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UC Irvine Cracks Down on P2P 550

grendel20 writes "After years of dialup, one thing I was looking forward to the most about college was the fast ethernet connection. Upon arriving at UCI though, I found my kazaa speeds to be way below subpar. Apparently, UCI has limited access for all P2P programs with this fine piece of hardware. Now what do I do?" Whether you agree with what UC Irvine is doing or not, I do applaud them for publicizing and being straightforward about it. Upstream entities can implement these sorts of controls without telling users, and it's tempting to do so because it will reduce the number of user complaints.
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UC Irvine Cracks Down on P2P

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 29, 2002 @09:58PM (#4356342)
    That's what you can do.

    Sucks that the college is using it's bandwith for education, eh?
    • Glory be (Score:3, Insightful)

      Can you believe this shit? Complaining that they can't spooge Gnutella packets all over the network 24 hours a day. Meow meow.

      I have a box on a popular dorm network in Cambridge, MA. The net had become basically unusable because P2P file-sharing programs were chattering all the time. Even ssh connections to my machine were sluggish. Then the school decided to rate-limit the P2P traffic to 1Mbps. All problems vanished.

      Free ethernet is a good thing. If you're at a hip school you may even be able to run servers on your machines. Recognize a good thing when you've got it!@
      • Should have been "From the Really Slow News Day Department".
      • The answer, at least in my opinion, is via a QoS mechanism.

        The problem is that you can't have students sucking down gigs of bandwidth to grab the lastest porn flicks off of the gnutellaNet, because it costs you too much to keep them and your "legit" users happy. So set up a QoS system. I'd probably like to have a quota of bandwidth that each person gets per month...and after they've exhausted that bandwidth, they only get network space if there's free space on the network -- their priority drops.
        So if is sucking down more than his fair share and exhausts his entire quota in the first day of the month. After that, his priority at the router gets knocked down to "two" and his performance suffers. If the network's already jammed, his packet is the first to get dropped. That way, you let people who want to do P2P do P2P, and keep the people who just want a snappy SSH server keep a snappy SSH server.

        Since you don't really need real-time response (calculating used bandwidth once an hour in a perl script or something is more than enough), you can do this offline. If I were using a Linux router:

        Set up iptables on each router so that you have a chain that sums the bandwidth used by each host in the network that it routes to. Hourly, poll each of the routers and get the latest usage statistics, and regenerate prioritization rulesets based on these. Send these back out to the routers.

        Since you can do this offline at your NOC, you can do fancy stuff like sum all the bandwidth used by all the IPs allocated to a single user and stuff like that. Give each user 2GB/month, and if they want to use 1GB on their laptop and 500MB on each of their two desktops, that's okay too.

        There is a few potential problems. Technically advanced students could try setting up VPNs. Shouldn't be a huge issue, just means that a slightly larger body of people get 100% utilization of quota.

        IP spoofing is always a potential issue, but no end of problems can be caused by IP spoofing already, and the consequences aren't *disasterous* in this case -- if a massive flood of spoofed data is slipped by the sysadmin, the victim would just get somewhat worse performance.

        Now, that assumes that the bottleneck is at the outgoing connection to your installation. If it's the LAN and your box is hooked up to a simple switch or hub...well, not much you can do there.

        Finally, it's difficult for students to "find loopholes" in rulesets that detect whether software is P2P or not and take advantage of them. Many suggestions that try to rate-limit P2P traffic and P2P traffic alone are vulnerable to this.

        That being said, it's also nice to run a big Web opaque proxy server with a policy of no logging (most people get leery of optional proxy servers if they log what they're doing). Also, if you have a bunch of hard drives sitting around, you can set up a Freenet node and do the same thing -- have a big local cache for users
  • by Clue4All ( 580842 ) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @09:58PM (#4356343) Homepage
    They're allowing your to pirate music, movies, and software. Most schools block all P2P programs and that's the end of the story. What could you possiblye be complaining about?
    • It's funding. (Score:2, Informative)

      by Skadet ( 528657 )
      The fact that they allow p2p at all - even giving up to 10mbps for it - is good news.

      The UC system is funded (as I found out as a student) mostly by tax money, Federal grants, Private funding, etc. Student fees are just a drop in the bucket. This said, the cost of bandwidth comes straight from the limited, non-student-funded budget, leaving less money available for other IT programs, such as campus-wide wifi.

      Personally, I'd take a wifi program over p2p anyday.
    • What could you possiblye be complaining about?

      MP3 Killed the Media Star

      Clicking away downloading right to my hard drive
      In my own home there was nothing that they could do
      They filed the lawsuits at your university
      System administrators block port 63
      Because I utilize the bandwidth on the T

      I bet your parents... never used WinAmp

      MP3 killed the media star
      MP3 killed the media star
      Napster came and spread you far

      And now we hang out at a foreclosed record store
      We see the shelves that used to hold CD's and more
      And you remember... the industry would go

      You can't hear music... unless you pay us

      MP3 killed the media star
      MP3 killed the media star
      In my Rio and on drive C
      On free web sites and FTP
      MP3 killed the media star
      MP3 killed the media star
      In my Rio and on drive C
      On free web sites and FTP
      Napster came and spread you far
      Put the blame on CDR's

      You are a media star...
      You are a media star...

