying new things, not worring about getting kicked out for trying a new OS or two.

    A funny note, last month I found an fserve on #isoparadise running on a library computer, thus getting around the dorm bottleneck :)

  • Come on, guys!

    Freenet is the way to go! It's anonymous, so the legal precedence of plausible deniability behave in full force, and it (GASP!) caches content to keep bandwidth usage low!

    So, it will anonymously work with the pron and mp3s, as well as any other type of P2P content, while keeping the hammering of the "big pipe" to a minimum!

  • by Hangtime ( 19526 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:56PM (#2833668) Homepage
    Like many here on Slashdot, I came from college away with a need for high speed bandwidth. Not only am I not alone, the ranks are growing. Each year, students with a need for speed leave looking for residences that offer these conveniences. Where a small number of individuals in their mid-30's consider bandwidth a necessity many of us in our early to mid 20's consider it a requirement of our living spaces. In my own case, high speed access was a requirement when looking for an apartment, (wireless 100KB both up and down, nice). Complexes outside of college towns are beginning to take notice as they begin to string CAT 5 through their buildings. In addition, many home builders are getting into the act with prewiring the homes with CAT 5 where traditionally they would drop CAT 2 and 3 for phones. While the bandwidth market won't take off tomorrow like so many had hoped "AT&T wireless, CLECs, etc." Give it 10 years when individuals like myself are ready to buy homes, THEN we will see the broadband revolution we were promised over the past few years.

  • There are other P2P networks out there that make kazaa look like a pipsqueaks toy.

    The 'problem' is that people set up their sharing to max (hey, college line, no BW problems, right? Heh) and end up sharing far more then most other users on the P2P network. People need to realize that 3 or 4 download slots open is more then enough, bleh.

    ::yawns:: besides, private FTP accounts are so much more entertaining. :)
  • Is the next big thing happening and cosnsuming lots of univesity cycles.
    All those 2 GB files, a couple hundred times those music files, take InterNet II capacity to push about in reasonable time.
  • Round (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @06:50PM (#2833875)
    A good portion of the posts by students are their tales of woe about not being able to share gigs of porn and MP3s. Big fucking deal. The fees for your semester's worth of internet access isn't higher than what I pay in the same period for a cable modem. Stop being whiny bitches. I think legitimate uses also fall short of downloading a new Linux ISO every day. No matter what you think you need, you don't REALLY need a new Linux ISO every day. There's also a good chance your school's got a mirror on their internal network somewhere of all the ISOs you could want. If you need an update use apt-get or some other installer program with FTP support for fetching new RPMs. You might talk to some network admins to see if they would provide a mirror for said FTP so you wouldn't have to go outside the network to keep your system up to date. Browsing the web and playing counter strike or Quake all day long is easily legitimate because it isn't going to put you over any quotas. As for admins, put mirrors of stuff like Linux ISOs and FTPs on boxes in the internal network and advertise them to students so they know they don't have to tax your internet connection to get them. Also set up HTTP caching proxies at the head end the dorms or library or whatever hooks up to. It will offload stress on your outgoing connection to the net by a good deal.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong