Blocking music on internet connection

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Hi all, I have some internet users who listen to online radio stations. I have asked them not to do it, as I feel like it probably uses up a fair amount of bandwidth. Is this correct, or does it use very little? Also, other than purchasing and installing software, is there a way to block music? Such as certain ports on the firewall I can turn off, or something? I can't remove their internet access as it is a vital part of their job function (billing, etc.) Any help would be appreciated.

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Hi,

You might want to create an ACL (access list) to block the address of the website or filter the web address, to the music site, on the pc’s. A great port blocking software is www.kerio.com

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  • TJBaum
    One or two folks listening to music will not be an issue. I use Juniper Firewall and simply blocked the port. Worked so well I had a few folks reporting problems that their music won't play anymore. (grin)
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  • Ve3ofa
    What are they using to listen to the music? remove any media player software on their computers.. i.e. real player, itunes, windows media player.. This will also stop them from using the cdrom as a music player.
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  • Petroleumman
    Hello, On-line radio stations really are very light weight and will not use much bandwidth on a network. The only way you'd have an issue is if your bandwidth situation is critical to begin with. We have many users in our environment that like to listen to music and allowing them access gives them one small freedom which can go a long way to having a happier office. If your set on stopping it however, use your firewall or maybe ISA server to block ports that the media sources are using or create a filter to prevent certain file types from getting in.Halting traffic at the gateway is a more efficient approach than filtering from the inside. Stopping file types is more work to set up but has the advantage over ports by creating less chance of false positives so to speak. Blocking a port stops all traffic good or bad. Depending on your environment that could be more headache in the long run. Good luck!
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  • Almac
    In general listening to music is not a big issue. However, I have had instances where listeners were being used as "re-broadcasters" for other listeners. An aduit of bandwidth usage showed that one instance of "re-broadcasting" used 1/2 of the bandwidth on my T-1. What is your company policy with regards to listening to music? It is hard to enforce something if it is not in writing. Our usage policy specifically prohibits listening to on-line music in the workplace. I used GP to remove music players and weekly auditing to insure it stays removed. We now use background music in the building and alow users to recommend the stations to be played. The end result has been no on-line music listening.
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  • Astronomer
    Our college has had problems with downloads in general and streaming music in particular. They were saturating our three T1s to the internet to the point that our business software became unusable. Since the current streaming protocols use port 80 to get through firewalls we were forced into two strategies. We have blocked some sites and have forced the students to use a squid proxy. The proxy limits individual download speeds so they can't saturate the internet pipe. Another option we considered is the new class of traffic shapers that inspect the traffic up to layer 7. This allows you to control traffic by application. We didn't buy it because of the price but this is worth looking at.
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  • Nitingg2
    Yes it does affect your bandwidth, but then it depends on how much you have to use?? It obviously seems that you have litte bandwidth in the first place. So i suggest blocking these site from the server or individually on each PC, by using the content advisor in IE. your router will, depending on what you have can allow priorities to set, even to individual ports. You can specify what has priority over others
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  • DaveInAZ
    The simple answer is, no, don't worry about it until you have a reason to worry. Although we heard from one guy who may have had a problem with bandwidth usage due to rebroadcasting, it's extremely rare that music listening causes any noticeable impact. The other side of this coin is, which is worth more; a little bandwidth or employee morale? As many, many studies have shown, the single most important factor affecting productivity is employee morale. And, don't forget about the high cost of finding and training replacements for employees who probably would have stayed on if the work environment were more pleasant. The return on your investment, especially if you're dealing with skilled workers, is HUGE!
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  • Bigshybear
    As you can tell by the previous replies there is no simple answer to this, nothing like 'block port xx' and you blocking streaming radio stations. Yes, streaming audio takes up bandwidth - 56kb/s to 128kb/s per person, and its a constant load, it doesn't spike like normal internet useage. If you have a T-1 and you have 6 people streaming at 128kb/s that's HALF your bandwidth. Ouch. If your firewall has the capability, you can block .wav, .mp3 .ram and .rm files and block most sites. If not, you have to put on your deerstalker cap and start doing some investigation. My recommendation would be to first find out what your WAN bandwidth utilization really is. If you have a Cisco router connected to a T-1 or a fractional T-1, I've found this program to be useful, the freeware version will give you a graphic of bandwidth utilization for up to 3 Cisco routers. http://www.paessler.com/prtg If you have a DSL line and a DSL modem you can put up the modem brand here and someone may know of something similar. Once you've figured out your bandwidth utilization, then you can compare it with your available bandwidth and determine if you have a problem, and you can decide if you need to spend the time involved in investigating it. If you decide you need to investigate this you have to find out who is using the bandwidth. Some firewalls give you this information (Watchguard), some don't. You may need to use a sniffer, Ethereal is excellent and free. Once you find out who is using the bandwidth you can either talk to them directly, or set up a block list in the firewall to block the radio site. (Ethereal comes in handy here, it can give you the originating web site IP address for your block list.) My experience is that my block lists rapidly get very long as the offending person shifts over from site to site to site as they hunt for stations that work. You will almost certainly have to check often for at least 1 week to 2 weeks before people start giving up. Be alert for the political issue of do you have the authority to cut off the users internet radio? You may have to get allies in management. Reminding them how much more bandwidth would cost always seems to work well.
