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11-06-2005 04:45 PM

network issues
 
what's with the network these days?

all file transfers have just gone to shit. aim is disconnecting more than usual, file transfers have become nearly impossible, and file sharing is totally offline.

anybody know what brilliant network revamping has caused this?

Mike Richichi 11-06-2005 06:13 PM

Well,
 
This is still true. Demand keeps increasing and we're trying to adjust things as we can to keep up.

We're seeing if there's alternatives for adding bandwidth but we would not be able to implement anything until next calendar year at least.

We do realize we have to do something, so please be patient.

11-06-2005 08:33 PM

What are these adjustments that are being made? I just want to know if there's any real hope for a stable connection in the near future. I mean... are the students just supposed to just deal with it until we get funds? Is there anything the students can do to help this situation (petition for funds, etc). Personally, I only have another year and a half here, and I feel like I've spent more than enough time battling with my jelopy of a computer and the network.

I know internet may seem pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things, but it's sort of a necessary tool these days, not only for study, but also communication. Getting booted off AIM every couple hours is sort of unacceptable when you basically use it as an answering machine. As for the incredible cost of running a campus-wide connection... well... let me just say that I'm reaching the point where I'd rather be paying my own monthly internet bill and have no Network Drives than deal with this lag (and what is probably a much higher cost in our tuition bill).

Alas, Drew loves to make us pay for things that not all of us need or want (i.e. our sparkling meal plan service). </threadjack>

So... at this point, if there's anything the students can do, please tell us. I'm getting a bit tired of playing the waiting game. I'm a man of action! Action, damn it!

Kevin P. Egan 11-06-2005 09:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin M. Giza
las, Drew loves to make us pay for things that not all of us need or want (i.e. our sparkling meal plan service). </threadjack>

HAHA, quite so. I dont really see a point to having them bring food to our table, it seems quite pointless.

I have also noticed an increase in getting kicked off aim, however I still feel that the internet connection is sufficient for what I use it for. I think the real question is, will it be really slow on registration day? Its always slow on registration day (as we'll see tomorrow), but it would be really sad if I could get into more of my classes by being at tilgman house at 9.

Mike Richichi 11-06-2005 09:55 PM

Registration will work as usual
 
The primary bottleneck is Drew's connection to the Internet. Connections within Drew are still performing very well. The only reason registration might be slow is that the server it runs on isn't the fastest.

And, by the way, we're listening to the feedback. And, we have to use the connection too, remember, and have to be able to do things like download critical patches and system updates, so it is something we're dealing with too. It's not like we can just flip a switch--once we can have a plan of action it will take some time (weeks at least) to get new stuff installed.



Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin P. Egan
HAHA, quite so. I dont really see a point to having them bring food to our table, it seems quite pointless.

I have also noticed an increase in getting kicked off aim, however I still feel that the internet connection is sufficient for what I use it for. I think the real question is, will it be really slow on registration day? Its always slow on registration day (as we'll see tomorrow), but it would be really sad if I could get into more of my classes by being at tilgman house at 9.


E. Axel Larsson 11-06-2005 10:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin M. Giza
What are these adjustments that are being made? I just want to know if there's any real hope for a stable connection in the near future. I mean... are the students just supposed to just deal with it until we get funds? Is there anything the students can do to help this situation (petition for funds, etc). Personally, I only have another year and a half here, and I feel like I've spent more than enough time battling with my jelopy of a computer and the network.


Find out who the student rep is on the Expense and Allocation Committee and ask them to support University Technology's budget request for additional internet bandwidth.

11-06-2005 11:08 PM

The only thing I can find online is the staff Expense and Allocation Committee. Obviously, that doesn't include students.

11-06-2005 11:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by E. Axel Larsson
Find out who the student rep is on the Expense and Allocation Committee and ask them to support University Technology's budget request for additional internet bandwidth.


That would be me. Currently, we are only getting presentations and not really budget requests yet. Also, revenue has not yet told us how much money we have to allocate. As a forewarning, I suspect that a significant chunk of what we get this year will go to pay for the increased utilities bill.

