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RE: who offers cheap (personal) 1U colo?

  • From: Vivien M.
  • Date: Sun Mar 14 12:09:27 2004

> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On 
> Behalf Of Andrew Dorsett
> Sent: March 14, 2004 1:29 AM
> To: North American Noise and Off-topic Gripes
> Subject: Re: who offers cheap (personal) 1U colo? 
> This is a topic I get very soap-boxish about.  I have too 
> many problems with providers who don't understand the college 
> student market.  I can think of one university who requires 
> students to login through a web portal before giving them a 
> routable address.  This is such a waste of time for both 
> parties.  Sure it makes tracking down the abusers much 
> easier, but is it worth the time and effort to manage?  This 
> is a very legitimate idea for public portals in common areas, 
> but not in dorm rooms. In a dorm room situation or an 
> apartment situation, you again know the physical port the 
> DHCP request came in on.  You then know which room that port 
> is connected to and you therefore have a general idea of who 
> the abuser is.  So whats the big deal if you turn off the 
> ports to the room until the users complain and the problem is 
> resolved?

Actually, you're forgetting what I think is the biggest reason for doing
this: before the user registers via the web-based DHCP thing, they are shown
the AUP and have to say they agree to it. If you just leave straight IP
connections available in rooms, and people violate the AUP, they can QUITE
credibly argue "But I never read this AUP". The web-based DHCP registration
system prevents that.

Other advantages would be
A) It prevents students (or at least, all but the most clueful) from taking
multiple IPs and having hubs and such in their rooms
B) It makes it very easy to track what MAC address/IP address is which
person, as you yourself admitted. Sure, this system requires a bit of effort
to set up initially (though I think open source implementations are easily
available), but afterwards, you don't need to have your most clueful network
engineer dig through to try and figure out which room is what IP. If you
lower the clue level required to operate an abuse desk, I would argue you
improve its efficiency in many cases...
C) It avoids issues of changing ports. Let's say I'm in room 101, and my
friend Bob is in room 102. I take my laptop to Bob's room and plug it into
the network and go and do something dumb... If you hunt down my MAC address
to a particular port, it looks like Bob is the AUP violator. If you have a
registration system, you know that this MAC address belongs to me, not Bob. 

Oh, and what about wireless networks? I have my nice 802.11b card, how do
you propose to track that without MAC registration (or hackish VPN systems,
which are also deployed in some campuses)?

[Note: most of the argument above assumes that people are not clueful enough
to change their MAC address, of course... And I would argue that most
college students are too busy getting drunk or saturating networks with P2P
software to figure this out]

Vivien M.
Assistant System Administrator
Dynamic Network Services, Inc. 

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