      MP3 killed the media star
      MP3 killed the media star
      MP3 killed the media star
      MP3 killed the media star

      - poem by David Tiberio(Song available at in MP3 format)
  • Study (Score:3, Funny)

    by HuguesT ( 84078 ) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:00PM (#4356352)
    That's what you have to do now. It's For Your Own Good (tm).
  • Not Alone (Score:2, Informative)

    by _LFTL_ ( 409654 )
    UC Irvine is definitely not alone in this. A number of schools are simply throttling the speed down on common P2P ports. My brother's school, Denison, does this. The student's solution is usually pretty simple though: Move to a client that uses port 80 []. Most of the time the speed is restricted only by port and unless they restrict web access this will get one back onto the autobahn.
  • Device (Score:5, Informative)

    by ( 531040 ) <[moc.kcohsnocilis] [ta] [todhsals]> on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:02PM (#4356368) Homepage
    Packetshaper [] Actual Device.
  • Now you can use your brain to find a way around a problem. Welcome to the world of education!
  • by cadfael ( 103180 ) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:03PM (#4356375) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like UC Irvine is trying hard to balance the freedom of the Internet (they aren't stopping you from downloading via P2P) versus the needs of the academic campus (sorry, getting the latest rip of Brittney just isn't as important to academia as you think). Its a pretty nice solution without a moral judgement. As Michael points out, they are straightforward about it, and their arguments are cogent. Its a good solution to a real world problem.
    • So do you consider hosting providers which allow spammers to use their networks to not be making a moral judgement, as well?

      Bravo for UC Irvine if they can avoid getting sued for what they're doing, but they are most certainly making a moral judgement.

      • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:27PM (#4356537) Journal
        Bravo for UC Irvine if they can avoid getting sued for what they're doing, but they are most certainly making a moral judgement.

        Er. Sued? UC Irvine is just enforcing the terms and conditions of their student internet use policy. I haven't seen it, but I'm sure they've got one, and I'm nearly positive it looks like the ones any other university has. They're not censoring anything; they're not blocking anything. They're just prioritizing.

        You want fast and cheap internet access? You accept their terms. You want to use university resources? Fine. Use them for academic purposes. Shocking. The administration will even wink and nod at some 'personal' use. Sensible. It means that people won't be trying nearly so hard to get around restrictions.

        Value judgement? Well, sort of. Some would call it setting priorities. The campus pipe is only so wide. Does first call on that bandwidth go to people who are reading journal articles, sharing experimental results, and--heaven forbid--learning? Or does it go to the guy in the room down the hall who's too lazy and too cheap to go out to rent a copy of The Matrix?

        In the majority of workplaces that I have experienced (and most have had an academic slant) as well as my university, network administrators have cared not one little bit about what I did with surplus bandwidth. As long as you don't screw things up for people doing real work--that's all that matters.

      • by Peyna ( 14792 )
        I think it should be up to the taxpayers funding the University if they want to pay for the 5mb pipe dedicated almost entirely to P2P.

        I would liken it to an employee using the company copy machine for personal use. The company is paying for something it shouldn't be. In this case, the state is paying for something they shouldn't be: use of their network for purposes not in line with the school's mission and purpose.

  • Right on. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nougatmachine ( 445974 ) <johndagen&netscape,net> on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:03PM (#4356378) Homepage
    University of West Florida does just this-they have a firewall that completely blocks all P2P software ports. Kazaa, gnutella, whatever, it just doesn't work. I think I have the only solution - get Timbuktu [] installed on my home computer, remotely download files from my cable modem and then upload to my college box. Ta-da!
  • Crackdown would be if they banned all P2P and punished anyone caught trying to use a Kazaa or WinMX port...

    This is just maintaining the health of the network by not allowing it to become clogged by a few users of bandwidth-heavy applications, just like when I unplug my little sister's Cat5 from the router when she lets WinMX use the whole house's upstream bandwidth.

  • Says it all... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:03PM (#4356380) Journal
    "In the past, about 2% of the residents would use over 90% of the available bandwidth causing slowdowns and poor performance for everyone." ...

    "We found that over 50% of the network traffic leaving the housing network headed out the Internet was from one single file sharing application. """ ...

    " 1. All network traffic to/from any UCI computer, web site or server is untouched. There are no controls and no need to shape this, as it is "educational" traffic. Further, as it does not go to or from the Internet, we don't have to pay for it. As long as it stays within the UCI network, we can take advantage of the high-speed connections and equipment we have on campus."

    My congratulations to UC Irvine. This sounds like an excellent solution.
    • Interesting... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheOnlyCoolTim ( 264997 ) <> on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:07PM (#4356409)
      The number 1 point there seems an encouragement to set up an in-college P2P system...

      This would be a great feature for P2P developers to add - the ability to first search an internal network for your file before resorting to a search of the wider internet.

      • Re:Interesting... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Psx29 ( 538840 ) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:16PM (#4356483)
        This would be a great feature for P2P developers to add - the ability to first search an internal network for your file before resorting to a search of the wider internet.