John D. Muccigrosso 11-07-2005 12:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin M. Giza
So... at this point, if there's anything the students can do, please tell us. I'm getting a bit tired of playing the waiting game. I'm a man of action! Action, damn it!


I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that since the problem is with our connection to the internet, students might use less of it, that is, turn off all filesharing software.

Or is it exactly this software that's runnig so slow and causing the complaints?

11-07-2005 12:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John D. Muccigrosso
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that since the problem is with our connection to the internet, students might use less of it, that is, turn off all filesharing software.

Or is it exactly this software that's runnig so slow and causing the complaints?


I know far too many people using bit torrent here... and I would venture a guess that it's probably a pretty big part of the problem. If that's the case, then... well... attention all bittorrent users, please stop downloading the new Harry Potter movie that you didn't pay for, and let me get the internet connection that I *am* paying for here at Drew.

I just want to use Skype to call my mom, and I can't. :(

Golbanou Tabatabaie 11-07-2005 03:42 AM

watch out, #2

your adversary is on the up-and-coming.

Kevin P. Egan 11-07-2005 04:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Golly Tabatabaie
watch out, #2

your adversary is on the up-and-coming.



Man, your rough. Though I guess its your perogative how much you demand from your husbands, at least you give fair warning to them.

In terms of the internet usage issue, a few friends have come to me for answers (because they dont read this board), mostly I've been giving them the file sharing response. File sharing programs try to suck up as much bandwidth as possible to download things etc....

But it seems in the past couple of days specifically, a lot more people have been complaining to me about the aim disconnect thing.

As I said, right now its just a minor annoyance (to me at least), but members of the community (many of whom do not use file sharing software) are being negatively affected. Is there anyway to get a message across to those who do not read this board and instead rely on complaining to whoever will listen (I over hear a lot of "I pay blah blah blah for this college and I get a crappy internet connection etc...)that file sharing software is a part of the problem?

John D. Muccigrosso 11-07-2005 10:47 AM

I suspect that our watchful network crew can easily tell which ports are getting the most traffic and therefore which internet activities are using the most bandwidth (google "bittorrent ports").

But shutting down specific ports in order to improve internet access via others may not be the most popular thing to do either. (Still, we already have a firewire set up for many ports <1024, don't we?)

Which is not to say that it doesn't happen on other campuses. Try googling "campus ban file sharing bittorrent".

Mike Richichi 11-07-2005 10:49 AM

Control
 
Well, to be fair, everything's slow. But the fact is what was a reasonable amount of bandwidth two years ago is no longer such; and the chief suspect is downloading of large files (not even music but movies nowadays). There's also a phenomenon where video and audio streams (online radio stations, CNN, etc.) are higher bandwidth than they used to be.

So it's mostly a case that the same amount of people are attempting to download 10x the data than they used to. We're obviously tuning down filesharing like BitTorrent in favor of interactive applications like Web surfing and live streaming, but we've reached the limit of how effective we can be by doing that.

I have at least anecdotal evidence that spyware-infected computers (and if you're doing filesharing, you probably have spyware, sorry) would actually feel slower than ones without spyware. This is probably because when you do normal things like surf a Web page, your computer is making other connections to other servers as well, and those are slowing the whole thing down. So cleaning up the spyware should help a lot. This may also stop some file sharing packages from working. Everything's a tradeoff.

So yes, to support even all "legal" use we need more bandwidth. But turning off all the stuff that people shouldn't be doing anyway, and dealing with your spyware, well, it wouldn't hurt.

Quote:

Originally Posted by John D. Muccigrosso
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that since the problem is with our connection to the internet, students might use less of it, that is, turn off all filesharing software.

Or is it exactly this software that's runnig so slow and causing the complaints?


Mike Richichi 11-07-2005 10:52 AM

Sure
 
We're effectively shutting stuff down by how much we have to limit it so that things like the email can get through.

I'm not particularly interested in banning BitTorrent because we're finding that legitimate companies are using it to distribute, say, open source software, and it's very effective for that. Any of the file sharing protocols potentially have legitimate uses, so we try not to ban outright. We have in the past where it's just gotten completely unmanageable.

Not only do we firewall, but we're now using private addressing which effectively blocks things like Microsoft file sharing, Web servers, etc.

