Category: broadband


  • My Battles with the Bandwidth Beast

    My Battles with the Bandwidth Beast

    In 2017 we talk about campus bandwidth needs using terms such as IoT (internet of Things)  and BYOD.  When we began our efforts to expand campus bandwidth those terms weren’t widely used. Since that time Casper College has spent approximately $1.7 million on overall network upgrades the past 5 years).  Some of the activities we have focused on have included: 1) Reassignment of financial resources to improve bandwidth not only in the residence Hall but throughout campus, 2) Implementing a student technology fee to provide a stable revenue source for maintaining modern network technology services,  3) Reorganizing our support structure and adding network staffing to help us support the endless demand for bandwidth.  
    I love the title of a Spring 2017 Converge article titled “Feeding the Bandwidth Beast”.  I relate to this and have named this post appropriately after this article as it has been one of the greatest professional challenges while serving at Casper College.  I have written before about the expansion of bandwidth at Casper College and the steps taken from 2011-2015 put us in a very good place, but we can’t rest on our laurels.  Unlike when you’re building something physical like a house,  there is no endgame for what we are doing.   Current reports claim the approximate required 2016 bandwidth for residence halls for 200 students is roughly 880bps.    If you use the assumption we are at  70-80% capacity in our on-campus housing our current need is really about 1.5 Gbps.   We are catching up, but are still behind.  
    Our March 2, 2017, upgrade is a significant milestone date for DoIT initiatives as we have been able to expand our available bandwidth servicing the residence halls from 200MB to 1000MB. However, if the above-referenced report is accurate we are only catching to required bandwidth needs.  
    The first two (2) charts below chronicle the expansion.   The second two charts document bandwidth utilization before the conversion and after the conversion.  The final chart provides a then  (2010-2011) and now (2016-2017).
    Overall bandwidth at Casper College-2017-04-03-11.21.57
    Casper College overall bandwidth-2017-04-03-11.22.05
    Casper College Bandwidth 2011 to 2017 2017-04-03-11.22.22
    Bandwidth Utilization chart
    The graph above shows us the 200Mbps MOE that we were using to service both the Public guest networks and Residence Hall networks.
    If you look at March 2nd we see the spike when bandwidth starts to rise like it usually does. The rest of the graph has almost flat-linked after the switch to separate the Public networks and RH networks.
    Bandwidth utilization charts after bandwidth upgrades Screenshot-2017-04-03-11.22.41
    Here is the utilization of the 1Gbps link since the changeover separating the two networks. As we see here, the students are only utilizing 23% peak usage of the current 1Gbps circuit. When we make changes like this, we currently see that the new service ramps up slowly in utilization. We expect to see more utilization in the next few weeks. If there is anything new we will keep you posted. 


  • Getting to the Cloud Under the Tail of a T-Rex

     


    Until recently I lived in a location serviced only by satellite based internet service which from my experience generally provides far less bandwidth than the advertised download speed and this was.    
    When I have brought up this variation in services and cost between rural and urban areas over the years the response usually ranges from deep sympathy to “your crazy for living where you live”   
    There are more than just  a couple of answers to that of course.  Let’s not focus on the people who live here for the wide open spaces, clean air, and lack of traffic.   For today I will only address a few telecom issues on which cloud deployment depends:   

      1. Telecom services are vital to the efficient production and transport of natural resources.  

     

      1. Access to some of our most precious rural cultural and historical resources (such as the T Rex shown above)  is hampered when we can’t get adequate communications services to those locations.  

     

    1. The widening gap in access to telecommunications services between rural and urban areas also contributes to the increasing economic disparities we see between the rich and the poor in our country.  

    This reminder of our rural cloud challenges came during a meeting I attended in Rock Springs Wyoming the in late January.  More specifically I was at Western Wyoming Community College which is home to five life-sized dinosaur displays(thus the name of this post), They are the largest easily accessible collection of dinosaurs along I-80 from Chicago to San Francisco. In-order to bring Wyoming dinosaurs back to Wyoming, a fund raising project began in 1989 to collect and display specimens native to Wyoming.  I must say they have done a bang up job.  It is really cool to look at and it is free if you are passing through.  
    Back to the economic need for good bandwidth for cloud services in areas such as Rock Springs.  Rock Springs, Sweetwater County Wyoming  is also home to some serious oil and natural gas production as is the rest of Wyoming.  They were also once known as a major coal mining area.  Today, one of its claim to fames is it is also home to the largest known deposit of  Trona in the world.
     