        The GPL-licensed gnucleus [] gnutella P2P client has a version specifically for this.

        From the site: "Gnucleus LAN - If your college blocks gnutella use this to create an internal network for you and your friends. General rule is if you can play network games over your school network, gnucleus will also work. This version can be run on the same computer as the internet version."

        • It would be more convenient if they would make it all one client, which had a default "search LAN" button, and another button to click to search the internet.

          But it is something to look at when I get into college.

      • Re:Interesting... (Score:3, Informative)

        by cheeserd00d ( 87522 )
        that's exactly what we do here at my school, rochester institute of technology...we used to have a direct connect hub over internet2 with other i2 schools but then it got to the point that us on the direct connect hub were using 90% of the i2 bandwidth.

        solution: blocked i2 traffic thereby keeping it all internal...there were already enough users from our school that it didn't make too much a difference, and the more people that heard about it the more that got we have an insanely fast DC hub just on the internal network where you can find just about anything!
    • Re:Says it all... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Patik ( 584959 )
      " 1. All network traffic to/from any UCI computer, web site or server is untouched. There are no controls and no need to shape this, as it is "educational" traffic. Further, as it does not go to or from the Internet, we don't have to pay for it. As long as it stays within the UCI network, we can take advantage of the high-speed connections and equipment we have on campus."
      RPI [] has a similar setup, and even encourages inner-campus file sharing [] by providing servers and making it an officially part of the computer science department. These sites only allow you to access them if you're on campus, and I bet it saves lots of Kazaa bandwidth because of all the MP3s and warez that are available right in the dorms.
  • Furman University has a PacketShaper on the dorm LAN.

    It literally ruins any protocol that isn't HTTP.

    They don't own up to its existence.

    I applaud UC Irvine for admitting the PacketShaper's presence on their LAN.

  • UCIrvine = twits (Score:2, Interesting)

    by drwho ( 4190 )
    about a year ago, someone had stolen a password on a system of mine and I found them in the act, connected from UCIrvine. Phone calls to campus police, the IT department, and the IT security desk (ha), were worse than fruitless. They said I was being attacked by nimda, and when I told them no, I was running linux and this was a different sort of thing, they ignored me and passed me up the chain. NOTHING came of my reports except about $10 of phone calls. UCI is now firewalled from my network. Maybe it should be firewalled from the rest of the net, as they don't know anything about security and don't want to learn.

    • by Schubert ( 5172 )
      Wow, just because they didn't help you with YOUR problem you dismiss them completely? If the police didn't do anything about it, tough nuts.

      And why are you blaming them for not knowing security? _you're_ the one that got your password stolen. Be responsible for your own information.
    • About a year ago, someone had stolen a password on a system of mine...

      and later...

      [UCIrvine should be] firewalled from the rest of the net, as they don't know anything about security

      Pot enters room
      "Hi, kettle, did you know you're black."
  • by Darth_brooks ( 180756 ) <> on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:06PM (#4356402) Homepage
    Bandwidth costs. Irvine might not care whether or not you spend you nights looking for that bootleg edit of "a walk to remember" or the deleted scenes from "crossroads", they do care about that formerly phat T3. You pay for that bandwidth in tuition (As well as for the rest of the campus' utilities.)

    You complain about kazaa (with all of it's lovely spyware) being slow. The rest of campus was probably complaining about *everything else* being slow.

    Here's a tip: go to school to get an education. Or at least leave your dorm room once a month. Download speeds become not as important once you discover girls and beer.
    • by ninewands ( 105734 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @01:18AM (#4357291)
      I agree. I'm an admin at a large university and I've seen the damage P2P does to our network. It doesn't materially slow down on-campus commections because we have a fiber backbone. However, we have a limited bandwidth (big limit, but it's a limit) connection to the internet (I don't have access to our i2 connection, darnit).

      DURING BUSINESS HOURS (read, when the student body is supposed to be in class) some 40% of our BACKBONE bandwidth is taken up by P2P running between the dorms. Personally, I'd like to see all that traffic blocked at the layer 3 switches, but that will not happen in an academic environment.

      The net result is that if I connect to my Linux box at home to perform a security test on a Unix box at work (you're not testing unless you're attacking from an uinauthorized host), I have a terminal with a frame rate problem ... . I can literally type 6-10 keystrokes faster than the packets can get through the network. In addition, I occasionally have to download 3-4 isos (new Linux/FreeBSD/Solaris version). A year ago, before they moved the dorms to the new backbone, it was a piece of cake ... I could DL a 3 CD-image set for Solaris in about an hour. Now, it's an overnight job (if I'm lucky).

      In short, quitcherbitching ... there are people on campus who have a productive use for the bandwidth ... the fact that UCI is permitting ANY P2P is (in my mind) a very tolerant step. If I had my way, I'd block it all.