Our traffic shaping device gives us all sorts of pretty graphs and charts. Perhaps if we can find a few that would help people understand we'll put them up here.




Quote:

Originally Posted by John D. Muccigrosso
I suspect that our watchful network crew can easily tell which ports are getting the most traffic and therefore which internet activities are using the most bandwidth (google "bittorrent ports").

But shutting down specific ports in order to improve internet access via others may not be the most popular thing to do either. (Still, we already have a firewire set up for many ports <1024, don't we?)

Which is not to say that it doesn't happen on other campuses. Try googling "campus ban file sharing bittorrent".


11-07-2005 12:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin M. Giza
Alas, Drew loves to make us pay for things that not all of us need or want (i.e. our sparkling meal plan service). </threadjack>



lol@mealplan. I really hope this whole being served at your table twice a week thing isn't mandatory. I would much rather my tuition be spent on the internet and stupid plans like this.

Kevin P. Egan 11-07-2005 04:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amanda L. Brennan
lol@mealplan. I really hope this whole being served at your table twice a week thing isn't mandatory. I would much rather my tuition be spent on the internet and stupid plans like this.

Well I dont think it is mandatory (as the student pays for the service at the time they swipe their card). However, to me, it looks like a frivolous service. I would quote something from The Acorn , but their website has apparently been down since september 1st. I think I remember them saying that better food would acompany the at table service, it just seems that there could be a better use of time for those who would carry food to someones table. It is not an incredible energy expenditure to get up and get your own food.

But this is getting totally off topic for the forum.

11-07-2005 04:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin P. Egan
Well I dont think it is mandatory (as the student pays for the service at the time they swipe their card). However, to me, it looks like a frivolous service. I would quote something from The Acorn , but their website has apparently been down since september 1st. I think I remember them saying that better food would acompany the at table service, it just seems that there could be a better use of time for those who would carry food to someones table. It is not an incredible energy expenditure to get up and get your own food.

But this is getting totally off topic for the forum.


I think the food delivery part of this comes from the fact that steak/crab legs etc take time to cook, so they don't want to make you wait up there while it is cooking. If they were to work it as they do with the Grill currently where they put it out and you go up and get it, I have a feeling your tasty steak might somehow no longer be there by the time you go to pick it up, if you get my drift.

Kevin P. Egan 11-07-2005 04:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gary A. Hochman
I think the food delivery part of this comes from the fact that steak/crab legs etc take time to cook, so they don't want to make you wait up there while it is cooking. If they were to work it as they do with the Grill currently where they put it out and you go up and get it, I have a feeling your tasty steak might somehow no longer be there by the time you go to pick it up, if you get my drift.

Hmmm, I always have wondered why my mushroom omelettes tend to sprout legs and walk off as I am heading towards the grill....

Golbanou Tabatabaie 11-07-2005 07:48 PM

nice job guys


11-07-2005 08:09 PM

It was explained to me today that the academic buildings are given high priority (not on wireless), and upon testing this with good ol' Warcraft 3 (I figured it'd be a good test-program) in my spare time, I found it to run flawlessly at 7pm tonight (usually a busy time, I've noted).

Out of curiousity, and please correct me if I'm wrong (I have no real working knowledge of network traffic), is there any way to re-route this open access to the rest of campus? Just how much of this space is left open? I'm not sure exactly how your software divvies up the connection, but I can most certainly promise you that most of the folks in their offices seldom use anything all that network-intensive, at least from what I've seen.

So... to summarize: how much is left open in academic buildings, how much is actually utilized on a day to day basis, and is there any way to reroute this bandwidth?

11-07-2005 11:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin M. Giza
... well... attention all bittorrent users, please stop downloading the new Harry Potter movie that you didn't pay for...


Or at least limit the download/upload speed. I know Azereus allows you to do such; I'm not sure about other programs.


Quote:

It was explained to me today that the academic buildings are given high priority (not on wireless), and upon testing this with good ol' Warcraft 3 (I figured it'd be a good test-program) in my spare time, I found it to run flawlessly at 7pm tonight (usually a busy time, I've noted).

