November 29, 2020

Reaching bandwidth capacity

As Webster University’s bandwidth is reaching maximum capacity, administration is considering blocking certain websites to make more bandwidth available.
Dean Debra Carpenter of the School of Communications (SOC) sent an email to SOC faculty and staff on Oct. 29, saying that Pandora, a music streaming website, would be blocked. The website takes up 10 percent of the university’s bandwidth.
The email stated that Provost Julian Schuster wanted to know if this would affect courses that may incorporate Pandora.
However, on Nov. 1, Schuster said no decision has been made yet regarding websites taking up large amounts of bandwidth, but that Pandora will not be blocked.
“We are trying to see what is using up our bandwidth, and then align the bandwidth with the priority of the institution,” Schuster said. “We’re not killing or axing anything. There’s a possibility that it (Pandora) might have some restrictions on it, but no definitive solution has been made.”
Webster’s bandwidth, which is accessed by not only faculty and students at the St. Louis campus, but also by international campuses, is becoming overutilized.
Ken Freeman, interim vice president of information technology, said he could not confirm if Pandora will be blocked, but did say that the circuit dedicated to faculty and staff may be affected.
“We’re taking a look at what websites ­— not on the student side — but what websites that people in the organization (Webster faculty and administration) are utilizing,” Freeman said. “Then, we’ll send that to the proper areas — academic affairs and the provost — and say here’s the information, what would you like us to do?”
Freeman said there are certain percentages of utilization every bandwidth circuit should have, and Webster is toppling the percentage the institution should have.
He said by industry standards, bandwidths utilized at 70 percent is too much.  At 80 percent, there are urgent changes that should be made. Webster is nearing 90 percent utilization.
“If you reach 90 percent, nobody’s doing anything because the circuit is over utilized,” Freeman said.
Only the SOC is confirmed to have been asked if Pandora is incorporated into coursework.
Freeman said along with faculty and administrators based at the St. Louis campus, the 80 extended domestic campuses and several of the international campus administrators are logging in on a daily basis to use administrator applications. Because of this, Webster’s bandwidth is almost constantly being utilized.
“We will look to utilize the assets accordingly as the university dictates,” Freeman said. “We need to make sure that everybody can access what they need when they need it.”
Freeman said that a report detailing the other websites using up Webster’s bandwidth will be posted online in the near future.

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