April 30, 2004

And Technology Marches On [8:50 am]

File-swapping gets supercharged on student network

A new file-trading network has sprung up on Internet2, the university network that offers researchers and students a way to communicate at blazing speeds while avoiding the ordinary Internet’s data traffic jams.

Dubbed i2hub, the network has drawn thousands of students from universities around the country to trade files and chat at speeds that far exceed what even ordinarily swift campus networks can provide. It has drawn rave reviews on student Web sites and from users but has already sparked concern among other Internet2 denizens.

The students involved say they’re simply looking to use unused Internet2 bandwidth, which can be less expensive for their colleges than ordinary commercial Net connections. But some also see it as a way around limitations that many universities have begun to impose on widely used file-swapping applications such as Kazaa.

[...] Universities, most of which have strict policies against using their networks for copyright infringement, have begun installing software that blocks or limits the amount of bandwidth used by file-swapping applications. Some have begun investigating tools that actually look inside individual file trades, identify copyrighted music and block the transfers.

[...] Officials at the central Internet2 project said they had no theoretical objection to the students’ action, at least from the strictly technological side. The network was developed to spur innovation wherever it arises, much as users of the original academic networks developed e-mail and chat features, a representative for the project said.

[...] “Internet2 is for research. It’s not for downloading music,” said Marc Ray, a senior computer support specialist at Florida State University. He’s still evaluating the program, he said. “The fact is, (the network) cost a lot of money, and downloading games and music should be the last priority on any campus network. I think it’s borderline taking advantage of the system.”

Update Slashdot - Internet2 Plus P2P Equals…

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