February 25, 2002

CIT Restricts Large Network Access

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Heavy bandwidth users beware.

Cornell Information Technologies (CIT) will soon be cracking down on the heaviest users of the residential network in an effort to speed up internet access for others.

The limits will affect those who transfer more than 27 gigabytes of data within three days, only an estimated twenty to sixty students.

“Twenty-seven gigabytes is a ridiculous amount of bandwidth,” said Abeezer Tapia ’02, chair of the Student Assembly’s CIT committee.

Once students go over the 27 gigabyte limit their network access will be restricted to a 2 megabyte stream for three days.

According to Tapia, that should be sufficient for checking e-mail and visiting web pages.

After two violations students will again be restricted to 2 megabytes for three days. After the third time, violators will be restricted to the 2 megabyte limit for the rest of the semester or the following semester.

CIT decided limits were necessary in August 2001 when students returned and bandwidth reached its maximum capacity at peak times. To combat delays that slowed the entire campus network, CIT has been working to implement limits on those using the most bandwidth.

Large amounts of bandwidth are especially required for file-sharing programs such as KaZaa or Gnutella, which allow users to trade large music, movies and other multimedia files.

Earlier this year, CIT decided to limit the residential network to 60 percent of the available bandwidth to ensure that academic and administrative users could access the network without delay.

Students, however, have continued to encounter trouble accessing the network. A CIT representative was unavailable for comment.

“When I went to do a simple thing like go to a web page for a class it takes a long time,” said Jon Law ’05.

Although not currently available, students will soon be able to check how much bandwidth they have used in the past three days, online. CIT is also working on notifying users when they come close to the 27 gigabyte limit.

It is unclear if the restriction will have the desired effect of making the network reliably fast for everyone.

If it does not, CIT is planning on instituting other methods to allow students faster access.

One such method is packet-shaping, where priorities could be placed on activities like e-mail and internet surfing and limits on activities like file sharing, according to Tapia.

Other schools have also been placing limits on bandwidth and instituting packet-shaping technology as internet traffic has reached unprecedented highs, according to the New York Times.

Archived article by Peter Norlander