This explanation is a little technical – please read on if interested! If not, the take home message is this: if there are applications like VOIP, music stores, instant messengers, or anything else which you previously tried but didn’t work on ResNet, please try it again – you might well find it is working for you now.
The University has a set of web proxy servers (webcaches). Until April 2007 we required that all computers on ResNet use the web proxy – there was a block on all direct web traffic (all traffic on port 80 if you want the precise technical detail).
The webcaches were originally there to reduce our traffic by keeping local copies of popular pages – but with the growth of video and other very large files on the web (too large to be cached) they weren’t really saving us much.
The proxies were fine for web browsers, but caused us problems with lots of other programs that didn’t know how to use the proxy. These include some setup programs, Internet telephony apps, and music stores.
We’re no longer encouraging people on ResNet to use the proxy and have now removed the block on direct traffic. We’ve been able to do this now because of various other changes we’ve made – both enlarging the network pipe available to ResNet and bringing our traffic levels under control with the fair usage policy. We actually made the change before Easter but haven’t announced it until now – as now we’re confident we’ll be able to keep things as they are.
So, if there is anything which you previously tried but didn’t work on ResNet, please try it again. In particular, we’ve had lots of requests to get iTunes Music Store working, and it now is.
There are still some things which won’t work on ResNet, due to the University’s default deny incoming firewall. Hosting a games server on ResNet for players outside is one example. However we’ll consider requests to open up ports through the firewall, and can do this for some requests.
Generally, compared with ResNets at other universities around the country, we think we’re pretty open about what is allowed on ResNet – we are trying to provide the best service we can.
There are some rare times when you might still need to use the proxy. In particular, if you ever exceed the fair usage policy and are temporarily moved into the heavy user network then you’ll need the proxy for web access. For that reason we recommend you keep the proxy ‘autoconfig’ script set on your computer.
See configuring applications with local network settings for all the correct firewall or other settings you need to get applications working on ResNet.