      (and yes, I am one of those terribly libertarian slashdotters, but the ownership of a resource implies the right to control it's use)
  • This is not an uncommon practice. Here at URI [] we have a Packeteer box installed between the Residence Hall network and the edge routers. It limits bandwidth to P2P applications to 10MB/s (burstable to 20MB/s). This is on a network with 60MB/s to I1 and 65MB/s to I2.
  • by Frac ( 27516 ) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:08PM (#4356418)
    (Tongue in cheek of course) ;-P

    grendel20 writes "After years of using dialup (because I'm too cheap for cable/DSL), one thing I was looking forward to the most about college was not the girls, not the college experience, not the beer, and DEFINITELY not the higher level of education, but the saturating of the fast ethernet dorm connection by downloading things I'm too cheap to pay for. Upon arriving at UCI though, I found my freeloading movie/porn/software experience to be subpar. Apparently, UCI has limited access for all P2P programs with this fine piece of hardware. Now what do I do? Go out and not sit in front of my computer?!?!?!?!"
  • by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:08PM (#4356419) Homepage
    At my school, Dakota State University in Madison South Dakota, every time unusually large amounts of traffic showed up on non standard ports, the school would throttle it down with their packet shaper. This was fine and dandy until students realized this and changed the port used to the one port that no school would throttle, that's right, our good friend 80.

    This has caused an even bigger problem because the school sees the dorms using obcene amounts of bandwidth on 80 and to control it they have limited the dorms to just 5 megabits. In theory that is fine, until you count 800 students in the dorms and there being 13 megabits of pipe for this school. The Packet Shaper has destroyed the ability of students to use the internet from their rooms as it causes huge latency, in the order of 4.7 seconds at most (that I've seen) and averaging around 2 seconds (yes, seconds). Normal programs can't handle such latency and send out more and more requests while thinking the earlier packets were lost. P2P programs on the other hand have no problem dealing with large latency.

    Speaking as a student who is suffering because of the P2P abuse of others, be good, if you use the P2P stuff don't leave it on and be responsible otherwise the school may crack down on the students harder then you ever thought was possible.

    P.S. To make this post I am connecting to the internet via an old dial up modem as it is faster then the connection in the dorms, my school was once rated as the 8th most wired college in the nation by Yahoo... oh how the mighty have fallen.
    • I wonder if the packet shaper can throttle per MAC address, then you you divide by modulo 7 and allocate a weeks worth of bandwidth per MAC address. The mod 7 makes sure all the counters dont get reset on the same day. You want more data, pay for another MAC address worth...
      No port restrictions, you use your weekly allocation in whatever way you like, once it's gone, they drop you to 0.5Kb/sec so you can still get email and text services, slowly.
    • The PacketShaper doesn't just throttle traffic based on what TCP/UDP port it runs off of. The PacketShaper actually analyses the data in packets to determine what they are, categorizes that traffic, then allows the administrator to apply rules to that type of traffic.

      The really amazing thing is, the PacketShaper itself is easy to configure and run, and should the box lose power or be unplugged, it becomes a passive device. I'm constantly amazed by how easy it is to prioritize traffic with the little purple box.

      The best part is, when you block ports, network bandwidth abusers look for a work-around. When you throttle bandwidth, the abusers usually assume it's just a lousy connection and usually don't give you much grief.
    • This has caused an even bigger problem because the school sees the dorms using obcene amounts of bandwidth on 80 and to control it they have limited the dorms to just 5 megabits.

      that was a mistake on your netadmin's part for two reasons

      (i) As someone else said, they could have still filtered traffic based on the protocol, or even class of protocol, it does not matter what port it's on. The packetshaper inspects the contents of the data portion of the TCP packet and determines the protocol from there. ( btw. the linux kernel has packet shaping code built in as well )

      (ii)While using the shaper we found an interesting problem. Throttling creates a shit load of traffic inself. When the packet is throttled TCP resets and timeouts increase, the more traffic you're throttling, the more 'protocol overhead' traffic you will see. That traffic alone is enough to bring a network to its knees. This is likely what you're seeing.

      Shaping can only do so much, the more you try to squeeze a large pipe using shaping, the more protocol traffic is generated, hence the more inefficent it gets.

    • Unfortunately, the PacketShaper is a little smarter than this... it doens't solely rely on ports to identify traffic. It actually analyzes the stream data as it passes through the system, and recognizes the individual P2P protocols in use (among hundreds of other specific traffic types and sub-types). Some P2P protocols are quite crafty and send their data over a seemingly innocent HTTP stream... but the PacketShaper catches those too... ;)

      Actually, there are a lot of universities across North America that run PacketShapers for the very purpose of controlling P2P traffic. I work for Packeteer [], and universities/schools have been an important customer since P2P networks blossomed...
  • My school has been doing this for about a year now. It was necessary to eliminate the bandwidth hogs who clogged things up with their P2P apps. As a non-P2P user, I got really tired of having my web requests drag so freshmen could download the latest Britney Spears videos.

    This is pretty standard across the board - traffic shapers are a good way to keep P2P traffic to a minimum without frivolously trying to cut it out.

