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Residential Network


Understanding Residential Hall Networking and Bandwidth Management at UCR

last update: September 2007

Introduction
Bandwidth Cost
Bandwidth Management
ResNet Bandwidth Management
ResNet Privacy

Introduction

UCR provides an ultra high-speed network to campus residence halls and two privately operated apartment complexes (that almost exclusively house UCR students). Currently, this network provides 100 Mbs Fast Ethernet access to 5,168 on-campus ports (one connection "per pillow" in A&I, Lothian and Pentland I, Pentland II and Glen Mor) and 1,124 off-campus ports (at International Village and Stonehaven). The total number of connections is 6,292 across all facilities. The residence hall network is often referred to as ResNet; this network connects each facility to one another via Gigabit links (1,000 megabits per second) and the entire Housing network is connected to UCR's backbone at Gigabit. ResNet traffic destined for off-campus sites is routed through UCR's HPR, Digital California and "commodity" internet connections. The diagram below provides an overview of this network.

ResNetwork

What is Bandwidth and How Much Does it Cost?

Bandwidth is a measurement of network traffic (often measured in bits per second) traversing a physical cable into or out of a network. For example, most PCs today come equipped with a "100 Mbs Fast Ethernet" card that is capable of sending or receiving network traffic at 100 megabits per second. As noted above, all individual ResNet connections are 100 Mbs; all buildings are connected to one another at 1000 Mbs; and the entire ResNet network is connected to UCR's core network at 1000 Mbs.

ResNet traffic that is destined for the campus (e-mail from a student in the dorms to a faculty member on campus), or traffic that is destined for another UC campus, does not result in bandwidth charges on a per unit (per bit) basis. Traffic that is destined for the commodity internet (sites such as Microsoft, YouTube, etc.) is charged on a per unit basis and results in a "bill" to the university. The higher the number of Mbs "used" the bigger the commodity internet "bill".

What is Bandwidth Management and Why is it Important?

Similar to any organization, UCR does not have an unlimited budget for commodity internet traffic. Therefore, campus commodity internet bandwidth must be managed and equitably distributed so that all campus network users can access the internet to meet UCR's teaching, research, and public service missions. Bandwidth management (the control of bits through a network segment at a given time) is accomplished in several ways, including the following:

  • Aggregate Bandwidth Caps. This limits the TOTAL traffic allowed through a network segment at any one time.
  • Bandwidth Allocation by Protocol. This limits the total amount of traffic allocated for a particular type of network traffic (e.g. web browsing, e-mail, etc.).
  • Per Flow Cap. This limits the number of bits allowed per SPECIFIC connection, session, or packet-exchange (flow).

How is ResNet Bandwidth Managed at UCR?

  1. ResNet Network Traffic destined for UCR is NOT managed or rate limited in any fashion (subject, of course, to the total available capacity of the network). The ONLY traffic not permitted to leave or enter UCR's ResNet are the Nimda and CodeRed viruses. Please note that once UCR network traffic reaches another campus it may be rate limited. For example, traffic into the UCI residential network is limited to 200 Mbps, with additional rate caps on different types of traffic (see notes above on bandwidth management).
  2. Commodity Internet Traffic. Commodity internet traffic to and from UCR's ResNet is unlimited (this is the Aggregate Bandwidth Cap). This total bandwidth allocation is "segmented" into several categories that are prioritized and managed as follows:
    • E-mail (SMTP, POP3, and IMAP protocols), Voice of IP (VoIP) and SSH are given the highest priority and will consume all available bandwidth if demand warrants. Please remember that this rule ONLY impacts traffic that is NOT destined for UCR campus.
    • All non-Peer to Peer traffic receives a medium priority. Examples of these protocols include FTP (File Transfer Protocol), HTTP, Telnet, and various gaming protocols such as Counterstrike and Starcraft. All bandwidth not utilized for SSH or e-mail is made available to these protocols.
    • Peer-to-Peer (P2P) traffic (for example, KaZaA, Gnutella, DirectConnect, eDonkey, Hotline, IRC, Napster, AOL-IM-ICQ, and Blubster) receives the lowest priority and will ONLY be allocated bandwidth if all non-Peer to Peer traffic needs are satisfied (e.g. web browsing, FTP, etc.).

      Currently, this type of traffic is limited to 25 Mbs (flowing into the residence halls) with a 256 Kbs (kilobits per second) limit per flow (per download). As the demand for P2P type traffic increases (more flows), the total bandwidth is equitably distributed among the P2P users so it is possible for an individual user to receive less than the 256 Kbs limit. As noted above, it is also possible for P2P traffic to receive less than the total 25 Mbs cap if the demand for higher priority traffic (e.g. web browsing) exists.

UCR also utilizes a protocol called NAT (Network Address Translation) to ensure that no unauthorized web servers or files servers are running in the Residence Halls. By policy, hosting servers is not allowed within ResNet. Students have access to disk storage and web servers through the Student Computing Center and are encouraged to use these facilities for their file and web server needs.

ResNet Privacy

The privacy of students' data and voice communications is of utmost concern. Unless mandated by appropriate internal or external authorities, or in response to a severe network disruption or attack, UCR does not log users' specific activities such as sites visited or network applications run. The goal of UCR's bandwidth management policies is to ensure privacy as well as the equitable distribution of network resources so that all campus users can effectively utilize the network in support of UCR's teaching, research, and public service missions.


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