Out of curiousity, and please correct me if I'm wrong (I have no real working knowledge of network traffic), is there any way to re-route this open access to the rest of campus? Just how much of this space is left open?

I assume it's just given priority over the rest of the campus, but nothing is reserved for them. Like, if a student is having supper in a restaurant, and a professor comes in, the management will throw the students out to make room for the professor, but the students can sit there after the professor leaves. So there's nothing saved for them if they're not using it.

At least, I think.

David J. Wilson 11-08-2005 04:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin M. Giza
It was explained to me today that the academic buildings are given high priority (not on wireless), and upon testing this with good ol' Warcraft 3 (I figured it'd be a good test-program) in my spare time, I found it to run flawlessly at 7pm tonight (usually a busy time, I've noted).

Out of curiousity, and please correct me if I'm wrong (I have no real working knowledge of network traffic), is there any way to re-route this open access to the rest of campus? Just how much of this space is left open? I'm not sure exactly how your software divvies up the connection, but I can most certainly promise you that most of the folks in their offices seldom use anything all that network-intensive, at least from what I've seen.

So... to summarize: how much is left open in academic buildings, how much is actually utilized on a day to day basis, and is there any way to reroute this bandwidth?


Whoever explained this to you has no actual knoweldge of how our network and internet connection is configured. Allow me to provide you with some facts-

The internet connection is not split up between FS, Students, Wireless and so forth. We only identify and categorize them separately on our packet shaping device for management purposes, like getting a more detailed depiction of how the bandwidth is being utilized by users on campus. They all share the same QoS (quality of service) policy. You can see this for yourself if you follow the link to the screenshot below. Each connection group shares the same "Normal" policy. Note that the first two groups are only for testing purposes and are disabled 99% of the time- You can see that they are greyed out.

http://users.drew.edu/~djwilson/policies.jpg

If Warcraft 3 worked fine for you in an academic building it was just a coincidence, because it should work exactly the same way in your room. There is no difference as far as how our packet shaper is configured.

We have made a lot of positive adjustments to it in the past week. Unfortunately during this same time, the device has started to crash multiple times a day, taking the internet down with it. We've been working with the support staff for the product and they have identified the cause as being a bug in the version we were running. They recently put out a newer version which is supposed to correct the particular issue, and we've already gone ahead and upgraded it this afternoon. Assuming they correctly identified the problem, we should be much better off now. If not, we'll continue to work with them until it's resolved.

The above is why your AIM has been disconnecting, why streaming radio would stop, and why you wouldn't be able to re-establish the connection for about a minute. Keep in mind though- The internet is not perfect. Sites go down, as do any of the ten to twenty routers you go through to get to one. It varies. Same goes for speed and latency. It can be our connection, I'm not saying it never is, but it's certainly not always.

Only one thing is limited-and it goes for the entire campus. We heavily limit P2P for one reason: No matter what we set it to, if it's 1Mb or 10Mb, it's pretty much guaranteed that all of that bandwidth will be consumed at all times. I have seen it for myself. Personally I feel it's like throwing away bandwidth that legitimate applications could be using. Granted there are legal and legitimate uses for P2P like with BitTorrent- But honestly, that is rarely the case. Regardless, we recognize that and have not completely shut off P2P.

For games, I know many of you have questions regarding this. For the games that our packet shaper recognizes (and part of the problem is that it doesn't recognize all of the ones that are played here-we may be able to work on this), we actually have a QoS policy to *guarantee* bandwidth per connection so that games are able to work better. We do the same thing with streaming media, because these are both persistent connections that won't work if the available bandwidth falls below a certain level. There is a cap on how much of this we can provide but that is only because we have to still allow other applications to work. The idea that we don't care about this stuff working, that we would try to limit use, that's just false. But there is naturally a limit to what we can provide, and we have to think of all the users who are online and what they are using the internet for.

