Speed it up

Dorms undergoing network upgrades

Work has begun to upgrade the network in dormitories on the Medford/Somerville campus to provide students with faster network and Internet connections. Tufts Computing and Communications Services (TCCS) anticipates the upgrade will be completed by October.

Currently, the residence hall network (ResNet) is managed by PaeTec/Campuslink, which provides telephone, cable TV and network services to students. In anticipation of the expiration of the network portion of this contract in May 2003, TCCS has begun to replace PaeTec's shared 10-megabit network hubs with dedicated 10 megabit-per-second (mps) switches. This means that each dorm connection will have access to a full 10 mps data stream instead of having to share a single 10 mps connection among the 24 users of each hub.

Although the move from shared hubs to network switches is in itself a major improvement, the connection from each dorm into the network core will also be upgraded to a 1 gigabit-per-second (1,000 mps) link. In addition, the ResNet core network is being upgraded with faster Cisco routers to handle the increased traffic.

Once these ResNet upgrades are in place, the only impediment to faster network performance in the dorms remains the perennial problem of peer-to-peer music and video sharing applications such as Kazaa and Morpheus. The fact that these applications constitute about 85 percent of both Tufts' commodity Internet and Internet2 traffic is an issue that should be of concern to everyone. Because of Tufts' fast Internet connection, the university is serving music files to the world at a rate of four times the amount of data coming into campus. That situation impedes network performance for everyone.