Tech Tuesday: The St. Thomas Internet connection continues to grow

Tech Tuesday: The St. Thomas Internet connection continues to grow

What’s happening?

During the first semester of 2006-07 there was a significant increase in the amount of Internet traffic at St. Thomas. It became apparent that we had reached our capacity and needed to expand. This isn't the first time we have upgraded our Internet capacity over the years; the university has actively added Internet capacity as our demands have increased. Historical note: In the fall of 1996 our connection to the Internet was a single T1 circuit or 1.5 megabits per second (mbps).

What steps have been taken?

As we started the 2006-07 academic year, our commercial Internet connection was comprised of one DS3 circuit or 45 mbps. The rapidly increasing demand helped identify the need to add a second DS3 circuit. This circuit was added in January, bringing our total commercial Internet capacity to 90 mbps (this is in addition to a separate DS3 connection to Internet2 via the University of Minnesota).

The new circuit has addressed the issues experienced during the fall semester by adding additional capacity; however, IRT is looking continually for ways to keep up with the ever-growing demand, fully realizing that the two DS3 circuits for commercial Internet are a temporary fix for our Internet needs.

Internet traffic numbers – interesting stats!

Currently, the traffic coming in from the Internet accounts for an average of 500 gigabytes (half a terabyte) of data every day. Approximately two thirds of that traffic is going to the residence halls. Before we added our second DS3 connection, we were seeing around 200 gigabytes of data coming in every day. That is an increase of 300 gigabytes a day since we added the second connection!

More than half of the data coming in is Web traffic. In addition, more than 20 percent of the traffic is streaming media from sources like iTunes or Google video. Less than 10 percent of our traffic is for administration and university operations.

What are our plans going forward?

During the summer, we will identify new Internet resources – likely in excess of 100 mbps, which will allow increased flexibility for future expansion.

As demand for high bandwidth Internet content continues to increase, IRT staff will continue to adjust the university's connection to the Internet and work to keep that connection running trouble free in the future.

If you have questions about our Internet connection or technology at UST, contact the IRT Tech Desk, (651) 962-6230.