Here's a link to one more screenshot. It was taken this afternoon, a graph of the current usage at the time. Bandwidth is distributed rather evenly among WLAN (wireless), SRV (our servers, but mostly the proxy server), ST PB (students) and FS (faculty/staff). Look at the bottom left for a breakdown of the most active protocols.

http://users.drew.edu/~djwilson/graph.jpg
(The times are GMT)

At night it's an entirely different picture- Primarily student, then some wireless and servers, nothing in fac/staff. If nothing else was happening, the student side of the network could use 100% of the connection- And that is always the case, it's not a policy that goes into effect at a certain time and goes back later. There's no bandwidth reserved for a particular group or location. The only thing we reserve or guarantee bandwidth for are specific applications that need it (academic software, streaming media, games, etc.) And in those cases, the bandwidth only gets reserved as it's needed and used.

Like it's been said earlier, we do listen and we're doing the best we can to make the most out of our connection. I actually care about improving service and adjusting it to match the needs and of the community, and not just because it's my job to. Besides the brief outages this week which I hope we're through with, I actually think the latest adjustments have helped quite a bit, I've been able to get very fast transfers, web pages load up fast, streaming audio works (and again, some servers are just overloaded or too far away- my cable connection at home may be super fast but there are still plenty of streaming audio or video servers that cut out or outright don't work), and so on,. No it's not blazing super fast, but it's been really good considering how many other users are sharing the same connection.

I hope this answers some of your questions.


Dave

Mike Richichi 11-08-2005 05:55 PM

Another small point
 
Just for perspective--I have an Optimum Online connection at home which I love very much and wouldn't trade for anything. I was getting miserable performance to several sites on the Internet last night. Pages weren't loading, things were just awful. Others were working great. There's been a few recent incidents about problems at backbone providers (like Level3 and Cogent not routing traffic between them, Level3's routers going crazy after a software upgrade) that show in many cases Internet problems are beyond our control. Of course, it's easy to assume that once we have some problems with Drew's connection that everything's our fault--and it's important to maintain some perspective.

And please, if there's one thing you get from this discussion--if there's something you don't understand, or you "heard something" from "this guy" who "is really smart" but doesn't work for me (as in, the one responsible for the Internet working), please just ask. We're happy to tell you what's going on and give you real information based on facts, instead of conjecturing wildly based on limited information.

11-08-2005 06:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by David J. Wilson
I hope this answers some of your questions.

Certainly does! Thanks for taking the time to write that out.

I don't mean this to be an attacking thing - I just wanted to get some actual answers, because until this post showed up, we really didn't have any.

Thanks to all the guys who're taking the time to answer our questions. It is most certainly appreciated.

So... it's just coincidence that it ran flawlessly for a full hour, then 10 minutes later in my room the lag was so horrible it wouldn't even log me in? And there's no prioritization given to anyone whatsoever? Just seems odd to me. Bad timing, I suppose.

And just to say... we know it's not always your fault. A lot of people find it easier to just lump the blame on the tech guys, which isn't fair (I fixed computers all summer, I know how it goes). Again, now that the students have some definitive information here, I hope that removes some of that from your shoulders.

EDIT: I think I should also note that I didn't hear this information from "some guy," it was someone who works at CNS, and has an intimate working knowledge of the networks. Trust me, I wouldn't be posting random things I heard from Joe Nameless. I guarantee you that anything I presented earlier was probably not precisely what he told me, and was in fact just me being an idiot. :D After all...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin M. Giza
...please correct me if I'm wrong (I have no real working knowledge of network traffic)...


11-08-2005 08:28 PM

at least AIM is acting better now. emphasis on better, because it's still having problems like file transfers stopping mid way through. i just have a couple things to say...


firstly, drew needs a new browser. this is not a matter of i would like a new browser, it is seriously becoming a necessity. mozilla is outdated! almost NO websites are designed around it anymore, so please, get a new contract or whatever and get Firefox instead! it's made by the same freaking company but it's also the second most commonly used browser which means that it will work better with more sites because companies design there sites to work well with it. Mozilla used to be popular like, 3-4 years ago, but now guess what, there are a LOT of website which are incompatible with mozilla, so please, just get firefox as the campus supported browser...please. just please do it.

and as for why i don't just use firefox as my default web browser? it gets crappy connectivity and transfer rates. i can download a file using mozilla at a good 80 KB/sec sometimes, but firefox never gets over about 8 KB/sec. so, once again, PLEASE GET FIREFOX AS THE DEFAULT DREW BROWSER! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! IT'S SO MUCH BETTER! AND EVERYONE WILL LOVE YOU

next, as far as you realizing the legitimacy of some p2p's and that's why you don't shut them down completely, i gotta say, i don't really see it. i can't even get a connection to limewire 90 percent of the time, and i can connect to a host even less often then that. so as far as p2p being not blocked entirely, i'm really just not seeing it....

