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Listening to radio over Internet burns money

by George Spain
Information Services
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,, and, 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
Top 10 illegitimate streaming audio sites on campus 

Friday, June 19, 2008
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