Internet Access at Various Institutes

Just received this mail from my NUS mail account, my emphasis:

The Internet is the bread-and-butter of the University’s teaching, [blah…].

So you might have been glad to notice your Internet downloads moving a little faster these days.

Well, more than twice as fast as before, to be precise.

The NUS’ Internet bandwidth has doubled to 450 Mbits/sec — up from 200 Mbits/sec — for everyone in NUS since May 2007.

This is the highest bandwidth provided so far among all Institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore.

NUS staff, students, and research institutions can expect improved performance, enjoy faster downloads and video streaming (better than on YouTube),  uninterrupted VoIP calls over SKYPE, iChat and so on. Users can now take advantage of new features coming up because of the less congested highway to the Internet.

Whoo~ This upgrade would definitely improve students’ connectivity; though I question whether it’s part of the school’s policy to improve my experience on the productivity and bandwidth killer. Then again, this gives me even more incentives to download educational podcasts and open source freewares.

I have a major complain: Internet access at my workplace is like <negative word here>. Reasons:

  1. Users have to setup their proxy settings before they can access.
  2. The proxy blocks all instant messaging services but Google Talk.
  3. It also somehow bypass the secure connection between me and Google. Whenever I try to access Gmail via the secure connection, it prompts me with some error message related to the security certificate. Everything works if I bypass the error message. But that got me to wonder if the proxy is actively logging all the contents that is passed through the network. I want my privacy!
  4. The proxy also actively scans the files being transferred. There are a few file types that are prevented from download immediately: mp3, mp4… I’m fine with these; but what I couldn’t understand is that they also block xpi, jar, inf files themselves and any other executable files that contain such files! It happened this morning that I need to download and install a driver for a projector which I would be using for a presentation. But my download was outright rejected because the installer contained a inf file! Luckily I’ve already experimented bypassing the filter and immediately asked my friend to send me the file via yousendit.

However, there wasn’t any forms or links for me to click so that I can highlight this file to the administrator that it’s a legitimate drive that I have to install. What the administrators have done is just making lives more difficult for the average users. Imagine a Manager who is trying to install the driver. I wish he would kick the administrator’s butt.

Screen shots following next.

Sercurity Certificate Error
The error message

Another irritating message   
Irritating filtering system

Zhengru suggested using Skype since the connection is encrypted too. It is also known to be able to bypass firewall and block ports. Gonna try it out once I finish working on my never ending task.


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