Networking & Wireless

Marietta College Improves Bandwidth Management

Marietta College in Ohio has implemented a bandwidth optimization platform to help its network operations team address the problem of network saturation during peak usage periods.

The small liberal arts college kept investing more money into its network bandwidth, but the capacity problems persisted. Students were bringing an increasing number of wireless devices onto campus and using them for high-bandwidth activities such as streaming video or online gaming. "We needed immediate relief of our Internet congestion problems caused by overwhelming student demand for bandwidth during peak usage periods," said Mike Robinson, network administrator of Marietta College, in a prepared statement.

The network operations team evaluated a variety of technologies. While many of them offered a plethora of features, few of them were "purpose-built to solve the bandwidth congestion problems facing busy college Wi-Fi networks," according to a news release, and "virtually none of them fully operate on end-to-end encrypted traffic."

The team ultimately selected a bandwidth optimization platform from CirrusWorks. According to information from the company, the tool can dynamically assess and allocate bandwidth among multiple users in real time. Unlike other systems, it doesn't require static rule sets, prioritization schemes or deep packet inspection (DPI). The system works on encrypted traffic and doesn't impose static rules on users' network activities.

"CirrusWorks is taking snapshots of the data flows in microseconds, and then dynamically assigning bandwidth to users in proportion to their requirements relative to the entire group," stated a news release from the company. "It's a type of crowd control for busy Wi-Fi networks."

Lynchburg College in central Virginia implemented the same system in fall 2015 and reported a significant reduction in service complaints as a result.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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