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Excessive Usage

If a person’s computer is using network bandwidth to the extent that other people’s use of network resources is detrimentally affected, IT Services will take action to restrict that person’s computer usage and restore service to other network users, as follows:

On the person’s first incident of excessive usage, network access will be temporarily suspended.

Depending on the severity and the cause of the excessive usage, the person may be invited to discuss the incident with the IT Services director before access is restored. The discussion will enable IT Services to explain why P2P traffic degrades our network performance, how botnets or other malware can affect the performance of the person’s computer, and what steps people can take to minimize the likelihood of a recurrence. If the incident is due to a virus or other malware, we will clean the computer to the best of our abilities at no cost to the student or employee. Severe infections may require professional assistance before the computer can be allowed back onto our network.

On the second incident of excessive usage, the person’s computer will be placed in a network access control list. Only specific types of network traffic (including but not limited to web, email, instant messaging, and gaming) will be allowed to and from the device. This is intended to curb the excessive traffic in P2P activities and/or to shut down malicious software activities. Since it is possible that legitimate activities could be curbed by the network access control list, people using computers on the list are invited to contact IT Services if they experience problems with legitimate network activity.

Subsequent incidents could result in the suspension of network access for the remainder of the academic term, or other disciplinary action as described in the Acceptable Usage Agreement.

Most computers found to use network resources excessively (to the point of affecting other users’ ability to work) fall into one of several possible categories:

The computer user is actively engaging in unmanaged P2P activities, either knowingly or unknowingly.

The computer is infected with malware (viruses, spyware, Trojans, botnets, or other malicious software).

Most legitimate academic uses of network resources will not hinder other users’ ability to work effectively. This includes electronic transfers of large data files via FTP or HTTP, such as a software download or a research data set. Should you encounter problems with these or other examples, please contact IT Services so that we may adjust our network traffic shaping rules accordingly.