NetEqualizer News: May 2016


We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter.  Highlights include updates on upcoming Release 8.4, Seven Network Troubleshooting Tips, a reminder about the upcoming ASCUE conference, and also our complimentary Tech Refresh offering.

May 2016
Release 8.4 will debut in June! 
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.

art photo for NLSpring has sprung in Colorado (finally!).  We are being treated to sunny days, mixed with cool winds and rain.  On the nice days, I like to birdwatch.  If you ever want to read a great story about birders, check out “The Big Year“.  The book is great; unfortunately the movie was a box office bomb!

2016 feels like a Big Year for the NetEqualizer!  We think you will agree that our 8.4 Release is a game changer.  We have added many batch configuration screens, which streamline the whole set-up process. 8.4 is expected to be Generally Available (GA) in June. Read below to learn more.

This month our favorite blog article gives you Seven Network Troubleshooting Tips, useful to those that do not troubleshoot on a daily basis!

Don’t forget that there is still time to register for ASCUE! We will be represented at the ASCUE Conference June 12-16th. Join Young Harris College at their talk featuring the NetEqualizer.
 
And finally, if you have not already taken advantage of our FREE Tech Refresh, what are you waiting for?  Contact us today to schedule your session.
If you have feedback, ideas, or questions for me, please email me anytime at art@apconnections.net.

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

– Art Reisman (CTO)

In this Issue:

:: NetEqualizer Release 8.4 Debuts in June!

:: Renew your NetEqualizer Knowledge with a Tech Refresh

:: Learn about the NetEqualizer at ASCUE June 12-16

:: Best of Blog: Seven Must Know Network Troubleshooting Tips

NetEqualizer Release 8.4 Debuts in June!

A Few of My Favorite Things about Release 8.4….

Comments by Art Reisman
Last month we detailed some of the new features coming out in our 8.4 Release. To be honest, at the time of the last newsletter, I had not actually kicked the tires on it. These past few weeks I have been using it extensively, and have been really quite impressed. Here are some of my notes on what I love about 8.4.

#1) The Updated NetEqualizer Dashboard 

The Dashboard, with a ticker tape type live monitor, finally provides a clean professional look that the NetEqualizer deserves. From here you access four core areas: 1) Setup, 2) RTR, 3) DDoS, and 4) Maintenance. One change that you will love to see – your key is now listed in Mbps or Gbps. Below you can see under “Authorized to Pass” the key is for 10Gbps. The new curb appeal certainly has had a positive effect on recent customers that have previewed 8.4.

#2) Batch Configuration!

You now will have the ability to edit and modify all of your rules in a spreadsheet-type format from the GUI.  In my opinion, this was long overdue, so I am excited that we have finally been able to incorporate this feature into our GUI.

Previously, this was only possible by directly editing our configuration file.  While certainly efficient, it used to be a risky proposition, as there was no checking for malformed rules. With the GUI front end, error checking is now in place to look for common data validation errors such as properly formed IP addresses and valid positive integers where required.  There are also warning messages to help alert you as needed.  And as you can see below, you can name your Pools to something meaningful on your network (here they are called Test Pool 1, Test 2, and Test 3).


#3) Easily Set Time and Time Zone

The new GUI also has an easy way to set the time and pick a timezone – no more logging in to the NetEqualizer terminal! (enough said)

#4) See Everything in the Units you Choose

You can now choose your units for almost the entire interface!  No longer will you have to convert your trunk up and trunk down when setting those up for Equalizing.  You will now see them in the configuration units that you choose (Mbps, Kbps, Bps).  And you can select different units for graphs and configuration, if you prefer.   

 

Check back next month to get your copy of Release 8.4! 

As with all software releases, the 8.4 Release will be free to all customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS).

Renew your NetEqualizer Knowledge with a Tech Refresh

If you have not already scheduled a Tech Refresh, consider it!

Our FREE* Tech Refresh sessions (*with valid NSS) are conducted via webex, so you do not even have to leave your office to renew your NetEqualizer knowledge!Please take advantage of this offering, especially if you have new staff, are upgrading to a new release, or would like to learn more about our new features.  We receive glowing feedback on these sessions – they are only 30 minutes to one (1) hour and are worth the time!

These sessions can ensure that you and your team get the most out of your NetEqualizer!

Here are just a few of the benefits:
  • Learn about new releases – We are constantly evolving and enhancing our product. Tech Refreshes can help quickly get you up-to-speed on what is new!
  • Learn about features you are not using (yet) – Maybe you would like to use DDoS or RTR but need to better understand how they work. You can use this time to get acquainted with all the NetEqualizer has to offer.
  • Quickly educate a new employee – Our Tech Refreshes make training a new staff member on NetEqualizer a breeze!
  • Ask questions and review your configuration – Use this time to make sure that your unit is optimally configured, and ask any NetEqualizer questions that you have been curious about.
Schedule your Tech Refresh today by clicking the link below!
Tech Refreshes are free to all customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS).  We also offer full-day Onsite Training for you and your team, contact us for availability and pricing.
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Learn about the NetEqualizer at ASCUE  June 12-16

Join Young Harris College at ASCUE! 

