Stop online radio

Jassen M. West

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 22, 2000
Messages
526
Two or three people at work listen to online radio and its killing our bandwidth. I can tell when they get to work because incoming email slows to a crawl. How would I go about blocking just the internet radio?

thanks
 

Paul Padilla

Supporting Actor
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Jan 15, 2002
Messages
767
Unless there is a dedicated firewall for your network to control outbound access based on URL it's going to be problematic to stop it. It sounds like nixing Internet access alltogether isn't an option.

Is it not feasable for management to simply implement a policy against it? I know...weasels will always find a weasely way to hide it.

If you're not prepared to implement a dedicated firewall server such as Msoft's ISA, then look at some of the SOHO firewall appliances. Many of them allow this kind of filtering and some offer a 3rd party reporting and content filtering...just to keep the naughty bits from offending someone.

SonicWall has several to choose from. I'm the network admin for my company and I looked into them at one time. We opted for a full dedicated server.

http://www.sonicwall.com/products/vpnapp.html

Symantec has them too along with Cisco and several others.
 

Kimmo Jaskari

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Feb 27, 2000
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There definitely should be a real firewall between the office and the rest of the world, one that can filter out access outside on specific ports. That could easily be a PC with two network cards and m0n0wall for instance; cheap and entirely enterprise-grade in functionality.

Of course, you must have a very thin Internet connection if online radio fills it up. Online radio usually uses up about 128kbits/sec per listener, which is a pittance compared to say the capacity of a normal residential broadband connection at several megabits per second. That shouldn't tax a corporate connection. I'd suspect something else was going on, like P2P filesharing or something like that, but of course it may well be that you do have a modest Internet connection speed.
 

Jassen M. West

Supporting Actor
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Jun 22, 2000
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526
We are a small company (only 7 online) and while we do have a fiber optic connection our speed has been downgraded over the past few years. We started with about a 6MB/sec connection and now we are lucky to get 400kbps. We were one of the first in the area to get the fiber optic and it seems as its gotten more popular the provider hasn't taken the necessary steps to maintain that speed. I've tried contacting them to complain but they just tell me "its been this speed all along". I know for a fact it hasn't, I performed a speed test when we first got the fiber because it was such a new technology I wanted to measure it.

Back to the original subject-

We do have a Cisco PIX firewall, I'll look into closing the ports on that.

Thanks
 

Patrick_S

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Apr 1, 2000
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You only have seven people online, just gather them up, explain the situation and move along.
 

Jassen M. West

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Jun 22, 2000
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526


Easier said than done, the knee jerk reaction from higher up would have us all without internet and email at all. I think a quiet, off the radar blocking of ports will get things taken care of.

thanks
 

Paul Padilla

Supporting Actor
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Jan 15, 2002
Messages
767
400k on a fibre connection??!! That's abysmal. If you're paying for business class service check your contract. you should be guaranteed a certain speed up and down. If the contract says 400k then you were just lucky in the beginning, but I can't imagine they would allocate such small bandwidth.

I understand now wanting to get management uptight about the web. Simply closing ports is a start, but it could be a lot of trial and error.

Here's a list of well known ports.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...rts_(computing)
 

Kimmo Jaskari

Screenwriter
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Feb 27, 2000
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I don't think your problem is web radio still. Problem one is the fact that your connection seems to stink.
If you mean 400 kilobits speed on the internetline, that translates to 40 kilobytes per second. That's pretty grim. That's approaching modem speed.

I'm going to assume you mean 400 kilobytes per second, which translates to 4 mbits.

There is no way, no how that a couple of guys listening to internet radio will fill that up. They will be using at most 12 kilobytes (possibly 19 kilobytes if it's extremely high quality Shoutcast, for instance) each. That would leave you with 350+ kilobytes per second for all the rest if two guys listen.

If, however, you do have 400 kilobits, and they use 128 kilobits each, then you do have a problem. That problem is not the web radio listeners, it is your so-called Internet provider, so fix that first in that case and then the web radio problem ceases to be a problem and the people listening to it can keep doing that if it improves their mood and work experience (and thus efficiency.)
 

Kimmo Jaskari

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Ok, now that truly is scary. You are being so ripped off by your provider it's darn near criminal.

You're clearly not getting a decent service, so if they won't do anything about it then it may be time to find a provider who will?
 

Paul Padilla

Supporting Actor
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Jan 15, 2002
Messages
767
It's an incredible waste to put a 4 or 500K cap on a fibre connection, but check your terms of service before you pitch a fit. That might be what you were paying for all along.

Now how much, precisely, you are paying comparative to what would be a slow DSL connection is another matter. If it's anything more than, say, (generously) $30 a month, then something is wrong.
 

Kimmo Jaskari

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Feb 27, 2000
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In todays world, no company should have to live with speeds like that. Heck, I have 20mbits down and 1.3 mbits up at home, to say nothing of what we have at work.
 

Paul_Sjordal

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Joined
May 29, 2003
Messages
831
Actually, you may not have to get as drastic as port-blocking. After all, they could just switch to another radio station, and then you're stuck playing an endless game of cat-and-mouse.

There are server-side software utilities out there that let you set an upper limit on everyone's bandwidth. Sorry, but I don't recall what they're called, but it's worth spending a little time on google checking it out.

Of course, you can always ask them to use a lower-bandwidth stream (many stations have a 56-k stream available separately).
 

Kimmo Jaskari

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Feb 27, 2000
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Honestly, I don't think the problem is the users at all. The web radio causing problems thing is a symptom, not a cause, the cause is the abysmal performance of their Internet connection. Fix that, and the first symptom (web radio) goes away.

But yes, traffic shaping is a great tool to prioritize traffic. I use it myself, at home even. It's built-in to m0n0wall. No matter how busy my Internet connection gets I always get good performance for the more important things, like dns lookups and interactive services like remote control of machines, because the traffic shaping reserves performance and prioritizes that traffic.
 

Eric_L

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Nov 2, 2002
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Real Name
Eric
I have a much simpler solution than anything suggested so far: Remove the speakers. That should effectively eliminate streaming audio and video without hurting email. IT would work quite well so long as there are no apps where you will require audio. Make sure to remove any in-case speakers also. If you need to take it a step further disable the sound on the mobos.
 

Kimmo Jaskari

Screenwriter
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Feb 27, 2000
Messages
1,528
Then make sure you implement uniforms for the workers (or as you like to call them, flunkies), find some group of people you can foment hatred against, forbid laughter in the workplace and make sure your employees are scared most of the time. You could also consider weekly beatings, which should continue until such a time as morale improves.

No wait, the Bush administration already patented that scare tactic thing. My bad.

Seriously; fix the underlying problem with the bandwidth instead of torpedoing morale by taking asinine enforcement steps that aren't needed and are guaranteed to lead to feelings of resentment.
 

MarkHastings

Senior HTF Member
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Jan 27, 2003
Messages
12,013
I agree with Kimmo. It sounds like you have a much bigger problem to solve than internet radio. Banning them to solve your poor internet problem won't solve your internet issue and not only that, but you'll also have angry co-workers, which leaves you with 2 major problems instead of 1.

IT people should know how to solve problems, not double them.


Seriously, while you figure out the internet issue, why not explain that you need them to stop listening until you straighten out the internet issue. I'm sure people will be more than willing to co-operate if they know it's only a temporary halt and not a permanent one.
 

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