Bandwidth Management

Posts relating to the things we’re trying to manage the bandwidth available to ResNet users

Most people are using ResNet Wireless this year, probably because it’s really convenient (who doesn’t want to be able to lie on their bed and watch endless videos of kittens on youtube?) but did you know that ResNet Wired is up to 5 times faster?

Internet speeds are limited by the slowest technology in the path in the chain.  At home that’s usually the bit between your broadband router and the internet, but on ResNet Wireless our connection to the internet is so blisteringly fast that the bottle neck can be the wireless technology used by your laptop.  There are two main wireless technologies on ResNet Wireless, 802.11g and 802.11n

We have the newer, faster 802.11n technology in place on about 80% of ResNet, and in our tests the speeds work out something like this:

802.11g

802.11n

Although these tests were done using an actual ResNet Wireless connection, your wireless connection might well be slower.  Our tests were done at a quiet time of day, and we were sat in the same room as the wireless router.  If all your flatmates are using ResNet Wireless at the same time as you, or if there are any walls between you and the access point then you can expect your wireless speeds to be a bit slower than ours.

However, neither of those factors effect the ResNet Wired service!

ResNet Wired

Blimey! That’s a bit quick that is!

To set up your computer to use ResNet Wired, just plug your computer into the ResNet socket in your room using the cable provided and follow the connection guide we gave you when you moved in.  If you don’t have a cable or a connection guide, ask your hall office or senior resident.

While we already compare favourably with commercial broadband providers (on price, speed and bandwidth quotas) there’s always room for improvement – so we’re rethinking how much bandwidth we give you on ResNet.

Making your usage quota easier to understand

Currently you have two bandwidth quotas, one for off-peak and one for on-peak times of day.  Going over either quota lands you in a slow network for the rest of the week – at all times of day. This is confusing, and terribly inconvenient if you want to skype your friends back home during peak hours…

So, we’re getting rid of peak-time!

We’ve combined the on and off peak quotas to give you a single quota of 48GB per week (For ResNet Standard) or 81GB per week (For ResNet Max) – no more worrying what time it is!

We’ve been trialling this change since 23rd May and it’s been going pretty well so far.  The My ResNet control panel, and the Bandwidth Gadgets don’t fully know about the change yet, so your on-peak usage is being reported as zero.  If the trial continues to work out ok, we’ll have to see about fixing that!

If 81GB per week isn’t enough for you, you can still buy extra chunks of quota through My ResNet.

Making your connection even faster!

Not content with making things easier, we’re making them faster too!

Starting Monday 13th, we’re going to increase the speed of ResNet wired connections to 50Mbps symmetric – That’s 50Mbps download speed, and 50Mbps upload speed.  Once we’ve made that change, ResNet connections will be faster than BT Infinity Broadband (which gives you 40Mbps download speed, and 10Mbps upload)

Why is this awesome?  (Apart from it being obvious that faster is better!)

Well it means you can take full advantage of cloud based storage/backup solutions such as iCloud, Windows Live SkyDrive or Ubuntu One. It makes uploading photos or video to facebook/vimeo/flickr/youtube super quick, but most importantly – whatever cool new internet functionality is coming round the corner, we want your ResNet connection to be ready to handle it.

At this stage, we’re not making any changes to the speed of the wireless network.  We can make it a bit faster than it is at the moment, but we can’t make it quite as fast as the wired network.  So to take full advantage of the speed boost you’ll need to use your wired connection.

“With great power comes great responsibility” – Spiderman

Once your connection is faster than a very fast thing going downhill on rollerskates – it does mean that it’s easier to use up all your bandwidth quota.  We’ve done some sums and we think a bittorrent client serving up something popular (like an Ubuntu Linux DVD image) left unchecked could rip through the ResNet Max weekly limit in under 4 hours – on upload traffic alone!

If you’ve got any filesharing software on your computer, you might want to limit how much it can upload to the internet.  Most programs allow you to specify a maximum upload speed – we suggest setting this as low as you can get away with!

Not-that-small-really smallprint: All the features mentioned above are being trialled, we reserve the right to end the trial at any time if things start to melt.  We’ll make a decision about what next years network speeds look like based on the results of the trial, so the above features may or may not be available for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Oh, and they apply to ResNet only.  The VisitorNet service got an 8 fold increase about a month ago but that’s as far as we can push that for the moment.

Questions?

If you’ve got any questions or comments about the trials mentioned above, hit the comments below!

We’ve got a new version of the ResNet bandwidth quota monitoring sidebar gadget, which fixes a problem experienced by Windows Vista and Windows 7 users, where the gadget refused to accept their keys.

If you tried the sidebar gadget and it didn’t work, upgrade to the latest version from http://toys.resnet.bris.ac.uk and give it another go!

Information Services are carrying out some essential systems maintenance on the 11th August 2009, 10:00-10:30 which affects the following ResNet systems:

  • My ResNet
  • ResNet in-room Registration System
  • ResNet Helpdesk troubleshooting tools (including those used by the out of hours helpdesk)
  • ResNet Network Monitoring system (the traffic lights on the ResNet home page)

All fully registered ResNet connections will continue to function normally throughout this maintenance period, so most people won’t notice anything.

There are several other University systems which are also affected by this maintenance, for more details see the IS News website: http://www.bris.ac.uk/is/news/2009/koi28july.html

If you’ve looked at MyResNet recently you’ll have noticed that the off-peak weekly allowance cell in the Network Usage table has changed from ‘unlimited’ to 35GB. Currently we are not automatically restricting users based on their off-peak usage but we are working towards this goal.

Looking at this table you should be able to work out that if either the off-peak allowance OR the on-peak allowance exceed 100% AUP then your connection will be moved into the restricted network. Clever usage will allow up to 40GB weekly traffic (35 off + 5 on).

