NetEqualizer News: October 2017


We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter. Highlights include a preview of our Reporting Only NetEqualizer, our customers’ favorite 8.5 features, and some tech tips!

 

October 2017

 

Reporting Only NetEqualizer
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.
As fall settles in here in Colorado, we are enjoying the cool evening weather and watching the leaves turn. It is truly a beautiful time of year to live in the Rocky Mountains! In this month’s newsletter, we announce our new offering – a Reporting Only NetEqualizer, for those of you who would like to use our technology to view network traffic and troubleshoot network issues. Read more below to see how this new offering might work in your environment. We are turning our attention to planning for 2018, now that we have completed our 8.5 Release. As always, we welcome your input into the release planning process. This month you can share your ideas with us! In this month’s newsletter we also offer you 8.5 Customer Favorite Features, and NetEqualizer Tech Tips, along with our ever-popular Best of Blog article.

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:

:: Reporting Only NetEqualizer

:: 8.5 Customer Favorites

:: Have a Say – Ideas for the Next Release

:: NetEqualizer Tech Tips

:: Best of Blog: The New Bandwidth Paradigm

Reporting Only NetEqualizer

With Attractive Pricing!

For about half the cost of our full featured NetEqualizer, you can now purchase a NetEqualizer with a Reporting License only. Our Reporting Only option enables you to view your network usage data in real-time (as of this second), as well as view historical usage to see your network usage trends. Reporting can help you to troubleshoot your network, from identifying DDoS and virus activity, to assessing for possible unwanted P2P traffic.

You might consider a Reporting Only NetEqualizer for a site where you would like better visibility into your network, and also think you may need to shape at some point. It could also help you to assess a network segment from a traffic flow perspective.

And the great thing is, we always protect your investment in our technology. If at a later time you do decide you want to use our state-of-the-art shaping technology, you have not lost your initial investment in the NetEqualizer. You can always upgrade and only pay the price difference.

What features come in Release 1 (R.v1) of the Reporting Only NetEqualizer?

Graphics Tools
• Reporting by IP, real time and historical usage
• Reporting by Subnet, VLAN real time and historical usage
• Reporting by Domain Name (Yahoo, Facebook etc) – Real time and historical
• Real-time spreadsheet style snapshot of all existing connections

Below is a sample report by domain name screen.

Troubleshooting Tools
• Top Uploaders & Downloaders
• Abusive behavior due to Viruses
• DDoS detection
• P2P detection
• Alerts and Alarms for Quota Overages
• Peak Bandwidth Alerting

More features to come in our next release. Please put in your request now!

Reporting Only prices include first year support.
NE3000-R 500Mbps price $3000
NE3000-R 1Gbps price $4000
NE4000-R 5Gbps price $6000

Note that Reporting Only NetEqualizers can be license-upgraded in the field to enable full shaping features at any time. In this configuration, we are offering bundled hardware warranty (NHW) and software upgrades & support (NSS) for only $500 per year.

8.5 Customer Favorites

Based on feedback from customers, here are the most-liked features of 8.5. Make sure to check these out if you have not already done so.

Pool-Specific Shaping Parameters

We have found that customers really like the ability to control their pool parameters for shaping. At first we were afraid that perhaps this feature might be too deep, especially for a new customer, but so far when we explain it, people really like it. Historically, you could only control the Ratio and Hogmin parameters for the entire NetEqualizer. But now, you can control them at a pool level – giving you even more control over your shaping.

Auto-scaling Graphs

Our graphs can be set so that the scale of each conforms to the data on the screen (auto-scaling), or they can reflect any data that is stored in history (fixed scaling). We learned recently how one of our customers loves auto-scaling, as his data can vary significantly over time. As he uses the Top Uploader & Top Downloaders on a daily basis, he needs the graphs to only reflect the current day in their scaling. We learned this one the hard way – it was offered in 8.4 but not in initial 8.5. Read below in our NetEqualizer Tech Tips section to see how to set up Auto-Scaling in your environment.

