3. Bandwidth Management for Location-Independent Network Services

Location Independent Network (LIN) services are provided by OUCS for use by members and their guests, to provide network access independently of physical location. Currently these services are OWL, Eduroam, VPN, and the Visitor Network service (the latter two also being able to run over OWL).

Wireless, or generally mobile network usage, will inevitably greatly increase over the coming years. The University has already acknowledged this by funding the OWL Phase 2 project. We are pleased that with the support of ODIT and PICT we were able to provide crucial enhancements to the infrastructure at OUCS that supports all the LIN services.

We appreciate that peer-to-peer (p2p) application usage is of great concern to the University and IT staff. Besides the legal issues, there are noticeable detremental effects on network performance when these applications are serving files to others on the Internet. A bandwidth management appliance is to be installed into the LIN back-end infrastructure to better control usage of these applications.

Following an evaluation, we have selected the Allot NetEnforcer for this purpose. We intend to implement two key features: Identifiable p2p applications will be bandwidth-restricted both for downloads and uploads. Second, a fair use traffic shaping policy will be assigned to each user. The latter is quite important to ensure resources such as wireless access points are not overwhelmed by any single user. There will be exemptions for most University-only connections (for example, to allow TSM backups over Eduroam to utilize the maximum available bandwidth).

There will be no inspection of web content (HTTP) or URL filtering taking place. We intend to err on the side of caution but do whatever we can to ensure fair use of the service and to uphold University statutes.

The NetEnforcer system operates as a transparent bridge so there will be no reconfiguration required on the part of the user or IT Officer. An email will be sent to IT Officers announcing the changes, closer to the time.

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