What does a proxy server do?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by NickSo, Sep 15, 2003.

  1. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    I remember people talking about tweaking their internet connection with proxy servers and such, and now that I'm in university, im using their internet service, so i decided to do a little tweaking of my own. Did some search on googles, and got a HTTP Proxy connection working.

    This was the result

    [​IMG] 3.61MB/sec?!

    Is it normal to have to enter a user/password everytime i go surf?
    Also, will i get in trouble (breaking agreements or whatnot) by doing this?

    Thanks
     
  2. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    You're probably circumventing your bandwidth cap, so yes, you're probably violating your tos.
     
  3. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    A proxy server can perform two primary functions:

    (A) web caching and
    (B) filtering

    Web caching means that rather than have your system go out to the Internet for pages that you access frequently the proxy server will cache those web sites for you. That way you access your proxy server instead of going to the Internet every time.

    A proxy server can also perform filtering, such as deny or allow access to Internet sites that you choose.

    Without knowing exactly what proxy service you loaded and how it's configured and without information on how your university's Internet connectivity is set up, I can't say for certain what is going on, if indeed the speeds that you're getting are higher than what you're accustomed to.

    I will say, however, that the concept of you uncapping your Internet connection by installing a proxy server is completely bogus. If you have a straight Internet connection you are completely governed by the bandwidth limitations of your university's network. Installing a proxy server will not miraculously make you go faster than the university's network will allow.

    Additionally, if you are using some kind of cable or DSL modem at your university, a proxy server still will not affect your connection speed because you would need to installa hacked TFTP service to reprogram the broadband modem to remove the caps.

    Circumventing your bandwidth cap by installing a proxy server is an impossibility unless it's on a separate server and the university's network is not (for whatever reason) recognizing your system as a system to be throttled, but this also assumed that the university throttles bandwidth. If you installed the proxy server directly onto your system, there is no way in hell that you could have possibly "uncapped" your connection just by installing the software.

    What transfer speed have you been getting normally that this is now a concern for you?
     
  4. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Thanks for the informative reply John...

    Im not sure what you mean by 'installing a proxy server'. What i did was in the internet connection settings, I manually configured a proxy for HTTP (proxy.sfu.ca port 8080)

    My internet is provided by the university through their network which is hooked up to the net via a connection that is much faster than cable/dsl. I just hookup my computer to an ethernet jack in the wall, it calls up a DHCP server and automatically gives me an IP addy.

    Well before my speeds would've been basic high-speed speeds (20-100kbps), and it would slow down during peak hours (I share the same line with others in my residence area). Now that i'm connected to the proxy server, im consistently getting speeds of 170-400kbps, and peaking at very high speeds on faster servers like the one from microsoft.

    Anyways, thanks alot again john for clearing things up, I hope you can further answer my questions. I just wanna make sure im not breaking any rules here as James says I am.
     
  5. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    It certainly will work that way if you're using a proxy on your network that's for a different service which isn't capped, like a server or something. We used to flip proxies all the time at the place I used to work for this purpose, and later to actually be able to get on the internet at all.
     
  6. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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  7. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    See, I'm not completely stupid [​IMG]
     
  8. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    I implemented that on my own, not instructed to do so...
     
  9. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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  10. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    So I shouldn't have it connecting like that then eh?

    Ohwell, back to slow high-speed internet [​IMG]
     
  11. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    I'm not saying that you "shouldn't". This could very likely be a case of "security through obscurity" where they expect everything to go through the DHCP servers which might or might not be throttled. You might not be doing anything wrong. It's very possible that the server you specified is a legitimate proxy server that, for example, might be in a load-balancing system but it's not load balancing properly.

    Quite frankly, unless there is a statement in their terms and conditions that you're not allowed to use any system than when the DHCP servers define then you technically are not doing anything wrong. The system admin side of me says that if they don't have their floodgates properly closed, that's their problem.

    I'm not going to say that you're doing anything wrong. In fact, I would say to continue unless you find something specific in your agreement that says that you can't use any system other than what's defined in your terms and agreements to use the university's network.

    Of course, how you got the information to plug in that proxy server information into your browser might be an issue.
     
  12. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    well i didn't really have the info, i just guessed the server after seeing a site about it, it was 'proxy.server.com' and port 8080, i just guessed it would be the server of my school, thus sfu.ca and i assumed they left the port alone: 8080.
     
  13. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    Odds are that your ITS people would eventually notice something if you were downloading or uploading quite a lot of stuff fairly constantly. But you might be able to get away with it if you aren't. The most they'll do is send you something telling you to knock it off, unless there's a bit in your user agreement about it.
     

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