    In related news, the routing technology for these things is pretty cool, though certainly not new. A story about DIY traffic shapers would be a better front page story than this, Michael.
  • Packet SHapers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dark-One ( 24259 ) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:09PM (#4356423)
    This is very widespread. I am the network admin at a small college, most places I talk to have a packetshaper in place to limit bandwidth. We bought ours this summer so we could reopen the P2P networks. Boy am I regetting this. We went from totaly blocked last year to slightly above dialup speeds this year and I have never heard the end of it. Usualy showing people the graph that shows our uplink at 97% 24hrs a day stops people from complaining but not always. What most students don't understand is that bandwidth is limited, very limited, and they are not the only ones using the network. When we have an outage I don't usualy hear from students first its from faculty who cant work on their research. I do applaud them for being so upfront about the bandwidth controls, but I would be interested to hear from their Admins as to how much this has helped their network. I know from my personal experance that it has prevented our network from just grinding to a halt.
  • by CBNobi ( 141146 ) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:09PM (#4356425)
    After years of dialup, one thing I was looking forward to the most about college was the fast ethernet connection.

    Sorry, but tough. Just like what happened at USC [], they have every damn right to do so.

    Perhaps you should start looking for other positive things about universities - like, maybe, a higher education?
  • and so is the RIAA, it doesn't seem too wrong to explain a workaround. I've never tried it, but kazaa has the option of tunnelling through a SOCKS proxy in the Firewall tab of the settings. I assume that would bypass any filtering server. If it works, you are limited by the bandwith of the proxy. You could also consider using a different P2P client; such as overnet [] or giFT [].

  • Resx (etc.) (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sgs-Cruz ( 526085 ) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:10PM (#4356431) Homepage Journal
    At McMaster U. (Hamilton, ON, CA) they use a program called ResX. Think of KaZaA (in fact, suspiciously EXACTLY like Kazaa...) except it only works on the LAN. Think DivX DVD-rips in 40 seconds, 5-meg MP3s in 3 seconds. Now that's tasty.

    McMaster actually paid a company to write a Kazaa-clone that would only work on the LAN. It was cheaper than bandwith-shaping the Internet pipe. However, I doubt all universities will do this.

    My recommendation to you is to find other P2P people and set up a Direct Connect [] hub or something similar. Make it only avaialbe to people within the university.

    Good luck!

    • Make it a real-world assignment for your upper-level CS students. It really isn't hard. You can write a decent P2P program in a day or two in Python and give it a web-based UI so that the handfull of geeks who want to install it can do so and their friends can access it via their web browsers. It could even include the ability to work with nutella or some such network as a bonus but cache all downloads in it's own LAN-wide system so that things only have to be downloaded once and there is nothing much to upload.
  • Therefore, of the 60 mbs total bandwidth, 5 - 10 mbs is set aside for P2P.

    Sounds perilously close to contributory copyright infringement to me.

  • This is great news! So many stupid universities just blocked P2P altogether. UCI smartly set things up -- important stuff gets high priority. Your neighbor doesn't have to deal with slow access to a class website because you're downloading the latest Lord of the Rings bootleg. You can still get the bootleg; it just takes longer.

    5 - 10 Mbps is nothing to sneeze at. I had a 10baseT card for a long time, and it seemed rocket-fast.

    Besides, if you want to download porn fast, get it from the web. :)
  • Either universities limit P2P traffic or the internet connection gets completely saturated, at which point your P2P speeds (not to mention everything else) suck anyway.

    Georgia Tech manages to limit P2P uploading only so you can still download at full speed. I don't use P2P at all, but the limiting they put in place this semester has worked perfectly in keeping lots of bandwidth available and pings low. Prior to the rate limits, we were saturated 24/7 and couldn't even ping local Atlanta sites at less than half a second.
  • So there I am...up at 3AM trying to work on my homework, which involves doing research.

    Naturally, I'm looking at IEEE XPlore, which lets me see nearly the entire archive of IEEE papers in PDF format over the internet.

    So I start the download...and it goes at 5kb/sec. Its like I'm on a modem. Why? Because a few people in my dorm are wasting my time uploading music and software illegally.

    Later, I go out to my class and realize that I forgot to put my homework on my school account. So I start up an sftp session and start downloading it. But it goes at BYTES per second. Why? Because people in my dorm are wasting my time sharing music and software.

    Why don't you have some curtesy for your fellow students and stop wasting their time when you waste yours? The internet at school is not for your personal enjoyment; its so that you can be a better student.

    I left the dorms and got a house, and now I'm using cable modem in a neighborhood almost without students (which means without file-sharing). Even though the cable company has less total bandwidth than the school, latency is down and connection speeds are up compared to living in the dorm.
  • by browser_war_pow ( 100778 ) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:17PM (#4356486) Homepage
    I don't use P2P, but the majority of the students at my university seem to. Our connection isn't worth a damn most of the time as a result. The method used to "block" P2P is to go after users who download XMB per time period. So I get a citation for downloading 5 Linux ISOs which are legitimate downloads especially since I am a CS major, but the assholes who download MP3s, DivXs, etc on a regular basis get a free ride. So far I am one of only handfull of people I know that has been given such a citation. And yes, it is the P2P users' fault and they should lose their connections for an entire semester. If it weren't for them, the university would never have had to implement such stupid regulations.
    • Have you tried speaking to someone about the citations you received?