John D. Muccigrosso 11-08-2005 09:26 PM

Dave,

Nice stats in the jpegs. Thanks. What's with the extremely large http portion? Is that AIM or something else using port 80, or maybe large file downloads coming across via http? Also, looks like MS Player is a big chunk too, and BitTorrent is in there.

Interesting stuff.

Paul R. Coen 11-08-2005 09:50 PM

Stats . . .
 
Actually, most of our traffic is http traffic, by a huge margin. Some of it may be multimedia stuff delivered over http instead of, say, RTSP. Luckly (or not so), most of the Mozilla configs on campus are set to use our proxy server, which is probably one of the few things allowing our connection to not completely melt down. It's old, and it's slow, though (it's the old server we used to use for fac/staff and departmental data, Janus). Anyway, we've got another, newer server lined up, but we haven't had a chance to get the proxy configuration moved over to it (it's actually a fairly complicated config). We're hoping to do it soon.

I'm going to attribute the jump in Windows Media Player to NPR using it for it's streaming audio, as well as CNN and a few others. Total guess on my part, and I'm sure there are alternative guesses that are as (or more) valid. Honestly, I try not to examine the web and streaming media sites hit too closely. While a longer-term study might be interesting, I wouldn't want to collect the data unless we could insure that we weren't retaining any identifying info, which can be somewhat difficult (you'd likely have to gather data, and strip info out or aggrigate some of the information and destroy the original source data)

Quote:

Originally Posted by John D. Muccigrosso
Dave,

Nice stats in the jpegs. Thanks. What's with the extremely large http portion? Is that AIM or something else using port 80, or maybe large file downloads coming across via http? Also, looks like MS Player is a big chunk too, and BitTorrent is in there.

Interesting stuff.


Golbanou Tabatabaie 11-08-2005 09:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul R. Coen

I'm going to attribute the jump in Windows Media Player to NPR using it for it's streaming audio, as well as CNN and a few others. Total guess on my part, and I'm sure there are alternative guesses that are as (or more) valid.


Not to mention that it is far superior to any other media player of its kind.

Kevin P. Egan 11-08-2005 10:19 PM

VLC rules
 
Actually I find the VLC media player is actually superior to all media players. It comes with as many codecs as anyone could want. If I ever have a media file I cannot play with winamp and wmp, I know that vlc can. And the latest version came with a snapshot feature, allowing easy screen caps without having to rely on 3rd party utilities or the print screen command.

Paul R. Coen 11-08-2005 10:24 PM

Mozilla vs. Firefox
 
What on earth makes you think we aren't going to? Or that we haven't been discussing it? Ripping out Mozilla isn't quite as easy as you think it is, since a decent number of people are using it for email as well. There are support and training issues, not to mention distributing the software, importing users' cookies, bookmarks, etc. It isn't just a "flip of the switch". We migrated from Netscape Communicator to the Mozilla Suite - again, some of the same code, not a big change. It was extremely labor intensive.

As for your download speed difference between browsers, that's almost certainly your firefox configuration not being set to use the campus proxy server.

I'd expect Firefox to be on the computers for next fall, and maybe on refreshed configurations before that. There's a whole range of other issues around it, and there probably won't be an announcement and a timeline until we have the whole thing fleshed out a bit more.

Frankly, Firefox (until 1.5 comes out) is based on the same HTML rendering engine that the Mozilla Suite uses. I regularly test things in both browsers, and I don't see a huge difference most of the time.

