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Blocking BBC & ITV video streaming

Discussion in 'Networks & Internet Connectivity' started by Rendog, 4 Jun 2010.

  1. Rendog

    Gangster

    Joined: 17 Jan 2003

    Posts: 332

    Location: Andover

    Hello,

    As the World Cup nears there will an obvious few users that will try to watch games live online.

    In the company I work for this isn't allowed so I was wondering if anyone knew the best way to block all BBC and ITV video streaming? At the moment we simply don't have big enough bandwidth lines to cover the whole company.

    I've only been working in IT support for this company for about a year and as far as I'm aware all that is blocked regarding video streaming are streams that use applications like WMP, Real Player, Quicktime. I am only local support so don't know much in the way of Cisco routers and configuring, etc, however we have a dedicated network support team although unfortunately they are located in the USA.

    Now as far as I'm aware BBC and ITV use flash and silverlight respectively. Is it possible to block the servers that the video streams run off or are you better off blocking the flash extension for video streaming (.flv?). Everyone goes through the same proxy so I guess you could setup some kind of rule?

    The trouble is we don't want to block all flash applications as some users require websites that use flash.

    Any information anyone might know would be great :).

    Andy
     
  2. Liquidfox

    Mobster

    Joined: 26 Sep 2007

    Posts: 4,119

    Location: Newcastle

    Depends what server operating system you're running on.

    Windows Server you can use group policies to block websites by changing DNS entries on the server to point that specific website to a non-working IP (1.1.1.1 for example, or even better an internal webpage telling them it's forbidden)

    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/221386-36-block-group-policy
     
  3. Bigdogbmx

    Gangster

    Joined: 25 Sep 2003

    Posts: 457

    Location: Leeds

    Cant you just use your router itself to block the URLS? I know even basic netgear routers do URL blocking and proper commercial routers such as Cisco certainly do.
     
  4. Kol

    Capodecina

    Joined: 8 Jan 2003

    Posts: 13,976

    Location: London

  5. Rendog

    Gangster

    Joined: 17 Jan 2003

    Posts: 332

    Location: Andover

    I think the problem with that is that it is hard to know which URL the live stuff will be on, I don't want to block the whole bbc/football site - just anything that has an embedded video stream.

    Ah yes thanks Kol, we can probably block the whole website of that one. BBC & ITV will be a bit more tricky.
     
  6. Sp00n

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 18,217

    Location: Brighton

    Just block *iplayer* and *itvplayer* using the wildcards so it doesnt matter what the actual address is.
     
  7. bigredshark

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 30 Jun 2005

    Posts: 9,516

    Location: London Town!

    Please don't do that, it's a really annoying misuse of DNS, DNS *ISN'T* a means of enforcing policy, it isn't for that. It's a global, hierarchal, distributed and reliable database - messing about with your DNS is a stupid lazy fudge for actually enforcing policy which makes other people's lives hard.

    And for gods sake don't redirect to 1.1.1.1, that isn't a random IP for people to use as a sinkhole, it's in theory a perfectly valid v4 address and will one day be assigned, the internet community is currently working hard to prevent people using it as a random internal IP and clean up the consequences of it being used that way previously. Please don't make it harder.

    If you must do that then use a local IP and route it to null on your network. Better yet don't do it at all and return nxdomain or refused if you must mess about with your DNS.

    Better yet use a proxy server or a filtering solution on your firewall.
     
  8. Rendog

    Gangster

    Joined: 17 Jan 2003

    Posts: 332

    Location: Andover

  9. Yakyb

    Gangster

    Joined: 8 Sep 2009

    Posts: 394

    arguably could you not just block flash (they are both based on it i think)
     
  10. paradigm

    Caporegime

    Joined: 26 Aug 2003

    Posts: 36,807

    Location: Staffordshire

    What proxy do you use?

    Blocking with MS Proxy Server, ISA or Forefront is an utter piece of simplicity.
     
  11. bigredshark

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 30 Jun 2005

    Posts: 9,516

    Location: London Town!

    As are other things though? It'd be the old sledgehammer to crack a nut strategy...
     
  12. matthab

    Mobster

    Joined: 19 Apr 2009

    Posts: 3,164

    We have flash blocked of here at work and its a complete utter pain. I would persoanlyl go through the proxy or just send and EMAIL to all staff highlighting the rules etc.
     
  13. bigredshark

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 30 Jun 2005

    Posts: 9,516

    Location: London Town!

    We actually set up an internal stream so it doesn't use all our office WAN bandwidth and told people they could watch it so long as they did some actual work too and there'd be trouble if they slacked off. So we'll see how that works out...
     
  14. paradigm

    Caporegime

    Joined: 26 Aug 2003

    Posts: 36,807

    Location: Staffordshire

    Same, we are redistributing it via Windows Media Services.
     
  15. Se7ven

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 7 Nov 2009

    Posts: 1,475

    "The Internetz"
    "No IT Qualification? No Problem!"

    :D
     
  16. n3vrmind

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 1 Feb 2004

    Posts: 1,440

    Location: Bristol

    I delt with this issue on several occasions for the world cup, european championships, even wimbledon

    After discussing the options we came to a few conclusions.
    -Allowing ppl access from their machines is unfeasible
    -Blocking access will mean that people conveniently become ill on the respective days
    -You will have a significant drop in customers during the events anyway if they are all watching it themselves
    -Some people will loath the event and not want to see it (ahhmgz work is my only safe haven!!1!)

    Based on this, we blocked the sites on the proxy server. Then for each match/event we setup a laptop and speakers at various places in the building so people could watch the event but left an area that people could go if they didnt want to see it.

    We configured a windows media server with a TV card at a spot in the building that got a decent signal (you do NEED a tv license for this but at the time we found that 1 license was sufficient based on reading the terms) and had that machine provide the stream

    We dimmed the lights in all the areas and the phones pretty much went silent so it worked pretty well, there were a few downsides mind.. like a lag in the buffers between the laptops.. if someone scored a goal or had a near miss, you heard the cheers from the other end of the building before it actually happened on your screen, oh and the lack of beer sucked :)

    The company liked the idea of the projectors and eventually had white boxes painted on the walls (high ceilings!) and ceiling mounted projectors installed to show a business ticker/callcenter stats and queues/company slides/bbc news on a more permanent basis
     
  17. chris06

    Gangster

    Joined: 22 Mar 2006

    Posts: 391

    Quite interested in doing this. Could you give me a few pointers on how to go about setting this up?

    Thanks
     
  18. Sp00n

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 18,217

    Location: Brighton

    I like the sounds of that, got any nice linky-poo's? :D
     
  19. Clark Nova

    Mobster

    Joined: 3 Apr 2003

    Posts: 3,938

    Location: InterZone

    ^^^^ I'm interested in this also, sounds like it might be a good way to do things.
     
  20. Kona*

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 29 Dec 2003

    Posts: 2,039

    Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=windows+media+encoder+stream+live+tv

    Top search result, we have used this method for a customer during the world cup.