      I'm the ResNet Coordinator at my university and I have yet to speak to any students this year about consuming excessive bandwidth. When I do (and I will - the year is young) I am more than happy to grant exceptions to students such as yourself who can show a legitimate need for the bandwidth. Your use of the bandwidth to further your education and learn is the *reason* that we pay for it each month! I wish some students like yourself would get sent to my office so I could copy your Linux & BSD ISOs instead of downloading them myself. :)
      • If someone "needs" 5 isos, it makes *far* more sense to talk to a local administrator ("You know, it would be really nice if we ran a local mirror of" or whatever). That way, *he* sets up a mirror accessable to local users, the files get downloaded *once* at off-hours, and then they're accessable rapidly to any local users.
  • UCSC does it too (Score:2, Interesting)

    I'm a student at UCSC and I know that they do it here. When I lived in the dorm all my friends who used Kazaa or Morpheus experienced terrible speeds (on the order of .5 kB/s). I knew that the school limited the bandwidth almost simply by the fact that you could download a file from a corporate site at 700 kB/s. One week in January, the limits were taken off. My friends were amazed at the speeds they were getting. Some of them went on downloading blitzes, some just kept going and thought it nice that things came faster. I however, started having serious issues just bringing up webpages. Even Google would take a few minutes to load. Every other process on the network was slowed down durring that week. Thankfully they fixed it and things went back to being nice and fast. I was thankful for the bandwidth limits (which were port based) because it kept the rest of the network from being bogged down. With a taste of what p2p could do to a network, I knew that it really was necessary. I confess though, that I used WinMX and was able to avoid any visible restrictions when I did my downloading.
  • I frequent the HardOCP networking forum and now that school is back someone asks almost EVERY day about this. Seems most colleges are starting to traffic shape P2P so you get .5KB/sec downloads.

    I always love the "It's my right to have fast bandwidth at college!" arguments that turn up....
  • This sort of thing is going to spread nationwide. It's already in place at my school (Case Western Reserve University) as well - they implemented it last fall and it really helped network speed, at the cost of P2P offcampus.

    What this means is we as college students have to start using oncampus sharing solutions like Direct Connect with oncampus hubs -- instead of searching national networks (fasttrack, gnutella), we can just set up college hubs like RIT students have done []. Connecting oncampus will be orders of magnitude faster than connecting offcampus -- and nobody "shapes" those packets. The only potential problem is copyright infringement crackdown when the networks get popular enough - but as long as people don't share copyrighted music/movies, they're in the clear. Of course there's always FTP and IRC...
  • by mgbastard ( 612419 ) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @10:23PM (#4356511)
    You have several options for your right to steal! You can continue to use Kazaa or Gnutella: you just need to find somebody willing to proxy your connection across the internet who is willing to blow their bandwidth on your connection. Look into ssh port forwarding. Don't expect to actually find somebody more willing to do this than your university. You could find some OTHER variety of electronic theft protocol. There are several out there, far more advanced, and some even more time consuming than even the common Peer to Peer services. (Hard to believe!) But isn't gnutella [] fun!
  • I am a sophmore at the University of Rhode island and I work for the department of networking and telecom services, we have a Packeteer packetshaper, had it for a while. We have a nice little setup here for a state University, 60megs from verizon and soon another 60 redundent megs from cox communications.. so we will have admin on one and students on the other. But our ratelimitting is: P2P Inbound 10megs 20 burstable Outbound: 5megs no burst.. no one needs to fill our pipe sending files to leechers outside our network so.. we let kids get whatever they want, but we dont let them fill our whole 60 meg pipe ya know.. Nick D
  • move off campus (Score:2, Informative)

    by asv108 ( 141455 )
    I liked college so much, I stayed for six years. Let me give you a piece of advice, move off campus. You will have a much better time; you can do anything you want without having an RA nag at you. Its much easier to bring back girls to your apartment rather than a cramped dorm room with your roommate sleeping 5 ft away, plus you can get a cable modem without any bullshit restriction or TOS if you're in the right area.
  • Gnucleus [] allows you to have a gnutella master on a lan. I think its extermely cool they allow you to still use P2P. But a large place like a college should use local nodes, why waste bandwidth?

    Save the bandwidth for CounterStrike. (-;
  • It would appear that Hotline is not one of the protocols this Packeteer device is designed to work with.
    Plus Hotline can be configure from the server end to use pretty much any port.
  • Free car?

    Food ain't free, housing ain't free, why should entertainment be free?

    Now what do I do?

    Get an education, that's what you're there for.
  • Well, I work at a residential student helpdesk at Penn State University. The housing network here has chosen after a few years of purchasing more bandwidth (napster time) and the traffic still would shape up and take over a majority of the total traffic from the university. Instead of packet shaping solutions or banning the services totally, Penn State has chosen to place a bandwidth restriction system in place. They give students a 1.5 Gig upload and download (each) of traffic each. Students who go over the limit are restricted to 56k for a week, until they reach their 3rd violation. After you get your 3rd violation you get restricted for the rest of the semester to a shared 56k ... well if you get a fourth and final restriction you get shut off the rest of the semester. We also had a few people who've done that already. :-)

    The students think is is unfair and totally immoral -- but they can't understand that bandwidth isn't cheap. All in campus traffic doesn't count, so some students have set up direct connect servers -- we've had dorm rooms mrtg's showing the buildings maxing out in just local traffic alone so internet traffic coming in wont even be an option...

