Students say upped bandwidth goes unnoticed

Despite a 30 percent increase in Linfield’s bandwidth, many students said they notice no difference in their Internet speed.
Data supplied from Irv Wiswall, director of Information Technology Services at Linfield College, shows that the spikes in Internet usage no longer overload the network’s bandwidth.
“We’ve added additionallanes to the highway,” Wiswall said, explaining how increasing the bandwidth affected students.
Even so, students claim the changes are not outwardly apparent.
“I read the e-mail, and said ‘cool,’” freshman Aaron Hanson said. “But I haven’t really noticed any difference.”
Students have not yet reached full capacity of the newly expanded bandwidth, although Wiswall said it is inevitable that they will.
He said he was originally going to wait until 2011 to expand Linfield’s bandwidth because the contract with Online Northwest, Linfield’s Internet service provider, will expire.
The wording of the contract makes it uncertain how far into the next year the contract will last, Wiswall said.
He said Online Northwest offered a new pricing scheme to expand the bandwidth available to Linfield, but it would have locked him into another year of the contract.
“There was a pretty good chance that we’d get a better deal [from someone else], and I didn’t want to lock us out of an opportunity,” Wiswall said.
He said the proposed scheme, in which he would pay for 120 megabits of bandwidth each month and an average of 95 percent of any bandwidth use exceeding 120 Mbit, was too complicated, so he rejected it.
He also said he did not want to extend the contract while he was still looking at alternative deals.
He said he is looking at large companies like Cogeco and Comcast for Internet alternatives as well as the Oregon Independent Colleges Association.
Through the OICA, Linfield purchases long-distance telephone service from a company called
Integron, which could provide Linfield with Internet services in the future.
Wiswall chose to expand bandwidth capacity under the current pricing scheme, in which Linfield pays $48 per Mbit per month.
Wiswall said that the network backbone — the physical components such as the fiber optic cables and servers — will not be strained by the increase in traffic.
Linfield’s internal bandwidth can handle a gigabit of data at a time or a thousand times the bandwidth of Linfield’s connection to the rest of the Internet, Wiswall said.

Joshua Ensler/News editor
Joshua Ensler can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.

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