Update on Mak-Bandwidth Resource

Dear Staff/Students

We have seen a steady increase in bandwith capacity since the University switched internet service providers in 2014 from UTL (a commercial ISP) to RENU which is a Research Education Network dedicated to providing relatively affordable bandwith to research institutions.

Before joining RENU,Makerere's bandwidth was 68 Mbps on UTL and this was tripled to 180 Mbps for the same price when Makerere joined the RENU network.The bandwidth then increased from 180 Mbps to 240 Mbps and it has now further increased to 300 Mbps in a span of two and a-half years which is about four and a-half times the bandwidth we had on UTL for the same price.

The increase in bandwidth for the same price has been achieved through continuous negotiations with RENU for better rates and also because the price per Mbps of bandwidth drops as RENU gets more research institutions to join it's network.

HAVE WE NOTICED ANY DIFFERENCE IN INTERNET EXPERIENCE ?

Some users have always asked why their internet experience has either improved slightly or not at all despite the increase in bandwith. This is attributed to several factors some of which are;

1) The state of the end-user terminal/computer used.If your computer's processing power is low and it's either poorly maintained,overloaded with programs,infected with viruses etc,all this will negate your internet experience despite the increased bandwidth.

2) The status of the Local Area Network at your college/unit:-If you are at a college/unit were the cabling is old/nearly worn-out and also supports low speeds,then this will negate your internet experience.

3) The status of equipment used on the college/unit local area network.Some of the switches used have either reached End-of-Life or support lower speeds thus directly negating the internet experience.

4) Most operating systems in use today (Windows 7 and above) are cloud-centric meaning that they use up bandwidth to run background processes even when in idle-state (computer connected to internet but not being used) and this consumes a considerable amount of data which impacts on overall experience.

5) The demand for streaming services, access to highly graphical and responsive websites,increasing number of smart devices connecting to the university network have all further strained the already limited bandwidth.

Besides the above,the current bandwidth of 300 Mbps is not enough to offer acceptable internet experience to all Mak-users. Comparable institutions such as University of Nairobi and Ghana run on approximately 600 Mbps and
1 Gbps respectively.Therefore at the bare minimum,Makerere requires atleast twice the current bandwith (600 Mbps) for acceptable experience.

WHAT CAN THE END-USER DO TO IMPROVE INTERNET EXPERIENCE ?

The end-user is responsible for some actions that can either negate or improve their internet experience and these include;

1) Maintaining an up-to-date security solution/antivirus on the end-user terminal. The University provides Sophos as the enterprise security solution and this can be downloaded by all Mak-users by clicking the link below. http://viruscheck.mak.ac.ug/

2) Avoid installing programs you don't use,some of these keep running in the background and use up the computer's processing power causing an overall sluggish experience.

3) Avoid opening multiple browser sessions/windows.These keep running and using up resources even when you are not active on those pages.

4) Avoid visiting websites you don't trust,downloading attachments from unknown sources,clicking suspicious links all of which can infect your computer with Malware.

5) Make sure your Operating System files are updated at all times,otherwise several processes will slow down over time and you also risk your computer being infected with viruses regardless of whether your security solution is up to date.

6) Avoid using pirated software copies as some of these could have malicious code,have updates disabled etc and therefore create a loophole for viral attack even when an updated genuine security solution is being used.

Please visit the DICTS knowledge-base for ICT support information,https://answers.mak.ac.ug/