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Avoiding the 5GB weekly bandwidth imposed by the college (legal)

Posted on 2004-10-15
Last Modified: 2010-04-10

I am planning to join a Canadian university.I have learnt that in the Candadian University that
I am going to, the weekly bandwidth is limited to 5GB - Download, and 2GB - upload. For more details I checked out the 'Residence Internet Service' FAQ and have seen that there are ways to go around this (note: this seems to be legal as this FAQ is set up by the Ancillary Services of
the college itself).

The FAQ can be seen at this page: http://www.ris.ualberta.ca/itsupportfaq.htm

My question is regarding the Question 21 in the FAQ. Apparently it seems that P2P is legal in
Canada. It is written: "To utilize free unrestricted links either download P2P software that is
used by the universities (all Canadian universities are on CaNet4 network) or use an approach
described in FAQ 19" The details in FAQ 19 only shows from which link the data comes via. It
doesnt state how to make sure that all the data comes from the two non-commerical links. I
contacted them and they said that to ask an expert for help. So here I am!
Also regarding the P2P part, its written: "use an approach described in FAQ 19" Could someone please tell me how this is done? Can this also be done for IRC?

Question by:nielsennielsen
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Accepted Solution

deadite earned 420 total points
ID: 12317027
First off, the legal issues:  P2P can never be considered "legal" depending on your location and the copyright holder.  This is an ongoing debate that keeps pushing more towards the rights of the copyright holder.  What does this mean?  If you are sharing files, that is fine.  If you are sharing copyrighted material, you can be held accountable (although the p2p company wont) for copyright infringment.  The numbers of people being busted for copyright infringement is small, but US laws are beginning to turn in favor of the copyright holders.  Even outside of the US cases are being held.  The internet is basically a new medium in which laws are being applied, although nothing is really solid in how to treat it yet.  So be aware, there is always a chance you can be busted if you share copyrighted material.  However, most of the people busted are the ones that "share" not download the material.

To your second point.  #19 is refering to the location of the download.  Doing the traceroute basically says: my computer is going through these points(hops) to download this file.  In their particular examples: they are using websites.  For instance you can traceroute download.com to see if it goes through the commercial server (Telus) or the other 2 (Shaw and Netera) to see if it counts against your bandwidth.  Basically; if you use a P2P sharing program the traceroute would have to be the user's IP address.  So you would need to know their IP, or ISP provider to determine which route it would travel.

However, you have 5GB download capacity.  5GB is a very large sum.  I have seen universities which have a 1.5 limit, wich is still alot for a week.  This would cover about 2 movies (750MB), which is pretty sweet quality.  At 5 GB, that would be over 2.5X's as much.  For that size, depending on the speed of your network and where you download from, that is a hell of a lot.  Especially when you take in the fact that there is a 50/50 chance it does not go against your bandwidth.  If you think you might go over that limit, then it might be useful to evaluate your usage of the internet, because that is really hard to go over in 1 week.  Also your upload is only 2BG a week, that is probably the one part you should worry about most.  If you are sharing files on P2P, make sure you monitor how much is uploaded.  That can easily go over 2GB in a week, especially if you obtain a file that everyone wants.  I have seen networks that have gone offline for hours, because someone on P2P had a file (specifically the Hulk movie a week before it hit theaters).  A personal note, don't share your files if they are copyrighted because that will lead to trouble.  Additionly, if you share files keep track of how much you upload and what you are sharing.

Hope this helps.

Author Comment

ID: 12321769

Yes. I am very well informed about the risks of sharing copyrighted material over P2P networks. Thank you for your concern.
My question was about this 'traffic shaping' technology. In the FAQ it is written that the download speed was at 1.5kb/sec, and the response was to check out Q19 in the FAQ. So does this mean that the file he is downloading is going via the Telus connection, thats why it is slow, or does it mean that somehow the network duduces (or sees that the program being run, is in a list of common/well-known P2P programs) that the person is using A P2P program, and thus slows down the bandwidth?

It is also mentioned: "To utilize free unrestricted links either download P2P software that is used by the universities" Which program is been spoken about? Any idea?


Expert Comment

ID: 12325738
The traffic shaping only applies to the Telus connection.  When your traffic goes through the Telus connection, and if their program decides it is p2p traffic, it will slow the traffic down to 1.5Kb/Sec.  The Telus connection is the universities main internet traffic connection, and they want to utilize it for legit university traffic.... So they traffic shape to keep P2P activities from hogging all of the bandwidth.  As far as how they do this, probably a piece of sofware that scans traffic and analysis how it flows, based on that it decides if it's p2p or not.  If you search for traffic shaping you'll find tons of links of technology that will do it.

For the P2P software used by the university.  I didn't see any specific program listed.  They do mention CaNet4, which is a Canadian university optical backbone.... so basically that is saying, if someone is on CaNet4 with a P2P program (ie: kazaa lite) then you can connect to them.  So I don't think there is a specific P2P program they are talking about.  When it refers back to question 19, it is saying you can do a traceroute to the other P2P user by their IP or by Their ISP name, to see if your download is going across the Telus network (in that case your traffic will be shaped down to 1.5kb/s).  So I think the straight out answer you want is this:  You can use any P2P program, However if it connects through the Telus network, it most likely is going to be traffic shaped to 1.5kb/s.  If your p2p connection does not go through Telus (one of the other 2 networks) then you are fine.  They mention using traceroute in 19 to determine if you will fall under traffic shaping, but they only give examples of websites not P2P.  To determine this with IP, you'd have to open a connection with the P2P user, check the traffic and find an IP or ISPserver in which your are connected to.  Then you would traceroute this like it was a website you are downloading from.

Author Comment

ID: 12347931

Ok. Is there any software that wil monitor my total download/upload ?


Expert Comment

ID: 12464946
There are lots of tools you can use to monitor bandwidth.  I know of two specific ones that let you use them as a trial version for about 30 days I believe.  Solarwinds and Bandwidth Monitor Pro have links below (again, they have free downloads on their site).  The solarwinds bandwidth monitoring tool is included only in the engineer and professional tools packages (you cannot download this seperate).  If you aren't into spending $ after the trial is up, you can always search on google for "bandwidth monitor" or try several sites with free programs such as sourceforge.net


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