As I said before, the off-peak allowance is not active yet, but will be in the near future. The on-peak allowance is still in operation as it has been all year.

From current usage statistics, we anticipate that less than 1% of our users will be affected by this change. For example, last week 0.56% of users transferred data in excess of 35GB off peak and the week before it was just 0.33% (although term only started on Wednesday of that week).

Currently off-peak is midnight to 6pm (18 hours) and on-peak is 6pm to midnight (6 hours).

As always, we welcome constructive feedback.

Well it’s Christmas and lots of students have disappeared for the holidays so it’s only fair that we increase the usual 5GB weekly peak-time usage to 10GB.

Peak-time is unchanged, 6pm to midnight.

The limit will be reduced back to 5GB per week from Monday 7th January 2008 so try not to get caught out 😉

Mark

During the vacation period (starting on Monday 25th June) we are increasing the peak-time usage 10GB per week as the network is less busy. We may review these limits throughout the vacation period.

Off-peak periods remain unlimited.

Peak-time is 6pm to 12 midnight and off-peak time is 12 midnight to 6pm

Enjoy 😉

Week 5 (Monday 21nd May to Sunday 27th May)

Day Restricted Network Total Restricted Average Restricted Days Warning Emails >80% Total Emails UL/DL Ratio All Restricted Users
Tue 22nd (Early am) 0 0 0 4 4 0
Wed 23rd (Early am) 2 (<0.05%) 2 (<0.05%) 5 1 5 0.42
Thu 24th (Early am) 3 (<0.07%) 5 (<0.12%) 4.4 12 17 0.45
Fri 25th (Early am) 9 (<0.22%) 14 (<0.35%) 3.5 29 46 0.65
Sat 26th (Early am) 25 (<0.62%) 39 (<0.97%) 2.5 23 69 0.43
Sun 27th (Early am) 24 (<0.60%) 63 (<1.57%) 1.9 45 114 0.32

Update 2007-06-19: Comments are now closed as there have been no genuine comments submitted recently, only spam. If you want to comment on this article, please contact the ResNet Helpdesk.

This is part of the occasional series of newsletters sent to all ResNet subscribers. In this edition: Peak usage limits increasing to 5GB per week; ‘Second Chance’ System; Jobs with ResNet

Peak usage limits increasing to 5GB per week

We are pleased to announce that from Monday 21st May 2007 the weekly peak-time usage allowance is to be increased to 5GB.

It has always been our intention to let ResNet subscribers use any spare capacity. We are confident that we have enough spare network capacity at the busiest time of day (6pm to midnight) to allow this increase.

We are constantly reviewing the peak and off-peak usage so that the best possible quality of service is maintained for the often conflicting needs of ResNet subscribers.

For more information on the peak-time system see

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/slink/dr8r

‘Second Chance’ System

We are developing a ‘Second Chance’ system that can be used once per term to allow restricted subscribers back onto the ‘normal’ network. An announcement will be made on our blog when the system is in place. If you are moved to the restricted network, and the ‘second chance’ system is in place, then the email we send you will contain information on how to use it.

Jobs with ResNet

There are still a few days to apply for a number of technical and non-technical positions available for full-time work this summer vacation and part-time work from Freshers’ week onwards.

To apply, please see http://www.bristol.ac.uk/slink/ktui

The closing date is 10am, Monday May 21st.

Best wishes,

The ResNet Team.

Update 2007-06-19: Comments are now closed as there have been no genuine comments submitted recently, only spam. If you want to comment on this article, please contact the ResNet Helpdesk.

We are pleased to announce that from Monday 14th May 2007 the weekly peak-time usage allowance is to be increased from 2.5GB to 4GB.

We have been very pleased with the improvements to packet loss and latency that real-time application users find essential. These applications should now be working without trouble at all times of day.

We now find that for the first time in ResNet’s history we have spare capacity at the busiest time of day (6pm to midnight) and it has always been our intention to let subscribers use this capacity, hence this increase.

The limits will be reviewed again in a week or two and changed accordingly. The aim is to allow as much use of the available capacity whilst still maintaining quality of service to all subscribers. This is a learning curve for us, as having a peak-time limit is a culture change and we could not easily predict usage patterns, hence the relatively low 2.5GB initial limit.

Last week a total of 191 subscribers were moved to the restricted network, well under 5% of all subscribers, with an average restriction of 2.86 days per restricted user. If this were scaled up to all of ResNet then the average restriction would be < 3 hours per user per week.

We hope this change meets the approval of all who have asked for an increase, however, I’m sure not all will be fully satisfied with our attempts to please all ResNet subscribers.

Regards,

The ResNet Team

Week 4 (Monday 15th May to Sunday 20th May)

Day Restricted Network Total Restricted Average Restricted Days Warning Emails >75% Total Emails UL/DL Ratio All Restricted Users
Tue 15th (Early am) 6 (<0.15%) 6 2 3.70
Wed 16th (Early am) 2 (<0.05%) 8 (<0.2%) 5.75 11 13 1.57
Thu 17th (Early am) 9 (<0.22%) 17 (<0.42%) 4.82 13 26 0.69
Fri 18th (Early am) 13(<0.32%) 30 (<0.75%) 4.03 38 64 0.46
Sat 19th (Early am) 24 (<0.60%) 54 (<1.35%) 3.13 52 116 0.37
Sun 20th (Early am) 38 (<0.95%) 92 (<2.30%) 2.25 79 195 0.38

Update 2007-06-19: Comments are now closed as there have been no genuine comments submitted recently, only spam. If you want to comment on this article, please contact the ResNet Helpdesk.

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