    I think Penn State made a good choice by giving them a limit. There's no slowdown on any of the p2p, but they have to be responcible and think and moderate themselves. It's just a shame though, because there are some legitimate reasons that would put you over the 1.5 gig, but the majority of comptuers I was asked to look at were all from the lovely p2p programs.

  • what do I do?

    Like the title says, stop bitching and get on with your life.
  • Nothing Unusual (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ahecht ( 567934 )
    Almost every college and university has blocked or limited P2P software from accessing the internet, simply because the bandwidth is too expensive. Here at WPI, soon after Napster became popular, internet connection speeds dropped to less than 10% of what they previously were. After blocking P2P software, bandwidth use dropped a whopping 87%.

    However, they do allow, and even encourage, the use of GnucleusLAN [], which allows access on the local network. Since it is all local, we get really high transfer rates (at least 400KB/s), and it doesn't degrade network performance. Yes, the files are at least a week old (many kids get files of Kazaa when they go home for the weekend), but I've been able to get more stuff than I ever could on the outside.

    You have to remember that P2P software is very inefficient with bandwidth. As this [] article shows, P2P programs can generate as much as 150KB/s of downstream traffic even when you aren't downloading stuff.

    So, in conclusion, stop whining (and good luck finding any other college which allows unrestricted P2P access). Just be lucky that you have any access to internet P2P -- most college students don't anymore.

    Can someone tell me why this is news?

  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Sunday September 29, 2002 @11:12PM (#4356783) Journal
    Originally, colleges and universities had fast Internet connections because they were really the only users other than government and research labs. As the net got commercialized, everyone seemed to get used to the idea that those fast connections should stay there for *all* manner of usage by students, including arbitrarily hosting file servers.

    It seems to me that with cable modems and DSL typically only costing $40-50 per month - it's not that big of a deal to give each interested student their own such connection, and roll the cost into their tuition.

    Leave the University T1 or T3 for internal use only (faculty and actual classrooms), and of course, leave some sort of ftp type file service active - so students can submit legal files to it if they need to distribute something (like an open-source program they wrote themselves?).

    Any student who would whine and complain about this arangement is probably just hoping to run a high-speed server without ponying up the cash for the bandwidth - and that's not what college is all about.
  • I can understand why some colleges have seen the need to limit their Internet bandwidth usage. But the question I have is why haven't the more traditional ISPs done the same. The only organizations I know of selectively reducing bandwidth by protocol are colleges, schools, and univeristies. Earthlink, Comcast, etc. have not done the same.

    • Dial-up: The dial-up ISPs likely could care less what you do. It takes about 10 minutes to download 5MB on a 56kbps modem.

      Some people I know of download all night on their modems. But given a single phone line, I would think most dial-up users would not.

    • Cable/DSL ISPs: Instead of doing selective slowdowns, cable/DSL ISPs have resorted to slowing everyone's entire connection down. Instead of purchasing more bandwidth (thus reducing its eventual cost), they tend to restrict what customers already have.

      Some Cable/DSL ISPs also do port blocking, but this just results in a game of cat & mouse. Selective slowdowns likely are a no-no since many of their customers purchase such connections for online gaming (which maps ports all over the place).

    • Backbone carriers: Interestingly enough, the backbone carriers typically care less what they carry. They get paid, even for spam (which many prohibit the origination of).

      Most co-location centers proudly boast about how they use less than 50% of their available bandwidth, so I speculate that backbone carriers have at least half that amount. While that sounds like everyone on the high end tossing money away, it makes me wonder why the other parties do not do the same in order to lower overall prices and make everyone happy in the long run.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was under the impression that all UC campuses had more bandwidth than this.

    The main project page for the backbone system used in the UC system can be found at

    Here, there is also a layout of the connections between the different Universities

    I currently go to UC Davis and was under the impression that we pretty much have an OC-12 (622mbit/sec) at our disposal, certainly the bandwidth I have been able to pull down even after the freshmen moved in last week seemed to confirm this. It's 8pm on Sunday and I'm getting 70-150k/sec, and during most hours of the day I have still been able to hit upwards of 700k/sec from sites like

    Anyone who works with networks able to explain from the above links if my assumption about our bandwidth is incorrect?

    UC Davis does not appear to use any sort of traffic shaping that I have noticed. The very few times I have used Kazaa I have been able to pull down up to 200k from good sources.
  • Install a cache server for the "entertainment" traffic and connect it to the nearest backbone.

    I mean, if your campus is so popular with the downloaders...
  • Here at Truman State they throttle all p2p ports down to about 10% of the total bandwidth(not sure of the total though). There are so many damn many people using it thought that any one person only gets about .5K/sec. I don't mind though. Everything else is fast.

    There's quite a bit of good stuff on the internal network though, and thanks to ShareScan [], it's easy to get. Also, learn to use IRC. At least at my school, the standard IRC ports aren't blocked or throttled, so you can get everything you need at great speeds, if you know what you are doing.
  • Bandwidth is not a right. If they say everything loud and clear (not buried in an EULA, tied up in legaljumble) then you pretty much have no right to complain.