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  • Hjtharp
    Is this a company? If so is there a company policy regarding this? If it is stated in the company policy that this is not allowed then you can block this, but if you have no company policy, you will have major headaches, unless you have the board on your side you will be on your own.
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  • HumbleNetAdmin
    Hello everyone, Lot of good and true info here. And the greater problem is weather or not you will have backing of management. Company usage polices have been mentioned. If the policies aren't in place that does not mean can't block the access. However expect some flak, especialy from those who have the power to throw their weight around. Streaming audio is not a real big problem if their are only the occasional user. Unless your internet bandwidth is already being consumed by legitimate business. The one that I see that is a big problem is streamign video from lets say; MSNBC news. If there is no company exceptable use policies in place and or you run into to trouble blocking usage. You may think about gathering information to backup your claim. Dont put out on the table to managment that you feel that the usage is consuming to much bandwidth. Show them. Using tools such as PRTG(Paesler Router Traffic Grapher) I monitor network traffic on everything, servers, routers, firewalls, and I can even monitor end user's pc's. I started seeing the problem of high bandwidth usage on incoming traffic that was not in keeping with the norm. After investingating I was able to show to managment that users access streaming audio (although that was not bad) was consuming bandwidth (many users streaming audio was not good), but streaming video on the other hand only needed two to three users accessing streaming vidio and our bandwidth on our T1 was quickly ate up. So first thing is to establish the data that shows that the user's practices are consuming up bandwidth that is needed for other purposes (not that you feel that it is, show them that it is). What does the company use the internet access for, provide internet services(ftp, web) to customers? Is there complaints from employees/customers about slow internet access, access to webpages and the like, at times (if the usage is not hurting the company by slowing things down, you dont get the backing of managment). How many employee's are there with access to the internet. And expect the unexpected. Employees hogging up bandwidth were I am the network admin was not tolerated by the company because we provide many internet services to customers and the bandwidth must be there, and keep in mind, there was and still is not an acceptable use policy. The powers to be here decided to take an unexpected turn here, instead of creating an acceptable use policy and inforcing it, and or blocking content. We just installed a new T1 and routers/firewalls for an internet connection that is strickly for inter-company only. The users pc's have there gateways set to the firewall on the new T1 so that bandwidth is not taken away from the circuit that external customers are dependant on. One suggestion that I can make on blocking usages is a proxy server. You can build a proxy server from a moderate pc using Linux. I discovered that I could block most streaming video content with a simple content blocking rule that blocked any content on the internet that contained "video" in the URL. Best part is, linux is free and I already had the box to implement it on. I never did however, only tested it, because the powers to be took a different approach. Good luck The HumbleNetAdmin
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  • TyllerDurdent
    No the consume of the streaming audio is not too high , but in a case your company have a "slow" access to internet they can be a problem. First is blocking directions, ports and some relatives sites in your router, or your proxy. Other is manage the traffic, for example find the subnet generate most traffic; and with a ethereal observe what is purpose of this traffic. when you encounter the focus of the high traffic, follow the company politics, in some companies is allowed to hear online radio(like mine). Second in other point of view not be so coercitive, in some ambients of developing the music relax people, create campains for use mp3 players and flash memories is a good way the people listens his music, maintein the net free and work happy.
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  • 1531apprentice
    Blocking a specific type of download may be difficult, could you not just disable the sound card? If users cannot listen to it they may not download it?
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  • Miah4life
    Hallo , I dont know how you setup is like but if you have a proper router in you network you can create access lists or filters .You need to identify the ip address of the streaming server ,the ports and the packet type udp or tcp or can just block both .Deny traffic to and from the server .
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  • Macboy52
    if your are using a router like a linksys you can configure it on a client computer so that the router blocks some url's
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  • DaJackel
    Ok Ok, I see most of you have been sysadmins for a while and some of you are new. Yes music makes for a less stressfull environment. Yes streaming media utilizes bandwidth. Yes you need Management to back you. HOWEVER, streaming media is very unsecure. It is very easy for a coder to inject code into a webcast or streaming media. After that it's pretty much over with. Now, be it spyware or malicious the code is still there. Personally I use scare tactics and "what if" scenarios to get backing from management. Once this is done or if you don't think you need them to back you there are a few "best picks" that you can do. The best thing you can do is get a Proxy. This will force all your users through one common AP allowing you to restrict them of everything short of picking their nose. If you don't have the resources to install a proxy, then I suggest a group policy stance. You can easily pre-configure the web browser so it won't accept streaming files. I believe there is a tech-net doc on how to do this, just google it and you will find it. Now I am a secadmin so I don't really care what my users think of me. However, I like to listen to music also. So, I allow them 20 gigs of personal space on their workstations for mp3, wma, wavs. I have also integreted i-tunes so it's easy for them to transfer their music. This way the users are happy, it's still a secure environment, and you aren't utilizing your network's banwidth. Everyone's happy.
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