By Ryan Johnson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 16, 2002
Students hoping to take advantage of fast Ethernet connections to fill their hard drives with MP3s may have noticed a slowdown in download speeds when using peer-to-peer services such as KaZaA, as the UA attempts to control what goes on over the UA network.
"The bottom-line purpose of the campus network is for academics," said Steve Gilmore, head of ResComp, an office that handles residence-life computing.
Beginning when peer-to-peer networking services such as Napster and KaZaA became popular, network administrators began noticing that the bandwidth of their connections was being eaten up.
"The thing students need to be aware of is that it's illegal to download (copyrighted music) as well."
- Steve Gilmore
"Whenever you run KaZaA or another program, it essentially turns your computer into a server. When we looked at what goes on with the network, we saw that everyone was downloading and it was going very slow," Gilmore said.
Last year, CCIT, which monitors Internet connectivity for the entire university, was forced to find some way of throttling back this type of traffic, Gilmore said.
What they decided would help was to limit uploads from computers on campus. The rationale was that students could still enjoy downloading quickly, but outsiders accessing UA students' computers would use less bandwidth.
The restrictions on uploads remain, but now CCIT is controlling downloads as well.
"There are new devices that CCIT is using which do some kind of traffic analysis," Gilmore said. "It gives certain traffic priority over other traffic. Things that aren't peer to peer get priority."
Legal issues was another reason CCIT decided to further regulate Internet traffic.
Students across the country are in battles with the Recording Industry Association of America for violating copyright law while downloading copyrighted music.
"The thing students need to be aware of is that it's illegal to download (copyrighted music) as well," Gilmore said.
Apparently, this new change angered some students who had come into the habit of downloading large quantities of songs.
"We tried downloading music when we first got here, and about a week in was when it really started going slow. Sometimes it takes like three hours for one song," said Ramon Sepulveda, a music education freshman.
Now, students must either accept slower speeds or look to alternative sources for music.
"I've been buying more CDs," said George Lee, a pre-computer science freshman. "I just bought two online last night. Sometimes I go to MP3.com and I can download those in a breeze, but I don't really use peer to peer because of the speeds."