Networking & Wireless

Elmhurst College Adopts Bandwidth Optimization Platform

Elmhurst College in Illinois has implemented a bandwidth optimization platform to help ensure an equitable distribution of network bandwidth during peak usage periods and to prevent individuals from dominating network resources.

Just like most other college campuses, the number of networked devices at Elmhurst College has increased significantly over the last few years, especially in the dorms. Students are bringing desktop and laptop computers, tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles and other Internet-connected devices with them. In the evening, when the majority of students are online doing schoolwork, socializing, gaming and streaming videos or music, the demand for bandwidth peaks. At Elmhurst College, a few students were dominating the available bandwidth at the expense of everyone else.

"Students are streaming, gaming and upgrading operating systems, all while trying to access their Blackboard LMS platform. We couldn't turn them off, because they are doing it all simultaneously," said Dean Jensen, director of Infrastructure and Web Applications at the college, in a news release. "And to add to the complexity, most of the data is encrypted traffic, which makes it nearly impossible to shape or limit by application."

The college is planning to upgrade its network in the fall. In preparation for that upgrade, the Information Services team wanted to optimize its network resources, control costs and ensure quality of service. "We needed a solution that did not require heavy configuration or ongoing maintenance, and could adapt to changing user demands on the fly," added Jensen.

The college selected a dynamic bandwidth management system from CirrusWorks. According to information from the company, "dynamically assesses and allocates bandwidth among multiple competing users on a network in real time, without static rule sets, complicated prioritization schemes or intrusive deep packet inspection (DPI)."

"It tames the hogs, so everyone gets a fair share of bandwidth during peak periods," said Jensen, "and it complements our existing stack of network monitoring and content management platforms."

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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