On the p2p front - we're not blocking it, we're just not letting it eat all the bandwidth. If enough people are running it within that limited amount, yes, it's going to be pretty unusable. You may think that's blocking, but it's not. There's not much we can do about it, given the resources available, unless we're willing to let everyone else - students, faculty and staff trying to get stuff done - suffer. Please remember - in the evening, faculty, staff and commuting students are depending on connecting to Drew via our internet connection to get stuff done.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noah C. Rosenfield
at least AIM is acting better now. emphasis on better, because it's still having problems like file transfers stopping mid way through. i just have a couple things to say...


firstly, drew needs a new browser. this is not a matter of i would like a new browser, it is seriously becoming a necessity. mozilla is outdated! almost NO websites are designed around it anymore, so please, get a new contract or whatever and get Firefox instead! it's made by the same freaking company but it's also the second most commonly used browser which means that it will work better with more sites because companies design there sites to work well with it. Mozilla used to be popular like, 3-4 years ago, but now guess what, there are a LOT of website which are incompatible with mozilla, so please, just get firefox as the campus supported browser...please. just please do it.

and as for why i don't just use firefox as my default web browser? it gets crappy connectivity and transfer rates. i can download a file using mozilla at a good 80 KB/sec sometimes, but firefox never gets over about 8 KB/sec. so, once again, PLEASE GET FIREFOX AS THE DEFAULT DREW BROWSER! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! IT'S SO MUCH BETTER! AND EVERYONE WILL LOVE YOU

next, as far as you realizing the legitimacy of some p2p's and that's why you don't shut them down completely, i gotta say, i don't really see it. i can't even get a connection to limewire 90 percent of the time, and i can connect to a host even less often then that. so as far as p2p being not blocked entirely, i'm really just not seeing it....


Golbanou Tabatabaie 11-08-2005 10:40 PM

Well if I only had the codecs for VLC then I would probably be partial to VLC,

however

I have all the codecs for WMP, so I am partial to it.

And you better believe it's damn fancy.

11-09-2005 12:00 AM

would you be so kind as to then provide an instructional as to how to set up Firefox to work optimumly with drew's network set-up since there is no way that i would have any knowledge of it??? if you acknowledge the superiority of firefox why don't you just put both on there and use mozilla for mail and firefox for browsing? or just advise users to download firefox and give them an instructional on how to configure it if it's some kind of contract issue?

11-09-2005 12:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by noah
i can't even get a connection to limewire 90 percent of the time, and i can connect to a host even less often then that. so as far as p2p being not blocked entirely, i'm really just not seeing it....


how is letting p2p through, even 10% of the time, blocking it? If it were blocked, it would NEVER go through.

I'm actually looking forward to firefox 1.5, though, as it's supposed to be MUCH more stable. Although, my crashes are the fault of my extensions, but that's another story.

11-09-2005 12:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noah C. Rosenfield
would you be so kind as to then provide an instructional as to how to set up Firefox to work optimumly with drew's network set-up since there is no way that i would have any knowledge of it??? if you acknowledge the superiority of firefox why don't you just put both on there and use mozilla for mail and firefox for browsing? or just advise users to download firefox and give them an instructional on how to configure it if it's some kind of contract issue?



More complicated instructions can be found here, but basically:

Tools>Options>General>Connection Settings>Automatic proxy configuration URL:>fill in http://proxy.drew.edu/




John D. Muccigrosso 11-09-2005 01:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin P. Egan
Actually I find the VLC media player is actually superior to all media players. It comes with as many codecs as anyone could want. If I ever have a media file I cannot play with winamp and wmp, I know that vlc can. And the latest version came with a snapshot feature, allowing easy screen caps without having to rely on 3rd party utilities or the print screen command.


Yes, VLC has great codec support, but for the skin, the QT Player is best.

Paul, what's the advantage to using the proxy when on campus? Is the non-proxy traffic not shaped the same way?

Kevin P. Egan 11-09-2005 01:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John D. Muccigrosso
Yes, VLC has great codec support, but for the skin, the QT Player is best.

Paul, what's the advantage to using the proxy when on campus? Is the non-proxy traffic not shaped the same way?

I agree that the skins are limited, but when I am playing a movie in full screen, I honestly dont care what the GUI looks like. Its a personal preference of mine, I tend to care more about functionality than the look of the player.

