Editor’s Note: As NetEqualizer’s popularity has grown, more and more users have been sharing their experiences on message boards and listservs across the Internet. Just to give you an idea of what they’re saying, here a few of the reviews and discussion excerpts that have been posted online over the past several months…
Tom Phelan, Peddie School
From 2nd week in Feb, 2010 ISED-L listserv archive
For QoS we used several different traditional QoS solutions over the years. We have Websense, but we don’t use it to manage QoS issues, just access to certain sites. After years of constantly tweaking QoS rules and never being completely satisfied with the results we decided to go a completely different direction and bought NetEqualizer (http://www.netequalizer.com/) in Sept 2008 I think. Once we set it up we haven’t touched it and we’ll never go back. We haven’t tweaked a rule in well over a year. You can read about how it works on their website, but in a nutshell it takes a completely different approach to QoS. Rather than using a complex set of rules, it takes a protocol and URL agnostic approach to QoS and focuses exclusively on bandwidth usage.
Basically, it works by slowing down only the top bandwidth users once usage hits a defined percentage of overall bandwidth. For example, when our bandwidth usage is less than 85% the NetEqualizer does nothing. When it goes over 85% the NE puts a slight delay on packets from top users and progressively adds a delay to their packets to ensure bandwidth stays below the defined connection max. The effect is that the vast majority of users see no degradation of service and bandwidth hogs have their connections slowed. It takes into account bursty traffic like HTTP by calculating bandwidth based on several seconds of traffic so web browsing is rarely affected. There are some rules to allow exceptions for servers or special devices, facilitate low bandwidth streaming, put caps on certain IP addresses, etc., but we have found that a minimalist approach to configuration works best.
In addition to providing a better experience for our users, we’ve also seen our average bandwidth usage go way up because during off peak times nobody is getting slowed. We pay for the bandwidth, why not use it? I highly recommend it and its simplicity makes it relatively cheap. It is a fraction of the cost of many other QoS solutions.
I recommend using the NetEqualizer for QoS and let ISA stick to what it does best which is to control access not manage QoS.
Dave Barker, Broadlinc Communications
I just wanted to let you guys at Netequalizer know how much I depend on my NE2000. I am a small ISP with about 360 customers and I would be lost without the Netequalizer. The people there are always very friendly and quick to respond. Keep up the great work.
Kevin Kershner, CS&T Inc.
I admin several NetEqualizers in hospital and county couthouse networks and the clients love them. They let employees have freedom from whitelists and yet keep data lines open for legit traffic, makes for happier employees.
Damien McNabb, Ronaldcom.ca
We provide IT support and services for a large hotel and conference center here in Russell Manitoba. Since installing the NetEqualizer our Internet Congestion during peak usage has disappeared. I was so impressed with the NetEqualizer that we are now installing two more NetEqualizer units at other smaller resort properties here in town.
Craig Mackay, Director, Mascon Cable Systems, AirSpeed Wireless Inc
We just returned from the cable operators convention here in Canada. We were surprised to learn that similar operators without the benefit on a NetEqualizer often needed as much as 250 megabits sustained bandwidth to keep 650 users running. We on the other hand run about 4000 on 60 megabits made possible by the unique abilities of our NetEqualizer to distribute out the load over time more efficiently. That translates to the NetEqualizer investment paying for itself many times over…
I’d also recommend you look at the NetEqualizer. We evaluated it this summer along with several other packet-shaping solutions. We also needed to upgrade our NetEnforcer to handle more than 100M for our ResHalls, but we weren’t impressed with its P2P classification. As a matter of fact, we haven’t had much success using L7 packet inspection of P2P traffic with other solutions: either using our Fortigate firewalls, the Packeteer box we used before, or the NetEnforcer we just retired. We don’t block P2P, but we do want to throttle it. You can be diligent about updating your policies from the manufacturer as soon as they’re released; however, we found a significant amout of P2P traffic still bypassed the filters right after an update because it wasn’t identified properly.
Our work-around with the NetEnforcer was to throttle the number of connections per second and limit the total amount of bandwidth per IP. But we always felt we were constraining our available resources, particularly by reducing bandwidth per IP, as we were limiting a person’s bandwidth to DSL/Cable-like levels just because of lack of L7 capabilities.
With the NetEqualizer, we’re still limiting the number of connections per second, but we’re using the “behavior” algorithms to dynamically adjust bandwidth per IP so all users are given a fair amount of bandwidth. But at the same time, we’re still able to throttle P2P traffic just as effectively without it affecting quality video streaming or anything else non-P2P related.
Last, the cost is 1/4th to 1/7th less than a comparable L7 solution. We were able to buy 2 NetEqualizer units and hook them to both our public core boxes for redundancy. The total price was astoundling less than any other solution we looked at, except one which didn’t meet our requirements. For the other solutions, the price you’re paying is to invest in their R&D efforts to classify L7 traffic accurately and manage it effectively. But our experience using the NetEqualizer for the last 2 months has been that it manages bandwidth just as well, if not better.
In our case, we have just less than 2000 residents, but we also have wireless clients on the Academic side that go through the same NetEqualizer (NE3000). Our second unit is strictly for failover. I’ve seen up to 4500 active users, which at night we give 150M of bandwidth. Even at peak (100%) utilization of the allotted bandwidth, the NetEqualizer gives great results.
Daniel. K. Biodun
VPN / Support
Network Operation Center Dept (NOC)
Coollink Nigeria’s ICT powerhouse.
We use NetEqualizer to manage our growing broadband network across Nigeria. It definitely gave us a return on investment right away.