My Battles with the Bandwidth Beast

In 2017 we talk about campus bandwidth needs using terms such as IoT (internet of Things)  and BYOD.  When we began our efforts to expand campus bandwidth those terms weren’t widely used. Since that time Casper College has spent approximately $1.7 million on overall network upgrades the past 5 years).  Some of the activities we have focused on have included: 1) Reassignment of financial resources to improve bandwidth not only in the residence Hall but throughout campus, 2) Implementing a student technology fee to provide a stable revenue source for maintaining modern network technology services,  3) Reorganizing our support structure and adding network staffing to help us support the endless demand for bandwidth.  

I love the title of a Spring 2017 Converge article titled “Feeding the Bandwidth Beast”.  I relate to this and have named this post appropriately after this article as it has been one of the greatest professional challenges while serving at Casper College.  I have written before about the expansion of bandwidth at Casper College and the steps taken from 2011-2015 put us in a very good place, but we can’t rest on our laurels.  Unlike when you’re building something physical like a house,  there is no endgame for what we are doing.   Current reports claim the approximate required 2016 bandwidth for residence halls for 200 students is roughly 880bps.    If you use the assumption we are at  70-80% capacity in our on-campus housing our current need is really about 1.5 Gbps.   We are catching up, but are still behind.  

Our March 2, 2017, upgrade is a significant milestone date for DoIT initiatives as we have been able to expand our available bandwidth servicing the residence halls from 200MB to 1000MB. However, if the above-referenced report is accurate we are only catching to required bandwidth needs.  

The first two (2) charts below chronicle the expansion.   The second two charts document bandwidth utilization before the conversion and after the conversion.  The final chart provides a then  (2010-2011) and now (2016-2017).

Bandwidth at Casper College 2011 -2107

 

Casper College Residence Hall Bandwidth Year by Year 2011- 2016

Casper College Main Campus Bandwidth Year by Year 2011- 2016

200Mbps MOE for Public guest networks and Residence Hall networks.

The graph above shows us the 200Mbps MOE that we were using to service both the Public guest networks and Residence Hall networks.

If you look at March 2nd we see the spike when bandwidth starts to rise like it usually does. The rest of the graph has almost flat-linked after the switch to separate the Public networks and RH networks.
utilization of the 1Gbps link since the changeover

Here is the utilization of the 1Gbps link since the changeover separating the two networks. As we see here, the students are only utilizing 23% peak usage of the current 1Gbps circuit. When we make changes like this, we currently see that the new service ramps up slowly in utilization. We expect to see more utilization in the next few weeks. If there is anything new we will keep you posted. 

 

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