2006/07/24 - Quota System Changes
From 24 July, Internet traffic directly between Rhodes PCs and the Internet will count towards your download quota. For most users, this will not have any effect, since web browsing and downloads through the proxy servers already count towards your download quota. However, applications which transfer data between your PC and the Internet directly, such as FTP transfers, peer-to-peer networks, Skype or other phone-over-Internet systems, etc. will now count.

Until now, direct Internet traffic was controlled using a separate system to the download quota system which controlled web browsing. These will be integrated. As a result, if you download a very large file from an FTP server, you will find that for the following 14 days, both web downloads and all direct transfers from that PC will be slowed down or even blocked. Similarly, downloading large files from the web will cause both web downloads and direct transfers from that PC to be slowed.

The intent of this change is to ensure that those relatively few users who use Rhodes' Internet bandwidth for direct transfers will be subject to the same limits as the many who only use the web. Doing so will be fairer to all members of the University, should improve Internet response times for those who have not exceeded their quotas, and allow us to increase quotas for all users in future.

More information about the download quota system can be found at If you have further queries, please contact the Software Support Helpdesk at
Since first posting this message we've had a number of people asking us to clarify exactly what the effects of this change will be. A summary of the answers to the questions we've been asked follows:
  • Initially, per-host download quotas will remain at their present values (i.e. with an upper limit of 490MB/14 days). This may be reviewed in due course.
  • Direct traffic between two machines that are both on the University's local area network does not constitute traffic to the Internet and therefore does not count to this quota.
  • All traffic that passes through TENET's router at Rhodes counts towards this quota. At present that means all Internet traffic, including traffic to other tertiary education sites in South Africa. The only exception is traffic passing through GINX, which includes Grahamstown schools and local ISPs. If you're interested in understanding why this is, have a look at the layer three topology of the University's network.
  • Uploads and downloads are treated identically. It does not matter who originates the connection, all that matters is which Rhodes machine is party to the communication.
  • No differentiation is made between protocols. In other words, FTP traffic is treated exactly the same way as SSH, remote desktop, Skype, GRE, etc.
  • Unlike HTTP traffic throught the proxy servers, direct Internet traffic is not billed retrospectively. This means that rather than seeing one big spike on your quota graph corresponding with when your download ends, you'll see lots of smaller spikes throughout the duration of your download. You'll still see the single big spike for proxy downloads.
  • The proceedure for dealing with infrequent or once-off exceptions on academic grounds hasn't changed. The document detailing the proceedure has, however, been re-written and is available at
  • People who need more long-term exceptions will have to provide a detailed motivation. Each case will be evaluated individually based on 1) the potential for abuse, 2) the bandwidth implications, 3) the relevence to the University, and 4) whether any alternatives exist. Any such motivation should address at least these four issues.
There is currently a discussion on this topic taking place on the forums. If you want to contribute, or you're interested in other people's views, please visit