FROSTBURG, Md., Sept. 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- "Fall is our busiest season, with students spiking demand for Internet upon arrival for the new school year," said Brian Jenkins, Networking and Telecommunications Director at Frostburg State University (FSU). "They are well-equipped and heavy consumers of bandwidth, arriving with tablets, phones, PCs and gaming devices. Despite annual upgrades to Internet capacity, we typically field multiple complaints a day as the network struggles to accommodate peak loads of data traffic."
For his part, Jenkins was looking to mitigate peak congestion periods while maintaining a high quality of service (QoS) and experience (QoE) for students. Since adding Wi-Fi to the residence hall network (RESNET) in 2015, he has seen the number of devices and volume of data expand exponentially.
FSU operates a 10Gbps campus backbone, with 1Gbps carved out for the RESNET. With an enrollment of over 5,000 students, FSU provides RESNET access to about 2,400 students living across 12 residence halls. During peak periods, mostly in the evening, the RESNET will handle thousands of devices all competing for finite bandwidth.
Prior to this fall, the RESNET configuration included rate caps per user of 5Mbps, and de-prioritized video applications. While these controls attempted to reign in excessive data traffic, the results were packet loss, retransmissions and congestion across the entire population of users. All the students on the busy RESNET experienced degraded Internet performance, and complaints were on the rise.
Perhaps because FSU has a relatively small Networking Department, Jenkins sought out an effective solution with minimal configuration and maintenance. He came upon an innovative traffic shaping technology that was being deployed in similar RESNET environments with very positive results. The company is called CirrusWorks, and their flagship product is The Governor™.
"We found CirrusWorks when researching other colleges and their RESNET configurations; specifically, The Governor was deployed to address data congestion during peak usage periods," said Jenkins. "We needed a solution that did not require heavy set up or maintenance, and could adapt to changing user demands on the fly."
CirrusWorks has developed a unique bandwidth optimization platform that dynamically assesses and allocates bandwidth among multiple competing users on a network in real time, without static rule sets, complicated prioritization schemes or intrusive Deep Packet Inspection (DPI).
"We have worked with traditional packet shapers, but the maintenance for rules and policies was becoming a headache, and the devices were less and less effective on encrypted traffic," said Jenkins. "The Governor, which installed in minutes, is making real-time decisions to dynamically prioritize data streams in the most mathematically efficient means possible, without human intervention. We loosened the restrictions on video, removed the rate caps, and complaints virtually stopped. It was the best fall start to date for FSU's Networking Department."
Frostburg State University (often referred to as FSU), a member institution University System of Maryland, is a public, comprehensive, largely residential regional university offering a wide array of quality programs at the undergraduate, master's and doctoral levels. The only public four-year institution west of the Baltimore-Washington corridor, the University serves as the premier educational and cultural center for western Maryland. At the same time, it draws its student population from all counties in Maryland, as well as from numerous other states and countries, thereby creating a campus experience that prepares students to live and work in a culturally diverse world. For more information, please visit www.frostburg.edu.
CirrusWorks is the leader in bandwidth optimization technologies. Their flagship product, The Governor™, provides a simple, efficient and cost-effective tool for maximizing the capacity of Internet circuits, getting more out of network infrastructure and improving web-based performance for users on busy networks. For more information, please visit www.cirrusworks.net.
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