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052: Why are peer-to-peer file transfers so slow?


ITS has elected not to prohibit the use of peer-to-peer programs for legal file sharing, but Mines does use a device called a “packet shaper” to restrict the bandwidth available to these programs. Since most file-sharing programs are designed to make maximum use of available bandwidth, a single peer-to-peer download could consume the total network bandwidth available to the entire campus. The packet shaper will slow down peer-to-peer file transfers in order to make bandwidth available to other campus network users. Without packet shaping, ITS would be forced to prohibit use of these programs completely or increase the amount of bandwidth we purchase. We believe that the packet shaper nicely balances our users’ desire to use file-sharing programs against our duty to control costs.


Copyrighted material of any type must be obtained legally. The terms and conditions of licensing agreements and copyrights must be strictly observed. Sharing copyrighted files, including music, movies, and software without permission of the copyright holder is illegal and a violation of Mines policy. Don’t do it! Violators are subject to network service suspension or termination. Copyright holders monitor peer to peer networks for violations and are increasingly prosecuting students.