What is bandwidth?
Bandwidth is a technical term for network capacity. Every network has limits on its capacity, especially where the local network connects to the Internet. Even though Denison has a very fast internet connection, that connection and its bandwidth are a limited resource that everyone on campus must share. Think of our Internet connection as the main drag at the front of campus; as long as everyone doesn't try to come into campus at once, things work just fine. If someone decides to drive a semi truck slowly up the middle of the road, there's a problem.
What is a bandwidth hog?
A person who consumes a disproportionate amount of bandwidth and prevents other people from using the internet is a bandwidth hog. The easiest way to become a bandwidth hog is to set up a server or use a program which makes multimedia files available to other users. These programs can very easily consume all of the bandwidth on Denison's connection to the Internet. Before Denison implemented the Traffic Shaping Policy now in place, just a few users could visibly impact network performance. These bandwidth hogs were, in effect, driving slowly up the middle of the main drag.
What is the effect of a bandwidth hog on others?
When a semi is coming up the middle of the main drag, no one can get into or out of campus. The effect is the same when a bandwidth hog is flooding the lines to the Internet. Messages (requests for web pages, file transfers, etc.) can't get into Denison. Everyone suffers as the Internet link slows to a crawl. Because of the way the new file sharing programs work, it is possible for even fewer users to completely saturate our internet links. Our current traffic shaping policies prevent the saturation of our entire internet connection and enable us to more equitably share internet Bandwidth.