The New Bandwidth Paradigm


For years the prevailing belief was that consumers would always outstrip bandwidth supply.  From our recent conversations with several land line operators,  their experience suggests that in the near-term, that paradigm may not be true.

How could this be?

The answer is fairly simple.  Since streaming HD video became all the rage some 10+ years ago, there has not been any real pressure from any new bandwidth-intensive applications.   All the while, ISPs have been increasing their capacity.  The net result is that many wired providers have finally outstripped demand.

Yes, many video content options have popped up for both real-time streaming and recorded entertainment.  However, when we drill down on consumption, we find that almost all video caps out at 4 megabits per second.  Combine a 4 megabit per second self-imposed video limit with the observation that consumers are averaging 1 movie for every 3 connected households, and we can see what true consumption is nowadays – at or below 4 megabits per second per house.   Thus, even though ISPs now advertise  50 or 100 megabit per second last mile connections to the home, consumers rarely have reason to use that much bandwidth for a sustained period of time.   There is just no application beyond video that they use on a regular basis.

What about the plethora of other applications?

I just did a little experiment on my Internet connection leaving my home office.  My average consumption, including two low resolution security camera’s, a WebEx session, a Skype call, several open web pages, and some smart devices, came to a grand total of 0.7 megabits per second.   The only time I even come close to saturating my 20 megabit per second connection is when I download a computer update of some kind, and obviously this is a relatively rare event, once a month at most.

What about the future?

ISPs are now promising 50 or 100 megabit per second connections, and are betting on the fact that most consumers will only use a fraction of that at any given time.  In other words, they have oversold their capacity without backlash.  In the unlikely event that all their customers tried to pull their max bandwidth at one time, there would be extreme gridlock, but the probability of this happening is almost zero.   At this time we don’t see any new application beyond video that will seriously demand a tenfold type increase in bandwidth, which is what happened when we saw video come of age on the Internet.  Yes,  there will be increases in demand, but we expect that curve to be a few percent a year.

NetEqualizer News: September 2017


We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter. Highlights include details on more 8.5 Release features, as well as a preview of our Product Demonstration Site and Demo Guide!

 

September 2017

 

Optimizing the 8.5 Release
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.

Last month we announced that our 8.5 Release was officially Generally Available. Now that the dust has settled, and many of you have started updating your NetEqualizer(s) to 8.5, we are taking time this month to talk more about how to best use the new 8.5 features. Read on to learn more about how you can use wildcarding to optimize your implementation of our new Host Names feature, and how to use our new Pool-specific Ratio & Hogmin to make your Pools even better. If you would like to further explore 8.5, you can now see it live by viewing our Product Demonstration Site, which is updated to 8.5, and following along the 8.5 Product Demonstration Guide. In this month’s newsletter we offer you Tips for Optimizing your 8.5 Installation, our 8.5 Product Demonstration Guide, and our updated Product Demonstration Site.

We will be updating the User Guide to 8.5 shortly, look to hear more in an upcoming newsletter.

We continue to work with you to solve some of your most pressing network problems – so if you have one that you would like to discuss with us, please call or email me anytime at 303.997.1300 x103 or art@apconnections.net.

And remember we are now on Twitter. You can follow us @NetEqualizer.

– Art Reisman (CTO)

In this Issue:

:: Tips for Optimizing Your 8.5 Installation

:: 8.5 Product Demonstration Guide

:: 8.5 Product Demonstration Site

:: Best of Blog: QoS Over The Internet – Is It Possible? Five Must-Know Facts

Tips for Optimizing Your 8.5 Installation

Using Wildcarding with Hostnames & Making Pools Even Better!

We are very happy to announce that our 8.5 Release is now Generally Available.

Tip #1: Using Wildcarding with Host Names
For those of you that are experimenting with the new 8.5 Release, we encourage you to try our reporting by DNS Host Name feature. One tip that will come in handy when using this feature is our wild card (*) prefix feature. For example, on a system here in our home office we use multiple security cameras, which all register their cloud DNS name as “tag”.amazonaws.com. The “tag” prefix is different for each camera, hence if we want to see the total upload traffic we set up our host name as “*.amazonaws.com.” which causes the NetEqualizer reporting chart to show us the aggregate traffic of all cameras.

