About Our Internet Connection
This page presents some information in question-and-answer format.
Why is my Internet connection so SLOW ?
Internet activity demands bandwidth. Many people using the Internet at the same time demands a lot of bandwidth. The college has only a finite amount of bandwidth available. The amount of bandwidth available is constant. User demand rises and falls daily. When user demand exceeds the available bandwidth, everybody's connection will be slowed down to compensate.
Well, why not get MORE bandwidth?
The college is working on this. At the moment, the connection between the college and the Internet Service Provider (ISP) is maxed out. To allow us to get more Internet bandwidth, the college has signed a contract with our ISP to build a new (fiberoptic) connection to our campus which will allow us to purchase more bandwidth. Unfortunately, this new connection will not be online until early 2009.
What else is the college doing to handle bandwidth contention?
The college employs a "bandwidth management" product which allows us to prioritize certain Internet applications over others. We prioritize "interactive" applications like web-browsing, instant messaging, and online video games over non-interactive, bandwidth-hungry applications like large file downloads and peer-to-peer file sharing. This allows you to be able to chat with your family even when your neighbor is downloading the latest Batman movie in Hi-Def. (If it weren't for the bandwidth management product, the hi-def movie download would take so much of the bandwidth that your chat would be unusable.)
But isn't Bandwidth Management (a.k.a. packet shaping) evil?
Bandwidth management works by delaying some packets so that other packets can get through sooner. Obviously if it's your packets that are getting delayed in favor of someone else's packets, you may be upset. Understand that because demand for Internet bandwidth is exceeding the supply, someone's packets have to get delayed. Without a bandwidth management product, it tends to happen that the ones using the least bandwidth suffer much more than ones that are using a lot of bandwidth. With the product the college can control which packets get priority and which ones do not.
Think of it as a busy highway with special "carpool" lanes that allow certain drivers a faster passage.
What can I do to have a better Internet connection?
There are times of day when Internet "demand" is less than the available bandwidth. During those times, you will send/receive data as fast as the site allows. Those times are those of the lowest usage, such as early morning (i.e. 3AM through 11AM). To experience a better Internet connection, do your Internet activity during those times.