University introduce cap on internet usage

INFORMATION Services have introduced a 12GB cap on internet usage in any 24hr period for users of the University’s student network.

Under the new rules, which came into force yesterday, students will be limited to 12GB worth of downloads over a rolling 24hr period, which equates to around 120,000 web pages, 2,400 songs or 24 hours of video.

The cap follows network disruption last term which culminated in pleas from the University to residents of Alexandra Halls to “stop gaming”. IS’ annual survey also showed the first drop in student satisfaction with the network.

The fall in satisfaction is believed to be linked to problems caused by a massive rise in use of the network, which is down to the increased number of students, a rise in number of network-enabled devices per student, the expansion of WiFi access in halls and increased use of high-bandwidth services such as video, gaming and file sharing.

The rules will cover all devices registered to a student, including phones and games consoles as well as laptops and PCs, and will cover both the wired and the wireless network. They will also apply 24 hours a day, despite the early mornings generally seeing considerably less internet usage.

Information Services also reserve the right to change the quota limits at any time in order to “ensure the optimum possible service for all users”.

Students who exceed the limit within the specified time period will still be able to access internal Aberystwyth University services (such as Webmail and Blackboard) at normal speed. Access to external sites will continue to function but at a slower speed, and reducing bandwidth usage (uploads and downloads) should see the connection speed improving within 24 hours.

IS estimate that this fair usage policy will affect “less than 5%” of users of the student network.

statement on the IS webpages reads:

“To ensure all users enjoy the best service, whatever the demands on the network, we operate a fair usage policy. This sets a quota limit on the amount of data each user can download from external websites during a rolling time period.

“Aberystwyth University is part of the high-speed JANET network that links UK universities to the Internet. However, as with all Internet Service Providers, there is a physical limit to the network connection available to us.

“Network traffic monitoring has shown us that it is often a small number of users of the Student Network are responsible for using most of the capacity. Those using more than their ‘fair share’ impact on the service available to other users of the network. People using real time applications such as telephony, webcams and games notice this most as they will experience occasional dropouts or delays.

“The Fair Usage Policy, by reducing the bandwidth used by this small number of people, will mean an improved service for all.”