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ONU I.T. Department making improvements

A graph showing the internet performance from Jan. 22 showing the bandwidth being maxed out and then being expanded. (photo/ONU I.T. Department)

In this day and age, having a computer and a working internet connection is critical. This issue became especially prevalent on January 22, 2020, when the campus Wi-Fi became agonizingly slow. What was originally thought to be a serious connection issue was later discovered to be caused by an update for first-person shooter Call of Duty. OARNet, Ohio Northern’s internet provider, was able to temporarily expand internet bandwidth from 1 gigabit to 5 gigabits to accommodate the downloads. 

“Wireless has been a big issue lately. Actually, it’s not a wireless issue, especially with this latest incident [on January 22], it was the entire network, so it was wired and wireless. It affected everyone. What it came down to was a bandwidth issue with the internet,” said Jeff Rieman, the director of ONU’s I.T. Department.

Ohio Northern’s internet network is broken into 3 parts, with each part receiving a set bandwidth. Two of those 3 are called allnet and commodity. The allnet portion of the internet is usually allocated for internet caching through a service called Akami. Akami is set to allnet due to it having lower internet traffic, allowing quicker and easier downloads for video games and video game updates. However, the deal between OARnet and Akami fell through, resulting in the internet caching being moved from allnet to the commodity net. The commodity net does not have as much available bandwidth, resulting in the slower internet speeds that were encountered.

“We started looking [into the internet issue] and looked into the bandwidth graph and it was just a flat line across the top. Something was obviously hitting us very hard right now; it was either a denial-of-service attack or something very popular is getting downloaded right now. We contacted OARnet, they checked it out, Call of Duty Ver. 1.13 was released. We worked with them at about 8:30, 9 o’clock that night, got them to up the bandwidth from 1 gigabit to 5 gigabits,” Rieman said.

I.T. has plans down the road to work with OARnet to increase the internet bandwidth campus-wide to ensure better internet performance.

I.T. has also been working to upgrade several computer labs on campus to thin clients; small computers that have no hard drives connected to a main server via a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).  This allows I.T. to easily update all the machines at once, rather than needing to login to each individual machine to perform upgrades and maintenance. The campus started with one VDI server, which resulted in slower performance as the server was not able to keep up with all the thin clients on campus. However, a second VDI server was set up over winter break to better accommodate the thin clients on campus.

The thin clients use VMWare, which allows computers to connect to a central “hub.” In this case, servers that provide a Windows desktop environment with various programs. VM is short for Virtual Machine. If you have the VMWare Horizon Client downloaded to your personal computer, you are able to login to the ONU Virtual Machine anywhere in the world by logging in with your ONU login information with the following address: https://vdi.onu.edu

I.T. will be analyzing the campus networks and will be making improvements accordingly in the near future.

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