In this first picture, you can see that we have set up *.amazonaws.com. as a Tracked Host, by adding it to RTR -> Traffic History -> Manage Tracked Hosts.

In our second picture, you can see the Download traffic has been aggregated for *amazonaws.com for the last week. This is a great tool to help us see the total usage on our network for our security cameras. When the download traffic is 0, our cameras were down.

Tip #2: Making Pools Even Better
Pools are a very powerful tool within the NetEqualizer that essentially allow you to take a segment of your network and apply a virtual NetEqualizer to a group of users. Up until the 8.5 Release, the virtual NetEqualizer within a Pool was forced to use the global parameter of HOGMIN or RATIO to trigger when Equalizing would kick in. For large networks with small pools this often created a dilemma. Do you tune your HOGMIN and RATIO for the entire Network or for the smaller pool segment? The good news is in 8.5 you no longer have to choose. When you define or edit your Pool configuration you can set a local RATIO and HOGMIN specific for each pool you define.

This is a great way to offer difference levels of service to groups of users. For example, you may want Equalizing to kick in sooner for one Pool, but allow larger traffic to go through without being equalized. You would do this by setting a lower RATIO and are larger HOGMIN than your global parameters. This is shown in our example below, where Pool 102 “Tier 2” has a RATIO = 80% and HOGMIN of 3Mbps. This is compared to the global RATIO of 85% and HOGMIN of 2Mbps. Pool 103 “Tier 3” is using the global default parameters, which is shown using brackets [ ].

If you are interested in exploring the 8.5 Release, and how you might use pool-specific RATIO and HOGMIN or DNS Host Names, please contact us. The 8.5 Release is free to customers with valid NSS (NetEqualizer Software and Support) subscriptions.

8.5 Product Demonstration Guide

We have now updated updated our Product Demonstration Guide to reflect the 8.5 Release!

In particular, the NetEqualizer Monitoring & Reporting section now shows the new Active Connections table with the penalties column, our updated NetEqualizer Log showing color-coded penalty information, and our new Traffic Graph by Host Name.
This guide is a great resource for anyone on your team that you would like to acquaint with the key features & functions of the NetEqualizer.  Use it standalone, or as a guide to walkthrough the Product Demonstration Site.
You can view the 8.5 Product Demonstration Guide here.

8.5 Product Demonstration Site

Take a look at our new 8.5 Product Demo Site!

We’ve updated our Product Demonstration (Demo) Site to the 8.5 Release. The Product Demon Site gives you a preview of the entire NetEqualizer user interface, with most features enabled. If you’ve been curious about NetEqualizer, this is a great place to start. See all of the NetEqualizer Setup Screens, along with Reporting and Maintenance interfaces.

You can view the 8.5 Product Demo Site here: http://bit.ly/2jfVCQr

Username: neteq
Password: neteq

In addition, take a look at our new secondary login for Read-Only users that focuses on Reporting, by going to the same link but using our demo reporting login:

Go to the 8.5 Product Demo Site here: http://bit.ly/2jfVCQr

Username: report
Password: report

Please contact us if you are interested in an online webex demo with our Sales Team or have any questions!

Best Of Blog

QoS Over The Internet – Is it possible?

FIVE MUST-KNOW FACTS

By Art Reisman

For those of you that are moving to a cloud architecture, you are reaping the benefits of lower costs and a simplified IT infrastructure, but lest we forget – you are concentrating your business applications on your Internet link. The following article gives some nice insight into ensuring QoS for those applications, and what to look out for as you move away from a WAN based infrastructure.

I had an inquiry from a potential customer yesterday asking if we could monitor their QoS. I was a bit miffed as to what to tell them. At first, the question struck me as if they’d asked if we can monitor electrons on their power grid. In other words, it was a legitimate question in a sense, but of what use would it be to monitor QoS? I then asked him why he had implemented QoS in the first place. How did he know he needed it?