     Dragline back view  Dragline side view

     
    Dragline size
    Pictures of a dragline used to extract Trona
    Trona (trisodium hydrogendicarbonate dihydrate); Na3(CO3)(HCO3)•2H2O is an evaporite mineral and It is mined as the primary source of sodium carbonate in the United States,
    Sweetwater County, Wyoming provides up to 90% of the US output of trona and is a major contributor to the total world production of trona, which is mined and then processed into soda ash. Soda ash is a significant economic commodity and is the reason I listed above because of its applications in manufacturing glass, chemicals, paper, detergents , textiles, paper, food and conditioning water. It is an ingredient in both sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and sodium phosphate (detergents). Soda ash has been used since ancient times. The Egyptians made glass containers from it, and the early Romans used it as an ingredient in medicines and bread.

    Providing the best-trained workers for industries such as this often falls on the shoulders of local community colleges and universities and for all of the talk of the demise of higher education through MOOC’s, online programming etc.  I can’t really put the training and educational services many of the community colleges such as Western Wyoming Community College in the same category as the prestigious universities who are pushing out MOOCs . Many of the hands-on/ vocational health care programs such as nursing, welding, plumbing, extraction services etc.  simply do not translate well to a MOOC or online format.  The cloud is / will continue to have a continuing influence in provisioning of supporting content and services even for predominantly hands on focuses training program.

    Until recently I lived in a location serviced only by satellite based internet service which from my experience generally provides far less bandwidth than the advertised download speed and this was.    

    When I have brought up this variation in services and cost between rural and urban areas over the years the response usually ranges from deep sympathy to “your crazy for living where you live”   

    There are more than just  a couple of answers to that of course.  Let’s not focus on the people who live here for the wide open spaces, clean air, and lack of traffic.   For today I will only address a few telecom issues on which cloud deployment depends:   

    1. Telecom services are vital to the efficient production and transport of natural resources.  
    2. Access to some of our most precious rural cultural and historical resources (such as the T Rex shown above)  is hampered when we can’t get adequate communications services to those locations.  
    3. The widening gap in access to telecommunications services between rural and urban areas also contributes to the increasing economic disparities we see between the rich and the poor in our country.  

    This reminder of our rural cloud challenges came during a meeting I attended in Rock Springs Wyoming the in late January.  More specifically I was at Western Wyoming Community College which is home to five life-sized dinosaur displays(thus the name of this post), They are the largest easily accessible collection of dinosaurs along I-80 from Chicago to San Francisco. In-order to bring Wyoming dinosaurs back to Wyoming, a fund raising project began in 1989 to collect and display specimens native to Wyoming.  I must say they have done a bang up job.  It is really cool to look at and it is free if you are passing through.  

    Back to the economic need for good bandwidth for cloud services in areas such as Rock Springs.  Rock Springs, Sweetwater County Wyoming  is also home to some serious oil and natural gas production as is the rest of Wyoming.  They were also once known as a major coal mining area.  Today, one of its claim to fames is it is also home to the largest known deposit of  Trona in the world.

      

    Pictures of a dragline used to extract Trona

    Trona (trisodium hydrogendicarbonate dihydrate); Na3(CO3)(HCO3)•2H2O is an evaporite mineral and It is mined as the primary source of sodium carbonate in the United States,

    Sweetwater County, Wyoming provides up to 90% of the US output of trona and is a major contributor to the total world production of trona, which is mined and then processed into soda ash. Soda ash is a significant economic commodity and is the reason I listed above because of its applications in manufacturing glass, chemicals, paper, detergents , textiles, paper, food and conditioning water. It is an ingredient in both sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and sodium phosphate (detergents). Soda ash has been used since ancient times. The Egyptians made glass containers from it, and the early Romans used it as an ingredient in medicines and bread.

    Providing the best-trained workers for industries such as this often falls on the shoulders of local community colleges and universities and for all of the talk of the demise of higher education through MOOC’s, online programming etc.  I can’t really put the training and educational services many of the community colleges such as Western Wyoming Community College in the same category as the prestigious universities who are pushing out MOOCs . Many of the hands-on/ vocational health care programs such as nursing, welding, plumbing, extraction services etc.  simply do not translate well to a MOOC or online format.  The cloud is / will continue to have a continuing influence in provisioning of supporting content and services even for predominantly hands on focuses training program.