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Listening to radio over Internet
If you use your computer to listen to live music, you are swiping
connection time that costs the university money and potentially puts
patient care at risk.
That use is called streaming audio and the connection time is called
bandwidth. Bandwidth isn’t unlimited and it isn’t cheap. MUSC pays
around $300,000 a year for its use.
Michael Haschker, a Network Systems administrator, estimates that 12
percent of the daily Internet traffic is being consumed by net radio
and video streaming. That adds up to almost $40,000 a year wasted on
personal streaming. And the problem is getting worse.
Legitimate Internet communications take fractions of a second to
complete then release the bandwidth back to other MUSC Internet users.
Streaming audio, such as listening to continuous music from Internet
sites like youtube, myspace, firehose-bbnm.stream, and pandora.com, or
one of the dozens of other free music sites, grabs that bandwidth and
doesn’t release it. If many users are doing this, then bandwidth is
divided among them and unavailable for legitimate communi-cations,
which may include urgent patient care data transmissions.
There are legitimate uses of streaming audio and video, but none from
the top 10 bandwidth-sapping sites listed.
“We are up against the wall on bandwidth usage and have been for
months,” said Kurt Nendorf, director of infrastructure for the Office
of the CIO. “Personal streaming is causing us to run out of Internet
bandwidth and face very costly alternatives. We want to provide the
best Internet service and performance to everyone for the legitimate
business of MUSC. We are not prepared to waste money and personnel
resources on illegitimate audio and video streaming.”
Recent network audits at MUSC show that the problem is so serious that
Human Resources recently sent a message to employees urging them to
immediately quit using the Internet for non-business related streaming
audio and video.
Haschker said that Network Systems “have the tools to detect the
computers and (because of logins) persons using [Internet] radio.”
So this means Network Systems can trace illegitimate streaming audio to
a specific person. The question then becomes, what action should be
taken and who should take it?
“We can block these sites, but this is a Human Resources issue, because
it’s a violation of the Computer Use Policy (CUP) and if we block these
sites, others will take their place and we’ll be dedicating valuable
resources policing net connections,” said Haschker.
The university CUP, which every employee must agree to before getting a
login and password, can be found at http://www.musc.edu/infoservices/cup.html.
Top 10 illegitimate streaming
audio sites on campus
Friday, June 19, 2008
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