Peer-to-Peer Applications On UCInet

First popularized by Napster, peer-to-peer file sharing, or P2P for short, is a growing concern for network administrators. The newest generation of P2P programs, such as Morpheus and Kazaa, download not only music files, but photos, applications, and even video files with sizes ranging from multi-megabyte to multi-gigabyte. Users engaging in this activity can adversely affect network performance.

Instruction and research on campus and affiliated locations depends on a high-performance network infrastructure, and the University must act to preserve it for its intended use. Beyond this concern, increased downloads from the commercial Internet increases the cost of UCI’s connection to the Internet.

In response, Residential Networking Services has installed a specialized gateway that allows Housing to fine-tune the flow of specific kinds of network traffic. In particular, Housing has limited the amount of total bandwidth that P2P can consume, while keeping connections for academic uses wide open.

P2P applications are not permitted on the campus wireless network (UCInet Mobile Access, http://www.nacs.uci.edu/ucinet/mobile/) because such traffic would overwhelm the network and prevent other uses. Wireless is both a slower technology as well as a shared one (that is, all users are sharing the bandwidth of a single connection). We welcome campus comment on this issue.