Photo of the Month
Early Fall in the Mountains – views of Breckenridge Ski Resort…

One of our staff members just returned from an early fall trip to the mountains, which is a great time to start seeing fall color and also to escape late summer heat!  This shot was taken from a hiking trail on the east side of Breckenridge, where the grasses and aspens were all starting to turn yellow, orange, and red.  You can also see the Breckenridge ski slopes off in the distance.

APconnections, home of the NetEqualizer | (303) 997-1300 | Email | Website 

The Benefits of Slow Internet


By Art Reisman

CTO http://www.netequalizer.com

 

A few weekends a year I spend time at our rural retreat out in the middle of high plains of Kansas.  My internet options are very limited.  We have Wild Blue as a Satellite provider. Their service is on average worse than dial-up when it is working, and there are many reasons for it to randomly go out. Including heavy rain, woodpeckers destroying the plastic cap on the center of the dish, and just random congestion that can occur at any time of the day.  There was also the time I accidentally used up my data quota after leaving the Internet radio on for a week.  In response, they shut off my service without any notification.

As a back up to the wild blue, I have a 40 foot repeater antenna on the roof that picks up a 3g signal from the local wireless provider. If I sit right under the repeater, in a closet, I can get a data signal on my phone for those emergencies when I must respond to an e-mail, so technically I am not completely off grid.

 

When the Internet goes down , I will  fight for hours resetting routers and checking cables, just like my  1-year-old grandson screaming for hours when overtired. I will not give up my Internet access without a fight.

 

But then it happens. At some point I give up.  The Internet is unusable or completely gone.  With great relief, I look over at my night stand, where I have a stack of unread nature books that sits for months at a time. Much like the island of misfit toys, these books just need to be read.  My favorite nature  writer Richard Coniff  lulls  me into  a wonderful world without politics, without doomsday weather events for which I have no control, no angry customer e-mails :) For several hours I can enjoy nature and the glorious rhythm of life without the Internet.

No Patents for This Bandwidth Shaper


By Art Reisman

CTO http://www.netequalizer.com

I often get asked if our NetEqualizer Technology is Patented. And the answer is NO.  The Netequalizer secret sauce is buried deep within our code , and is protected by copy right law.

As for patents, I have a disdain for software patents which was exemplified in this 2007 article that I wrote for Extreme Tech Magazine which explains my position.  Here is an excerpt

The problem with this patent, like many others in a misguided flood of new filings, is that it describes an obvious process to solve a naturally occurring problem.

For the full article click here “Analysis  Confessions of a Patent Holder

6 Tips for Installing a Wireless Network


I have been involved with supporting thousands of wireless networks over the past 14 years. From large professional sports arena’s to small home networks, I have seen successes and failures alike.  What follows are my learnings from living  with the pain and the success of these networks.

 

  1. Do not cut corners on coverage. The biggest and most egregious mistake that our customers have made over the years is shopping price over coverage.   The fewer access points installed the lower the net cost of the install. You may not realize  this mistake during initial trials.  Once your network is at full capacity coverage issues can be a nightmare for both customer and vendor.
  2. Use the best available  technology.  There are many different flavors of technology when installing a wireless network.  Note, the best technology may not be the most expensive, and the newest technology may not be the most reliable. As for specific recommendations on technology , I will include information in the comments section as information becomes available.
  3. Don’t let the advertised SPEED of  access point specifications overly influence your decision.  There are many factors that ultimately affect the end-user connection speed. In many cases the top advertised speed of an access point is unattainable. For an analogy would you pay an extra $50,000 for a car that could go 200 MPH when the speed limit is 75?    I have seen buildings with a 100 megabit  link to the Internet , purchasing 20 1 G access points.  Even for future expansion purposes this is way too much overkill,
  4. When choosing an IT company to help with the install, The midsize or small company in your area is likely a better bet than the large IT company.   I have personal experience working with a company that went from a great company to work with to a nightmare over a period of years. The reason was as they got bigger and hired more employees,  their talent pool become more diluted ,their prices got higher, while their work quality become a sore point with their customers.
  5. For large complex installations think about paying for a simulation. A company like Candelatech , specializes in simulating various loads on wireless networks and is well worth the up front investment prior to build out.
  6. Congestion control. Disclaimer: Yes we make a bandwidth controller and yes we are biased toward this technology. On many networks the best design and best wireless equipment are rendered irrelevant if there is not enough bandwidth to feed the animals.  A wide open heavily used network will come to  a halt without  some form of intelligent bandwidth control.