    Or, even better -- complain with your feet and dollars. Go to a different school.

  • I am not sure about anyone else's experience, but when I was on a residential school network it had all the music, movies and pr0n you could imagine, at FastEthernet speeds no less.

    (-1, Redundant); (-1, Disinteresting) - whatever.

  • Peer to Peer (P2P) is given a lowert priority, and is limited to 5mbs, and can use up to 10mbs if the bandwidth is available. Therefore, of the 60 mbs total bandwidth, 5 - 10 mbs is set aside for P2P.

    Uhm, 5-10 megabits per second seems pretty fair to me... it's faster than both DSL and cable modem. The part where they say it'll save the school and students literally thousands of dollars seems fair as well. Do you really need those fake nude Britney Spears mpegs that bad? =)
  • I believe that QoS appliances are harmful to long-term health of networks [] (the link points to a presentation I made at an Internet2 member meeting).

    Schools need to control commodity network use (the per-bit charges of commodity providers aren't passed on to the users). QoS appliances are just a wrong way to do it.

    To those who believe they are entitled to unlimited transfers from resnet because they {pay tuition|pay monthly connection fee|have a legitimate reason}: do you also think you're entitled to print 10000 pages per month on the department printer? If not, what do you think is the difference from using disproportionate share of network resources?

    Commodity transfers aren't free or even cheap. The commodity ISP charges your university transit fees based on the amount of stuff that is transferred. If you're willing to let the school pass those fees down to you, it is reasonable to ask your school to let you use as much as you want. (Good LAN connectivity is a one-time expense and therefore in-campus transit is a non-issue.)

  • Notice that the explanation page [] says p2p bandwidth is throttled because it is "entertainment traffic", but games are given as much bandwidth as necessary if it's available. Games aren't entertainment?
  • why not set up a server with phind or some varient running. I dont know how large UCI is but at my university of 4k students i can find any file i want on the network, it's just a matter of getting some way to search. I bet if you talked to your IT department they might even help you after you showed them how making network fileshares easy to search will cut down on the real culprit, off campus uploads/downloads.
  • All I can say is, "Wow!" At my school, when Napster was hitting its prime, our IT department just flat-out blocked Napster ports, declaring an "emergency" procedure to protect our bandwidth [].

    Some students had some interesting [] opinions [] on the whole matter.

    It has since been a couple of years, and they have extended their practice to blocking all other P2P ports []. Then they moved us all behind a NAT firewall (without any advance notice) which left us from being able to connect to our machines from off campus. This provoked this student opinion letter [] from yours truly. :-)

    In my opinion, the actions of our IT deparment have been largely totalitarian and insensitive to the issues at hand. If any institution should be the champion of enabling students to exercise democratic and free exchange of information, a university certainly should! Hopefully they (and many other schools) will seriously consider UC Irvine's approach to the problem.

  • by aquarian ( 134728 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @12:39AM (#4357139)
    Instead of clogging everyone else's pipes, why don't you do what we all used to do, back in the stone age of the early 80s- walk down the hall, borrow a friend's LP or CD, and make a copy! We all had to tape them (yeah, I know barefoot through the snow, blah blah). You guys can rip and burn CDs in minutes.

    Go on, it'll do you some good. Get off your fat, geek asses. Make some friends, interact for real, and actually SHARE some music.
  • Here at Boston University where I'm a graduate student, during the summer, I get ping times around 90 msec to a specific server off of campus. Now that students are back in the dorms...350 msec to the same server. This is highly a factor of day of the week and time of day (i.e. during a weekday around noon....I get back around 180 msec...students are in class).
  • " 1. All network traffic to/from any UCI computer, web site or server is untouched. There are no controls and no need to shape this, as it is "educational" traffic. Further, as it does not go to or from the Internet, we don't have to pay for it. As long as it stays within the UCI network, we can take advantage of the high-speed connections and equipment we have on campus."

    Download the source for gnutella. Roll your own gnutella net for just UC Irvine IP's. Distribute among the student populace. (perhaps make your website on your "students" webserver, or whatever your analogue is, a hq for said application) Watch as you get blazing download speeds from all your friends, you are regarded as a campus hero among students and administrators are happy because they are saving on external bandwidth costs. Oh, and you'll get laid a lot. ;)
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @01:26AM (#4357318)
    We have 2 Packeteer 8500s now and are probably going to start using them soon. Instead of limiting P2P traffic to a specific amount, we'll probably just use the priority feature, P2P traffic will have a lower priority than all other traffic. So long as the links aren't full, the traffic will not be affected, but if the links start maxing, the Packeteers will start slowing P2P traffic, allowing the other traffic to continue at its normal pace.

    Personally, I think it's a really good solution, I don't think banning P2P outright is good since it DOES have legitimate uses and people will always work around a ban in some way or another BUT it can be a real strain at times.

    The priority feature the Packeteers offers is great because if it works as advertised (and it seems to) you don't have to be a jerk and set any real hard limits on anything, you can just set up a prioity scale so that the important stuff always gets what it needs.

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