Improving internet speed

Posted: Tue 4 Mar 2014, 2:35pm.

There has been a huge growth in internet traffic in the last twelve months but IT Services have been working to improve access for all students.

Higher definition video streams and greater use of cloud services, means that internet traffic at peak times has doubled compared to the same time last year. In January, this growth reached the limits of the University's internet connection and, with no more capacity available, many students reported a sudden drop in performance.

graph showing increase in internet usage to Jan 2014

Daily average traffic on student networks to Jan 2014. Peak demand has more than doubled.

In fact, IT Services were already working on a major increase in the campus internet links. This was originally due to be in place in February this year but was delayed by the University's supplier. However, we are working to introduce the enhanced links by the end of April if possible. With these changes, the bandwidth available for students will be ten times greater which will ease the situation for all campus users considerably.

In the meantime, we have had to restrict individual bandwidth limits to ensure that everybody gets a fair opportunity to use the internet. These restrictions are set at a level that should allow everyone to browse the internet and watch an internet video or stream audio at the same time.

Over the last few weeks, we have been adjusting the limits to make as much bandwidth as possible for students. This has helped to improve access until the new links are in place but at busy times of the day, especially between 9.00am and 6.00pm on weekdays, it may only be possible to view videos at lower quality and some types of activity such as downloading files and peer-to-peer networking will be slower.

As soon as the new bandwidth is available, these restrictions will be raised to give more generous access. There are also no restrictions at all on using Sussex sites such as Study Direct.

If you're still unable to browse websites or watch any videos at all, there might be other problems. IT Services have dealt with a number of cases recently where malware running on PCs has been using all of the owners' bandwidth. These problems might have existed for some time but have become more apparent with the tighter internet restrictions.

There is also a separate project underway to improve the wi-fi coverage in the Library. New and improved access points will allow many more people to connect and additional hubs should ease congestion in the busiest areas. There are also plans to boost the wi-fi in other parts of the campus, including Northfield, during the next few weeks.


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