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California State University, Long BeachCalifornia State University, Long Beach

Peer to Peer (P2P) Applications

General Information

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What are Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Applications?
BitTorrent (or anything else named "torrent"), Gnutella, Limewire, and KaZaA are some examples of P2P applications. P2P applications work by letting your computer download parts of files from multiple sources on the Internet at the same time.
How Does P2P Software Impact Users on the Campus Network?

P2P applications are not permitted on campus, since they can disrupt the campus network and impact the ability of faculty, staff and students to conduct university business using the network. Computing resources must be shared among users in an equitable manner.

The University uses firewalls to protect our academic and operational computing resources. Widespread use of active P2P applications degrades the campus-wide network and internet connection by overloading our firewalls. At peak times on the CSU Long Beach network there are over 20,000 unique computers active. When even a small percentage of those computers are opening thousands of connections with their P2P software, the firewall load can be excessive enough to cause network performance problems, slowing access to critical University services such as BeachBoard and MyCSULB, and normal internet surfing.

P2P Policy Beginning March 26, 2012

CSULB Network Security devices automatically put a computer into a state of quarantine when Peer-to-Peer applications are detected and used above a certain threshold. The threshold may vary, but is generally on the order of 100 hits per hour. This removes chances of random false detections from other Internet traffic, ensuring that the focus is on the P2P application.

When a computer is quarantined, the following behavior can be expected:

  • Browsing a non-campus related website will display a web page that describes the reason for quarantine. Sometimes, the user will need to reload or refresh the current web page to see the quarantine message clearly (hold down the shift key and press the browser refresh button).
  • Other network activity may stop completely. (Ex. Streaming music may stop mid-stream.)
  • Most campus websites should continue to be available to users, including MyCSULB and BeachBoard.

  Quarantine Notification Screen

Support for You

What can I do to make sure my laptop won’t be blocked from the campus network?

We suggest not downloading P2P software to a computer you use to access the campus network (internet) and to disable or remove any P2P software that's on such a device. If you decide to download P2P software, make sure the software is in a disabled state before you connect to the campus network (internet), or uninstall the software each time you sign-on the campus network. See the section below for information about disabling or removing P2P software from your personal computer.

If you’re not exactly sure what P2P software may be running on your computer, you can refer to this extensive Wikipedia list.

My laptop or mobile device has been quarantined. How do I get Internet access again?

The quarantine process is automatic and self-regulating. If no peer-to-peer activity is seen from the device for 10 minutes, the quarantine (block) will be automatically cleared. For example, if the device has been quarantined and the peer-to-peer software has been removed after seven minutes, the user only needs to wait three more minutes for the quarantine to expire.

To reach the state that allows the automatic quarantine process to clear, you need to identify the software, and then disable or remove it from your computer.

  • Disabling P2P software – You can disable the P2P software if you know how. Each software application is different, but you may be able to disable it on your own by following these directions. Note that CSULB is not responsible for any potential damage associated with disabling P2P software on your personal computer.
  • Removing P2P software – You can remove the software on your own by uninstalling it. Each software application is different, but you may be able to uninstall it on your own by following these directions. Note that CSULB is not responsible for any potential damage associated with removing P2P software from your personal computer.

If you’re not exactly sure what P2P software may be running on your computer, you can refer to this extensive Wikipedia list.

Once the software is disabled or removed, users just need to wait for the quarantine to expire. If assistance is needed, Students and Faculty should contact the Technology Service Desk at (562) 985-4959. Staff needs to contact ITS Desktop Support by calling extension 58344 or by email at its.dsg@csulb.edu.

Contact Information

Students, Faculty and Staff

Please call the Technology Help Desk (THD) at (562) 985-4959. See the "Support for You" and "References" sections on this page for more information on how to disable or remove P2P software from your personal computer.

University Housing Residents

If you can not find any P2P software or have attempted to remove the software and continue to be blocked, submit a Tech Internet Troubleshooting Request. A Hall Technician will respond within 2 days to assist you.

References

Wikipedia's Peer-to-Peer Networking article

Guidance to Disable or Remove P2P Software