• Yager Bell Tower, Hartwick College
  • Hartwick students working on a project in class.
  • Hartwick students studying rock formations
  • Dewar Union, Hartwick College

Network/Internet Bandwidth FAQ

Below you will find some common questions pertaining to network and Internet bandwidth:

What is "Bandwidth"?
What do upload and download mean?
Why does Hartwick limit network resources?
How can I reduce my bandwidth consumption?
Everyone copies music and movies. Why should I be concerned?
Why doesn't the Technology Resource Center back up MP3's and movies on student computers?

Q. What is bandwidth?
A:
Bandwidth is the size and speed of the "pipe" that connects your computer to a network and the Internet. This "pipe" transports data back and forth between your computer and the Internet. You use bandwidth to view Web pages and to send data out from your computer (upload) or receive data into your computer (download).

There are limitations to how much data can be exchanged, depending on how much bandwidth is available.

Q: What do upload and download mean?
A: Upload is the process of sending data from your computer to another computer. It can be sent to another computer on campus or over the Internet to another computer.

Download is the process of receiving data sent to your computer from another computer. It can be sent from a computer on campus or from another computer over the Internet.

Currently we monitor the total upload and download traffic for each computer on our network. The monitoring software ranks the computers on a Top Talkers list, based on their bandwidth usage. If you consistently overuse bandwidth, you could lose your network access.

We also monitor the type of traffic going out over our Internet connection, which allows us to raise the priority of some data packets (e.g., the Library) and lower the priority of others (e.g., P2P file sharing programs such as Limewire, Kazaa, eDonkey and others).

Normal Internet use such as Web browsing, e-mail, etc., generates a very small amount of outbound traffic. Computers that are acting as servers and running Web cams, FTP (file transfer protocol), P2P file-sharing programs (Kazaa, Limewire, Morpheus, Imesh, Audiogalaxy, WinMX, Gnutella, Ares, and others), and various game servers can generate a significant amount of data traffic, since others are accessing files on your computer and transferring them via the network and Internet.

Q: Why does Hartwick limit network resources?
A: Restrictions have been implemented because of the enormous bandwidth consumption, caused by the use of music- and video-sharing programs (P2P programs). The demand for bandwidth has grown exponentially--so much that it can become impossible to get e-mail or do academic work over the campus network. Hartwick tries to strike a balance between pursuit of academic goals using the network versus recreational use. The following table provides some perspective on the size of files being sent over our network and Internet connection:

Size by File Type (K=1000 Bytes)

File Type (Average) Average Size in Bytes
Single Page Text email 2K
1 Page Text Excel Spreadsheet 25.5K
20 Page Text Word Document 130K
Medium Resolution Photo - JPEG 500K
MP3 Music File ~ 5 Minutes Long 5,000K
Video Clip ~ 60 Seconds 10,000K
Internet Explorer Software Install - Full 17,000K
Movie - DIVx format - 2hrs/1 file 700,000K
Full Length DVD Movie - 2hrs 2,500,000K

As you can see, it does not take long for even a robust network like Hartwick's to become inundated with music and video files when P2P file sharing programs are used.

Q: How can I reduce my bandwidth consumption?
A: The biggest users of bandwidth have proven to be audio- and video-sharing programs. Programs like Limewire, Morpheus, Kazaa, Gnutella, Audiogalaxy and Ares, to name a few, place a large load on the network. We also suggest that you limit the use of Web cams and Web phones. Other things you can do:

  • Disable all music sharing and shut down file shares. By default, most music programs allow unlimited users to connect to your computer to copy your music, off campus and on campus. Every file they copy from or through your computer uses bandwidth, slows your computer down, and affects the overall quality of the network service for everyone. There is often more than one place to disable sharing features. Some music- and video-sharing programs do not allow you to disable the "super node" type of feature. The only solution in this case is to uninstall that program so that it does not continue to use lots of bandwidth without your knowledge.
  • Turn off the "super node" capability in Kazaa. Go to the options of the program and click where it says "Do not function as a super node". The new Morpheus uses the same engine as Gnutella, Bearshare and Limewire. These programs do not allow you to turn off the super node feature and will consume a disproportionate amount of bandwidth while your computer is on the network. Even when you close the application, the program is still available to others on the network until you turn off that feature. If you see the program's icon in the bottom right hand corner, right-click on it and turn it off.
  • Turn off your computer when you are not in the room and when you are sleeping. Remember, you are responsible for all traffic that goes in and out of your computer. Before loading programs on your computer, ask the Technology Resource Center whether that program creates bandwidth problems and how you can configure it properly.
  • Choose not to send files through AOL Instant Messenger. Any file you send through AOL IM uses Internet bandwidth, even if you are sending a file to your roommate or a person down the hall.
  • Make sure your computer is not infected by a virus that allows others to remotely access your computer without your knowledge. Viruses also e-mail themselves to others, using additional bandwidth. All Hartwick-issued computers are provided with Symantec Anti-virus as part of the Hartwick software configuration. If you have questions or problems with your anti-virus software, please contact the Technology Resource Center at x4357. Also, all personal computers which use or attach to the Hartwick network must have up-to-date virus protection.
  • Do not run any type of Web Server (e.g., Microsoft's Internet Information Service/Personal Web Server) or FTP server, which would allow other people to download files from your computer.
  • Use the Hartwick e-mail servers to send and receive your email. Popular programs like AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo all require you to communicate over the Internet to use their mail services, which use bandwidth. AOL, Hotmail, and Yahoo users should forward their e-mail (if possible) to their Hartwick email account and avoid using bandwidth unnecessarily.
  • If you listen to streaming radio stations or watch streaming video over the Internet, it will adversely affect the network for everyone. Also, using a Web cam, video phone, or online phone service adds more to the bandwidth strain. Gaming software also increases bandwidth use, and these packages tend to be "chatty" on the network.

Q: Everyone copies music and movies. Why should I be concerned? What happens if I get caught having or possessing illegal copies of movies or music on my computer?
A: There are federal and state laws that prohibit uploading and downloading of copyrighted music and especially movies. It is, after all, stealing! It is also against College policy to transfer copyrighted material over the Hartwick network without the express written permission of the material's owners. Students risk not only fines and jail time if they are caught with illegal materials, but the College may also apply academic sanctions. Click on the links below to learn more about copyrights and the law:

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Copyright Law

Q: Why doesn't the Technology Resource Center back up music, video and game files before working on notebooks or desktops?
A: Before starting work, the Technology Resource Center will try to do a courtesy backup of your important academic or work files found in My Documents. However, depending on the problem, a usable backup may not be possible, which is why users are strongly encouraged to have a regular backup plan before disaster strikes. If a student provides a written statement from his/her professor that the music and/or video files are needed for a class, then Technology Resources will back up the needed files.