Campus Bandwidth Fix
September 10, 2008 4:28 PM   Subscribe

My roommate and I both are pretty upset at the speed of the wired network on our college campus. We get faster wireless reception from the campus's library next door. Is there a way we could bond the two connections?

My roommate and I have realized that the wireless network on campus is faster and has much less latency than the wired network. With an antenna or repeater on the windowsill (both of which we have lying around, but not on campus), we're pretty sure we could log on from our room, as there are a few access points at the library and cafeteria next door. Would it be possible, out of curiosity, to bond the two connections into one with more bandwidth?

Or, could we at least tell the OSes (I use OSX Leopard, he uses Windows Vista) to have some tasks go over wireless and others go over wired? The campus has a pretty good DC++ network, but it is not on the wireless network.

If it's relevant, the wireless network requires a log in through a HTTP page. Is that going to make this harder?

Also, would it upset the campus IT department if we used a wireless repeater? I have been using wireless transmission from my Mac to bridge the ethernet connection to my Wii, and haven't had much trouble with that, but it's not broadcast very far and I only have it up for an hour or so at a time.

Thanks for your help.
posted by mccarty.tim to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Some help.
posted by Science! at 4:45 PM on September 10, 2008

Yes, a repeater will probably upset them. They probably have equipment to detect the items, and if it is like where I went to school, if they find it, they keep it and put it on eBay.
posted by deezil at 5:53 PM on September 10, 2008

Best answer: Having worked as a Network tech at a university, I can tell you that any half-way competent University IT Dept. will have installed equipment to detect the kind of aggregation / banding you're asking about. And it's almost certainly in violation of the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) you signed (perhaps unknowingly) when you arrived on campus. You should probably re-read or familiarize yourself with your school's network AUP and learn what consequences exist before mucking around with the school's resources (the two networks).

Just a heads up, really. Had some of my students actually *listened* to our warnings about my employer's (their school's) intolerance of P2P filesharing at the beginning of that one year, they might not have been had to deal with the nastygrams from the RIAA and MPAA. One student was actually asked to leave.
posted by at 7:44 PM on September 10, 2008

The campus has a pretty good DC++ network, but it is not on the wireless network.

Which is why the wireless is fast, and the wired is slow.

Yes, you could probably get something to work (but, jeez, don't try to bond the two networks--that'll just screw things up for everyone) but like says, this is almost certainly against the terms of use, and even if you don't get asked to leave, you'll likely have your network privileges revoked. Ask yourself how much school work you could get done without a network connection, and weigh that against the annoyance of a slow residence hall network.
posted by hades at 8:47 PM on September 10, 2008

At my old school, some people solved the saturation of their dorm network by using tcpkill/tcpnice on traffic they deemed frivolous. No more unethical than stealing bandwidth from the library, really, but more direct social consequences if you get caught, I suppose.
posted by Estragon at 4:40 AM on September 11, 2008

Do you think that your network activity is more important than everybody else's? Or do you think that you understand the goals of your university IT department better than they do? As far as I can tell, it's got to be one or the other.
posted by box at 5:15 AM on September 11, 2008

Response by poster: The library is run by the school. It's next door, and when the network is too slow in my room, I walk next door to use it for either work or recreational browsing. I sometimes play games (ie TF2) in the library cafe, too. I wouldn't be planning on using any real bandwidth hog at the library, as I don't really use P2P software that often even at home, and I know it'd be easy to identify me on the campus network. I've never gotten a complaint from the staff or the techs at the library about the kind of browsing I do. One tech actually saw TF2 running and told me what a cool game it was.

I should clarify that I didn't want to do DC++ over the WiFi, even if it were possible. It's fast enough over ethernet. Also, seeing these comments about bonding the two networks possibly taking both down, I will no longer consider that.

Is it really bandwidth stealing if it saves me a trip from the room just to do the same surfing I would do there? I'm not trying to argue, I just don't get it. If the repeater is an issue, I'll use my roommate's router (I'm pretty sure it's a model I can load DD-WRT on) as a wifi reciever on the window, and use some tin foil antennas if it isn't strong enough. Both computers in the room can see the wireless from the library, they just don't get good enough signals to connect from our desks.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:42 AM on September 11, 2008

Have you checked out this product? It might work for you:
posted by theminque at 9:28 AM on September 12, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, Theminque. We both have integrated laptop WiFi cards, though, and I suspect that the router he's bringing over won't have a proper antenna port. I was thinking I'd try the antennas here , and using the router as a wireless reciever we can keep on the windowsill. Now that I've heard a repeater could possibly cause trouble, we'll likely just use Ethernet to hook up to it.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:22 PM on September 12, 2008

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