When Apple released the iOS 7 upgrade on Sept. 18, students rushed to download it onto their iPhones. An estimated 15,000 devices were upgraded to the iOS 7 on campus last week, causing BobcatNet to slow down, according to Information Security Officer Brian Kelly.
According to Kelly, the activity on BobcatNet is usually consistent and predictable. Yet, when a large number of students try to upgrade to the iOS 7 at once, it creates a traffic jam.
“You have a limited amount of bandwidth, so how much capacity we have to and from the internet, which is at 1 gig, which is a pretty good number,” Kelly said. “It’s the equivalent of if you think about how route 10 or Mount Carmel Ave is on graduation day with traffic. You’ve overrun the campus with 15,000 people. Traffic comes to a halt.”
This was a global problem, according to Kelly.
“There were reports of businesses, of other universities last Thursday and Friday across the country that were in a similar bind,” he said. “The traffic was impacting them the same way.”
Sophomore Nickolas Shaw said that BobcatNet disconnected randomly many times last week.
“I think it would have been a little faster to download [the iOS 7] at home,” Shaw said. “I waited a day or two just because I knew the server would be crazy.”
Freshman Ryan Taylor wanted to download the iOS 7 right away because he waited so long for it to be available.
“I tried a bunch of times and [the iOS 7] wouldn’t download on my phone so I had to plug it into my computer,” he said. “The whole internet in our school is so slow. When you watch Netflix there is always a problem.”
According to Kelly, the slow connection mainly affected students as they tried to watch television online, rather than go on Blackboard.
“What we find a lot of times is that the students are upset that they couldn’t watch ‘Breaking Bad’ or ‘Game of Thrones,’” he said. “From an academic standpoint, we had plenty of bandwidth.”
There was little the university could do to immediately fix the situation.
“It’s really just riding it out,” Kelly said. “We’re always doing capacity planning and trying to figure out how much do we need for the students and adjust accordingly. It’s not something we can do, it happens on Wednesday, make those adjustments Thursday. It’s something where you need to schedule and buy.”
Kelly said that he and his team are here to support the students.
“For the vast majority of the time, BobcatNet is sufficient,” Kelly said. “We really want to meet whatever the needs are. We’re always looking at improving it year after year to make it as best as possible.”