NetEqualizer News: July 2017


We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter. Highlights include our 8.5 Release is Generally Available, along with an updated Quick Start Guide, our new DNS Traffic Tracking, and more!

 

July 2017

 

8.5 Release is Generally Available!
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.

In our last newsletter, we mentioned that 8.5 development was complete. This month we are happy to announce that we have finished our testing phase (thanks test team!), and 8.5 is officially Generally Available! In this month’s newsletter we offer you detailed 8.5 Release Notes, preview some of the favorite 8.5 screens, and also provide the updated Quick Start Guide.

We will be updating the User Guide to 8.5 shortly, look to hear more in an upcoming newsletter.

We continue to work with you to solve some of your most pressing network problems – so if you have one that you would like to discuss with us, please call or email me anytime at 303.997.1300 x103 or art@apconnections.net.

And remember we are now on Twitter. You can follow us @NetEqualizer.

– Art Reisman (CTO)

In this Issue:

:: The 8.5 Release is Ready!

:: 8.5 Release Notes

:: 8.5 Release Quick Start Guide

:: Let NetEqualizer Be Your Bandwidth Referee

:: Best of Blog: Tracking Traffic by DNS

The 8.5 Release is Ready

8.5 Release is GA!

We are very happy to announce that our 8.5 Release is now Generally Available.

By far the most exciting and pleasant surprise feature is the reporting by DNS name. This essentially gives NetEqualizer reporting the ability to show detailed traffic by type without the need for expensive and unreliable Layer 7 filtering. The ramifications and the history on why this is possible make for an interesting story, and thus we have dedicated a full article on the subject – see here. This is just one of the many exciting features available in our 8.5 Release – we preview some of these below…

1) DNS Visibility (Hostname Reporting)
As mentioned above, we are very excited about the new ability to track and view traffic flows by hostnames. With the 8.5 Release, you can view hostnames in the Active Connections table:

And, you can track these hosts by adding them to Traffic History-> Manage Tracked Hosts, as shown below. This enables you to view data by hostname in our Traffic History graphs, as shown in the graph below. This is in addition to our current offerings of Traffic History by IP address, Pool, or VLAN:

2) Login and Logout
The 8.5 Release also has more security features added – including login/logout, session management, and HTTPS.

3) Color-coding in the NetEqualizer Log
We’ve also enhanced the ability to read the log file by adding color-coded markings to our log entries. In 8.5, this includes penalty and informational entries. Below we show how information-only entries are highlighted:

These markings will show new penalties, increased penalties, decreased penalties, and removed penalties, as well as informational entries about traffic that is going through your NetEqualizer (see above).

4) Pool-specific Equalizing (Pool Level Ratio and Hog Minimum)
One of the most requested features we’ve heard from our users, the 8.5 Release has the ability to fine tune your Pool settings even further with pool-specific HOGMIN and RATIO parameters.

Feel free to use the network-wide defaults or create your own! The changes will be reflected in the Pool dashboard:

There are many more changes that we are know you will be excited to see. If you are interested in the 8.5 Release, please contact us. The 8.5 Release is free to customers with valid NSS (NetEqualizer Software and Support) subscriptions.

8.5 Release Notes
You have read about some of our 8.5 features & screens above.  If you are interested in learning more about 8.5, you can read our official 8.5 Release Notes, which as always, are posted on our NetEqualizer Blog site (www.netequalizernews.com).

8.5 Release Quick Start Guide

Take a look at our new Quick Start Guide!

We are happy to share a preview of our updated Quick Start Guide, which now reflects our 8.5 Release!

Some of the key changes now discussed include:

1) our new Login/Log Out capability, highlighted on Page 4.
2) our enhanced Active Connections Table on Page 11, which now shows penalty status for each data flow.
3) our “visual” NetEqualizer Log on Page 12, which contains detailed color-coded information about penalty statuses.

