Traffic Shaping Policy
Here at Denison, “Traffic Shaping” is viewed as the action of prioritizing and regulating Internet-bound traffic in real-time. The primary goal being to prioritize Internet traffic that is related to the academic mission of the University. A secondary goal is to enable equitable sharing of resources not actively being used for academic purposes. To accomplish these goals, Denison uses a device to prioritize or shape network traffic.
No organization has infinite internet bandwidth and Denison is no exception. When our available bandwidth is spread across nearly 3,000 people, it is easy to see how members of the community would begin to compete for this resource. Downloading large movie or music files, and viewing streaming content or gaming can quickly consume large amounts of bandwidth. The traffic shaping devices does not block activity but rather ensures there is parity for all Internet users across the community.
Making this effort even more difficult, a number of popular “peer-to-peer” file sharing applications intentionally try to monopolize all available bandwidth. If our Internet traffic was not shaped to ensure equitable use, a very small number of systems could easily use an excessive amount of our Internet connection, making it virtually unusable to others.
IT Services separates traffic into two main categories: residence halls and academic/administrative areas. There are some subcategories in those two groups for special software, video conferencing, and so on. These two main categories are allotted a total amount of bandwidth that can be used by all individuals within that group. Within each of these groups, a connection fairness algorithm governs the amount of bandwidth available to all active connections. In this way, the bandwidth available to each unique connection rises and falls in accordance with the total number of individuals using the Internet.
No, the traffic shaping device does not “view” the payload or content of individual packets sent or received by any system on the network. The device examines individual packet header information to determine the type of traffic it is passing, i.e. (web, e-mail, ftp, etc). The actual content of each packet remains private during this process.