John D. Muccigrosso 11-09-2005 01:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin P. Egan
I agree that the skins are limited, but when I am playing a movie in full screen, I honestly dont care what the GUI looks like. Its a personal preference of mine, I tend to care more about functionality than the look of the player.


I agree about full-screen. I find that VLC is a bit better than QT in that regard, but usually because I'm playing a poor-quality download, often with a non-standard (=bad) format.

By "skin" I also meant all the bells and whistles of the player. I have QT Pro and it beats the heck out of anything else out there. Certainly the codecs it supports are better than Real's or WMP's, or maybe it's just that too many people use crappy codecs for those two.

E. Axel Larsson 11-09-2005 03:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noah C. Rosenfield
would you be so kind as to then provide an instructional as to how to set up Firefox to work optimumly with drew's network set-up since there is no way that i would have any knowledge of it??? if you acknowledge the superiority of firefox why don't you just put both on there and use mozilla for mail and firefox for browsing? or just advise users to download firefox and give them an instructional on how to configure it if it's some kind of contract issue?

Zach answered your question about the proxy config.

As Paul said, Firefox uses the same HTML rendering engine as Mozilla suite (until 1.5 of Firefox, which is in beta right now, so it is not the version of Firefox most people are using anyway). They are both based upon the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine, so page rendering should not be different between the two browsers.

The University cannot simply advise people to download and install software that we don't support. There is more to deploying and supporting a browser in an enterprise environment than simply telling people to install it on their desktops. For one, we must support pseudo-roaming profiles for faculty and staff desktops and labs so that users bookmarks and settings follow them around. We do this by redirecting user profiles to the F: drive on networked desktops. That means that there has to be a customized (individually for each user) a profile on the F: drive procreated automatically. That doesn't happen by magic. We needed to write code, as part of our account provisioning system, to build those profiles when new accounts are created.

On notebooks we don't redirect profiles, so that they function off-campus. Of course this means that there is no roaming capability on notebooks. It also means that we need to create a customized user profile on the notebook automatically the first time a given user logs in. This is done automatically by a piece of our (again, developed in house) custom computer deployment and personalization system. (See this conference paper for more information on how that works.)

It's fine if you want to install Firefox and use it. In fact, I'm using it right now to write this message. You can install it and customize the settings as appropriate. In order to do that for 2,500 users, we need some automated tools and a plan. It is not a huge investment to update the deployment and provisioning systems to support a different browser, but it is nonetheless an investment. At this time their is still some question about the future direction of the email service that we are providing and what shape that will take in the not to distant future. Since the browser and mail client are presently the same, it makes sense to defer a change to the browser until we have a decision (and an idea of budget) on the email front. Given that the HTML rendering engine for both browsers is the same, their was not a sufficiently compelling reason to go ahead with changing the default browser ahead of the email issue.

I would be curious to know which websites you are finding work in Firefox but not the most recent install of Mozilla Suite.

Also, you seem to have some misconceptions about the Mozilla Foundation and the license under which its work is released. The Mozilla applications are Free (as in speech) open source software. The University does not have to negotiate any contract or pay anything to redistribute the software.

E. Axel Larsson 11-09-2005 03:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John D. Muccigrosso
Yes, VLC has great codec support, but for the skin, the QT Player is best.

Paul, what's the advantage to using the proxy when on campus? Is the non-proxy traffic not shaped the same way?

I'm not Paul, but I'll answer your question anyway. :)

The chief advantage of the proxy server on-campus is not that it has higher priority for HTTP than other clients going out to the internet (it doesn't) but that it is more efficient at fetching web pages. Generally Squid (the open-source proxy software we use) is really good at using HTTP 1.1 pipelining to pre-fetch everything your browser needs to render a page with one TCP connection (this is something the browsers are all terrible at for whatever reason). Pipelining gets rid of some of the TCP connection set up and tear down overhead going out to the Internet. The proxy also caches stuff on its local disk (static HTML and images only) so this improves performance if multiple users access the same thing.

Really it just boils down to the fact that it seems that the Squid people are much better at writing super efficient HTTP clients (in terms of the use of the network) than the browser people. That's fine by me. We can just let the browser folks stick to the rendering and making the page look pretty on the screen and leave the network I/O to the people writing the proxy code. :)


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