To keep pace with an ever increasing demand for more bandwidth, IT services constantly works to improve the overall service capability of Miami University's wireless and wired network infrastructure. This fall, 150 new wireless access points were added and more changes are planned this semester to provide faster routing of Internet traffic.
Internet use has increased approximately 70 percent each academic year for the past four years. A significant amount of this increased usage is streaming video from sources such as Netflix and You Tube. Steaming video accounts for anywhere between 25 percent - 50 percent of Miami's Internet bandwidth consumption.
"With such a complex environment, occasionally our actions have unintended consequences," said Cathy McVey, senior director of strategic communication and planning for IT Services. "This has happened twice this semester."
A network change prior to the start of the semester caused ResNet (residence halls) traffic to route through OARNET link instead of the preferred route for ResNet traffic. While ResNet traffic was not affected, network service to the academic and administrative buildings experienced degradation during the afternoon hours when Internet usage peaked for both groups of users, McVey said.
Once the traffic was appropriately routed, another problem was introduced due to the increased load on one of the network devices. It became overloaded and effectively lost approximately 10-12 percent of network traffic during peak periods, she added.
As part of the continuing effort to reduce service costs while improving customer satisfaction, many changes to the network are planned for the coming months. These include the introduction of ResNet Turbo - providing higher Internet bandwidth at a reasonable charge for students wishing to consume high bandwidth applications such as HD video. Introduction of this new service will also improve overall speeds for general Internet uses as well.
"New hardware will allow us to better leverage both Internet connections (ResNet and State/Academic) positioning us for continued future growth," McVey said.