Have a Say

Ideas for the Next Release…

What would you like to see in our Next Release? Please let us know! To get you thinking, we’ve thrown out a few ideas here:
VM release for remote locations where logistics complicate hardware delivery?
• 20 Gigabit Shaping?
• Cloud Storage for Reports?
• Customizable Report Exports?
• Enhance Automated Alerts?
• Equalizing Self-Tuning?

NetEqualizer Tech Tips

Every few newsletters, we like to give readers and customers tips on how to best use the NetEqualizer. This month, we highlight the following NetEqualizer Technical Tips:

Implementing HTTPS

Did you know that we support HTTPS? If you have version 8.4 or better then the https access is already installed. You may need to open your https port on your firewall but you should be able to go to https://YourNetEqIP/ and it should work. It only has a self signed certificate so you may need to make an exception for it in your browser.

8.5 Fix: Auto-scaling your graph timeline

If you are one of the users who prefers to have your graphs auto-scale to what is displayed, this tip is for you! Simply follow these instructions and you’ll be all set.

  1. Navigate to the Maintenance -> Troubleshooting Tools -> Edit Any Text File page
  2. In the field “Full path to file:” type: /var/www/newgui/RTR/top-downloaders.php And hit submit.
  3. The top-downloaders.php file will now appear. Find the following string in that file: max: <?php echo niceMaxAxis($maxx); ?>
  4. DELETE that line completely. Click Save.
  5. Navigate back to Maintenance -> Troubleshooting Tools -> Edit Any Text File page
  6. In the field “Full path to file:” type: /var/www/newgui/RTR/top-uploaders.php
  7. And hit submit.
  8. The top-unloaders.php file will now appear. Find the following string in that file: max: <?php echo niceMaxAxis($maxx); ?>
  9. DELETE that line completely. Click Save.
  10. Your graphs should now scale to what’s displayed.

Best Of Blog

The New Bandwidth Paradigm

By Art Reisman
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.

Photo of the Month
Summer Concerts Come to an End

Hanging on to summer memories, Firefall closes out the summer concert series held most Fridays in the summer in Louisville, Colorado.

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

NetEqualizer Reporting Only License now Available for Purchase


For about half the cost of the full-featured NetEqualizer, you can now purchase a NetEqualizer with a Reporting Only License.  Our Reporting Only option enables you to view your network usage data in real-time (as of this second), as well as to view historical usage to see your network usage trends.

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 3.59.43 PM

Live Screen Shot Showing Overall Bandwidth In Real Time

 Reporting can help you to troubleshoot your network, from identifying DDoS and virus activity, to assessing for possible unwanted P2P traffic.

You might consider a Reporting Only NetEqualizer for a site where you would like better visibility into your network, and also think you may need to shape at some point.  It could also help you to assess a network segment from a traffic flow perspective.

And the great thing is, we always protect your investment in our technology.  If at a later time you do decide you want to use our state-of-the-art shaping technology, you have not lost your initial investment in the NetEqualizer.  You can always upgrade and only pay the price difference.

What features come in Release 1 (R.v1) of the Reporting Only NetEqualizer?

  • Reporting by IP , real time and historical usage
  • Reporting by Subnet , VLAN  real time and historical usage
  • Reporting by Domain Name ( Yahoo, Facebook etc) Real time and historical
  • Real-time spreadsheet style snapshot of all existing connections

Troubleshooting Tools

  • Top Uploaders & Downloaders
  • Abusive behavior due to Viruses
  • DDoS detection
  • P2P detection
  • Alerts and Alarms for Quota Overages
  • Peak Bandwidth Alerting

More features to come in our next release, please put in your request now!

Reporting Only prices include first year support.  Prices listed below are good through 3/31/2018.  After March 2018, contact us for current pricing.

NE3000-R 500Mbps price   $3000
NE3000-R 1Gbps price      $4000
NE4000-R 5Gbps price       $6000

Note that Reporting Only NetEqualizers can be license-upgraded in the field to enable full   shaping capabilities.

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.
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