Computer-savvy students are setting up closed-system P2P networks within their internal campus networks. Dartmouth is an example:
- Billed by some as “Napster 2,” a program called Direct Connect is facilitating a boom in peer-to-peer file sharing on campus.
Direct Connect is a file-sharing program that operates very similarly to Napster. Users share certain files on their own computers; they have the ability to search for files on others’ computers and download them.
Unlike Napster, however, Dartmouth students are using Direct Connect’s file-sharing capabilities on a Dartmouth-only peer-to-peer network, which was set up by Joseph Morales ’03.
Morales runs the entire network from his computer, which acts as a hub to facilitate sharing between other people’s computers.
“I got the idea from my friends at Rutgers who set a similar system up and found it very successful,” Morales said. “It took me five minutes to set it up here on my computer and get it working.”
The email making its way around campus that informs students of the new peer-to-peer program is titled “Napster 2” and explains in detail how to download Direct Connect. Morales claims that he originally sent the letter to “like four friends in my house,” and it spread from there.
Here is the real key:
- Bill Brawley, Director of Network Services, said he has seen no change in the traffic over the network. He noted that he is primarily concerned with traffic over the external bandwidth, which the College pays for. Direct Connect operates over the much-larger internal bandwidth allotted to the campus network.
“We monitor incoming and outgoing data strings at the border, and peer-to-peer traffic is marked as recreational and given a low priority,” Brawley said. “I haven’t seen any increased traffic over the last week passing the border monitor, and I have not noticed any significant activity changes on internal networks, either.”
Morales contended that for this reason Direct Connect is better than similar programs like Kazaa or Gnutella it runs on abundant and faster internal bandwidth instead of using up expensive external bandwidth.
….In an attempt to prevent these copyright violations from occurring on campus networks, firewalls — which slow down the transmission of certain data — have been set up on external bandwidths. But these firewalls do not slow down Direct Connect, allowing students to pursue their downloading interests at blazingly fast rates, according to Morales. [The Dartmouth online]
This system removes the university’s incentive to crack down on P2P as it doesn’t bog down the network, or hog expensive external bandwidth.