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University adds bandwidth for fall, but demand remains high

Thursday, September 1, 2011
Sean O'Malley  

Slow moving traffic on the streets of Athens is a given during fall move-in, but traffic on the Internet will be flowing a bit more smoothly, thanks to a recent bandwidth increase.

Based on data collected during spring 2011, OIT has doubled the university's Internet capacity. This increase, combined with automated traffic management policies that prioritize academic traffic, should better satisfy demand for Internet bandwidth. OIT engineers are quick to note, however, that slowdowns still will happen during peak hours.

The spring study, conducted jointly by OIT and OARnet, involved opening the university's Internet pipeline to its maximum speed and plotting actual usage over a period of several weeks. The study showed that the university's average demand was exceeding available capacity by 106% (more than double), with peak times spiking as much as 57% beyond the average.

"In a perfect world, we would buy enough bandwidth to meet those 163% peaks," said Chief Information Officer Brice Bible. "In real world terms, we have to look at the demand, look at the budget situation, and strike a balance between the two."

According to OIT director of infrastructure Rick Manderick, the added capacity will make a noticeable difference. "Any time you exceed capacity, performance will degrade, but we expect the overall experience to be better than last year. If you are gaming or trying to stream an HD video during peak hours, you may notice the effects more than someone who is just downloading a news story."

Manderick notes that academic sites like Blackboard will have dedicated bandwidth, so even during peak times, students and faculty should be able to access their course materials.


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