As this is the Demo Version, it does not contain passwords. As always, we ship the full Quick Start Guide with each NetEqualizer unit, so that you will receive an updated version with passwords each time you purchase a NetEqualizer.

Click here or on the image at right to view the full Quick Start Guide.

Let NetEqualizer Be Your Bandwidth Referee

NetEqualizer works so well you won’t even notice it!

The best compliment you can give an umpire or referee in a sporting event is that you did not notice them, and with that example in mind we can safely say our configuration checking is doing its job.

It is rare for us to get Support calls regarding configuration mistakes. This invisibility and smoothness of operation is due to ongoing work behind the scenes to make sure that configuration changes make sense and guide the user away from common mistakes. With every release we improve in this area! I’m sure our long-time customers from the very early days (circa 2005) would not recognize the GUI and ease of use if they made a jump all in one step.

As part of our 8.5 offering, our Support Team has enhanced their configuration validation capabilities. When you send in your diagnostic file, they can now automatically check your Traffic Limits and P2P Limits against a more complex set of validity rules, including unintended overlapping IP ranges.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this 8.5 feature, contact our Support Team to learn more.

Best Of Blog

Tracking Traffic by DNS

By Art Reisman

The video rental industry of the early 80’s was comprised of 1000’s of independent stores. Corner video rental shops were as numerous as today’s Starbucks. In the late 1990’s, consolidation took over. Blockbuster, with its bright blue canopy lighting up the night sky, swallowed them up like doggy treats. All the small retail outlets were gone. Blockbuster had changed everything – their economy of scale, and their chain store familiarity, had overrun the small operators…

Photo of the Month
After the storm – summer vacation on the lake…

One of our staff members just returned from a lake vacation, which in my opinion is the best kind of vacation in summer. This shot was taken right after a rainstorm on the lake. The sun peaking through the clouds really highlighted the landscape and made the rainbow stunning.

APconnections, home of the NetEqualizer | (303) 997-1300 | Email | Website 

Tracking Traffic by DNS


The video rental industry of the early 80’s was comprised of 1000’s of independent stores.  Corner video rental shops were as numerous as today’s Starbucks.  In the late 1990’s, consolidation took over.  Blockbuster with its bright blue canopy lighting up the night sky swallowed them up like doggy treats.   All the small retail outlets were gone. Blockbuster had changed everything, their economy of scale, and their chain store familiarity, had overrun the small operators.

In a similar fashion to the fledgling video rental industry, circa 1990’s Internet content was scattered across the spectrum of the web, ripe for consolidation.  I can still remember all of the geeks at my office creating and hosting their own personal websites. They used primitive tools and their own public IP’s to weave these sites together.  Movies  and music were bootlegged, and shared across a network of underground file-sharing sites.

Although we do not have one Internet “Blockbuster” today, there has been major consolidation.  Instead of all traffic coming from 100’s of thousands of personal or small niche content providers, most of it comes from the big content providers. Google, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Pinterest are all familiar names today.

So far I have reminisced about a nice bit of history, and I suspect you might be wondering how all of this prelude relates to tracking traffic by DNS?

Three years ago we added a DNS (domain name system) server lookup from our GUI interface, as more of a novelty than anything else. Tracking traffic by content was always a high priority for our customers, but most techniques had relied on a technology called “deep packet inspection” to identify traffic.  This technology was costly, and ineffective on its best day, but it was the only way to chase down nefarious content such as P2P.

Over the last couple of years I noticed again the world had changed. With the consolidation of content from a small number of large providers, you could now count on some consistency in the domain from which it originated.  I would often click on our DNS feature and notice a common name for my data.   For example, my YouTube videos resolved to one or two DNS names,  and I found the same to be true with my Facebook video.  We realized that this consolidation might make DNS tracking useful for our customers, and so we have now put DNS tracking into our current NetEqualizer 8.5 release.

Another benefit of tracking by domain is the fact that most encrypted data will report a valid domain.  This should help to identify traffic patterns on a network.

It will be interesting to get feedback on this feature as it hits the real world, stay tuned!

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