Bandwidth - Schroeder
Livingston introduced Deb Schroeder from Information Technology Services who will talk about Bandwidth. Schroeder's power point presentation was titled "Bandwidth, The Facts". This is partly in response to the January 24th article in the Antelope with the headline "On Campus Bandwidth Decreased". She stated in the article itself, she was quoted correctly, but the headline is absolutely not true.
First she listed what a bandwidth is -transmission capacity of a communications line. A network of computers are connected in some manner (fiber-optic, copper cabling, or some sort of communication lines.). Those communication lines have a transmission capacity. They refer to the speed of the data that can travel over the transmission line and the amount of data that can travel over those lines. The greater the bandwidth, the faster traffic can travel and the more traffic can travel. So the question is "How much bandwidth do we have?" To the desktops on campus and residence halls there is 10 megabits per second. However to some buildings, for example West Center, and to servers on campus there are 100 megabits. Most people are concerned about what we have to the internet. To the internet the campus has DS3-45 megabits per second. Not long ago it was 1.54 megabits per second. She noted in the next couple of years it will go up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps). She noted you can never say there is unlimited bandwidth because somewhere in the network there will be a limit. She noted to help everyone understand the numbers, if you have a dial up modem at home, probably a 56K, 1 megabit is a thousand K so 10 Mbps is a very fast connection.
As to the cost, it had been $800 per month no matter how much bandwidth was used, but that contract expired on December 31, 2001. Beginning on January 1, 2002, the cost went to approximately $300 per Meg per month on a graduating scale. Currently they (the university) is negotiating a new contract which they hope to have by April 1. They are hoping for $200-$250 per meg. Currently the estimated cost per month is $4,800. Schroeder talked about the different uses of the bandwidth. The uses include e-mail, research (web surfing), FTP (file transfer protocol), chatting applications, games on the internet, downloading files, and file sharing. The one that uses the most bandwidth is the file sharing (sharing files with the rest of the world). Schroeder used a graph to show the analysis of network traffic. Traffic in the spring and fall is three times as high as it is in the summer when students are gone. The majority of traffic is Napster, KaZaA, Gnutella, IRC, and Audio Galaxy. One recent incident involved a student (over a weekend) who downloaded music from the internet. By default that computer became a file server for others (from all over the world) who downloaded music files from it at a rate of 5 meg. Schroeder noted any computer can become a file server unless the individual knows the path to turn off that file sharing. If that had gone on for a month, it would have cost $1500 for that one computer. So if there is 10 megs for a desktop and 45 megs for the internet, it would only take nine people like that to have no space left for internet traffic or for SAP traffic. So there is no choice but to put some kind of regulations on the 2000 computers across campus connected to the internet. There are 1600 students in the residence halls and 700 have computers. If every person used $1500 per month, the bill would be $3,000,000. She asked if that is how everyone wants to spend the resources of this campus.
Schroeder noted some traffic would not be regulated. Those include the College of Nursing, Academic/Administrative buildings, Foundation/Ag Extension traffic which UNK manages and ISDN (MONA, Safety Center). Basically the rest of the campus is residence halls. Specific applications with high bandwidth usage are regulated such as Napster, Gnutella, KaZaA/Morpheus and NeoModus. However FTP, mail, and web browsing are not regulated in the residence halls. Any leftover categories, which include Audio Galaxy and internet games, are also regulated. Schroeder gave some tips about how to conserve bandwidth. The three main tips are
- disable file sharing programs when not in use (applications know how to find the best path to the best server)
- Use antivirus software and keep it up-to-date
- Don't download large files like MP3s, movies and games
Other ways to help include
- Don't download illegal (copyrighted) files
- Avoid peak usage times
- Limit streaming media (not academic experience)
The bandwidth controversy started around January . Schroeder stated that in November and December they had been testing several devices for regulating bandwidth. After about a month, they encountered a problem which brought the campus to a halt and took about two weeks to resolve. Due to that, everyone was up in arms.
Schroeder mentioned that students are very interested in how the tech fees are spent. She listed the labs which use funds from the student technology fees; those include the ITS lab, West Center lab, College of Education lab, Computer Science lab, Otto Olsen lab, the Student Union lab, the library labs, the residence hall lab, the lab in COPH 240, and the Math Department lab. Those monies also supported upgrades for the Modern Language lab. Over the last couple of years, they have created 20 smart classrooms and have installed six sound systems for students with auditory disorders. Fees have also paid for the anti-virus software license.
This year they will have put about $400,000 into the student computer labs. This is the end of a three-year lease for labs so it is a little more expensive to get out of the old leases and into the new. Fees also funded two software packages for Career Services which allowed them to investigate possible careers and helps with job searches. About $80,000 is needed per year for the smart classrooms and $375,000 for Blackboard.
Four hundred and fifty thousand will be used for infrastructure for the College of Education, fiber work for Distance Education, wiring in the library, software needed for managing bandwidth usage and firewall intrusion detection. She stated it had been several years since the lotus notes server has been replaced so the budget will include installing new lotus notes hardware. There is an agreement with Microsoft for licenses for Microsoft Software for all the labs and desktops on campus. The web easi, web smart, and the web interfaces to the students' system for students and faculty are all pretty pricey to maintain. ITS also hires a number of student employees from tech Fees. Those include the tech assistants who help students in the residence halls and students who are assigned to various colleges. There are on-going expenses for the residence halls which include maintenance for their network hardware and expansion of their network hardware. The tech fees pay for one third of the expense and the residence halls pay the other two thirds. Paper for the residence halls' labs is also provided.
Palm pilots were purchased for the Chemistry Department as a cheaper alternative to workstations in the lab and smart-boards were purchased for Physics and Physical Science. New printers will be installed at the library for ROSI and they will be upgrading the hardware and software for the Adaptive Technology Center at the library. This will be the last year of the contract for the computer based Smart Course training. Some web servers will be upgraded and a pilot wireless project in planned this summer at the library. An additional $36,000 will be spent on increases for internet access. Fees also fund one full-time position - the web master.
The question was asked as to how much is in the Tech Fee Account. Schroeder noted annually they collect between eight hundred thousand and eight hundred and fifty thousand - $5 per credit hour. Current balance is about 1.3 million.