Learn how they use the NetEqualizer to solve network congestion

 
It is almost here!  If you work in higher education, join your colleagues at ASCUE this spring, June 12-16th in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  And if you have ever wanted to learn more about how the NetEqualizer is used in higher education to resolve network congestion, you can hear all about it at ASCUE!

One of our long-time customers, Hollis Townsend, Director of Technology Support and Operations at Young Harris College, will be talking about his experience with the NetEqualizer in his talk at ASCUE.  Hollis’ presentation is titled “Shaping Bandwidth – Learning to Love Netflix on Campus“.

Young Harris has been using NetEqualizer to solve their network congestion issues since July, 2007. They have upgraded their NetEQ as their network has grown over the years, and currently run an NE3000 with a 1Gbps license.
We are also happy to announce that APconnections, home of the NetEqualizer, will be a Silver Sponsor at the ASCUE Conference. We will be giving away a great door prize – a Fitbit fitness watch!
It is not too late to register.  Visit the ASCUE website for details!
 

ASCUE is the Association Supporting Computer Users in Education and they have been around since 1968. Members hail from all over North America. ASCUE’s mission is to provide opportunities for resource-sharing, networking, and collaboration within an environment that fosters creativity and innovation in the use of technology within higher education.

Best Of Blog

Seven Must Know Network Troubleshooting Tips

By Art Reisman – CTO
 
Editor’s Note: This article contains some great tips to troubleshoot your network. While our network administrators already know this, others may not.  We hope this helps you the next time you are staring at a “loading…” message, and wondering what is going on!  
To get started you’ll need to get a hold of two key software tools: 1) Ping Tool and 2) a Network Scan Tool, both which I describe in more detail below.  And for advanced analysis (experts only), I will then show you how you can use a bandwidth shaper/sniffer if needed.

Ping Tool

Ping is a great tool to determine what your network responsiveness is (in milliseconds), identified by trying to get a response from a typical website. If you do not already know how to use Ping on your device there are hundreds of references to Ping and how to use it.  Simply google “how to use ping ” on your favorite device or computer to learn how to use it.
For example, I found these instructions for my MAC; and there are similar instructions for Windows, iPhone, Linux, Android, etc.
  1. Open Network Utility (located inside Applications > Utilities).
  2. Click Ping.
  3. Fill out the “Enter the network that you want to ping” field. You can enter the IP address or a web URL. For example, enter http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer to test the ping with that website.
  4. Click Ping.

Network Scan Tool

There are a variety of network SCAN tools/apps available for just about any consumer device or computer.  The decent ones will cost a few dollars, but I have never regretted purchasing one.  I use mine often for very common home and business network issues as I will detail in the tips below. Be sure and use the term “network scan tool” when searching, so you do not get confusing results about unrelated document scanning tools.
Once you get your scan tool installed, test it out by selecting Network Scan. Here is the output from my MAC scan tool.  I will be referencing this output later in the article.

Photo Of The Month

Cross That River

I had no idea that there were still Ferry Crossings along the Mississippi River. I took this photo in April, 2016 while traveling through the area.  Those trees in the background are in Kentucky, and I am standing in Missouri.

NetEqualizer News: March 2016


We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter. Highlights include features from Release 8.4, our 2016 Leasing Program, and a presentation highlighting the NetEqualizer at the 2016 ASCUE Conference.

March 2016
Release 8.4 is almost here!
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.

I write this today in the midst of a spring blizzard in Colorado. So far it appears that I have at least 15 inches of snow and drifts up to three feet outside my house, while it continues to blow more snow in at 35 miles an hour. Just another typical March day in Colorado! I was hoping to talk about spring in this newsletter, but now it seems far away.0fad184f-5ea1-44c3-ad71-1093fd99f808

This month we are talking about our upcoming release, slated for May, which features a lot of cool Usability Enhancements. Read below to learn more. We also continue our discussion on how the NetEqualizer is Cloud-Ready, as all things Cloud continues to be top-of-mind for all of us.

We are excited to announce that we will be represented at the ASCUE Conference in June. Join Young Harris College at their talk featuring the NetEqualizer.

And finally, we share more news about our 2016 Leasing Program, and how we are keeping bandwidth shaping affordable.
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And remember we are now on Twitter! You can now follow us @NetEqualizer.

We love it when we hear back from you – so if you have a story you would like to share with us of how we have helped you, let us know. Email me directly at art@apconnections.net. I would love to hear from you!

– Art Reisman (CTO)

In this issue:

:: NetEqualizer Release 8.4 – Enhanced Usability – Is Almost Ready!
:: Keeping Bandwidth Shaping Affordable
:: Join a Presentation on NetEqualizer at ASCUE in June 2016
:: Six Ways to Save with Cloud Computing

NetEqualizer Release 8.4 – Enhanced Usability – Is Almost Ready!
A Complete GUI Redesign!

We recently had the chance to kick the tires on our new 8.4 Release interface. It really has some significant wow factor type features. In hindsight, perhaps we should have called this NetEqualizer 9.0 and not just lowly 8.4. We have been talking about this release as a GUI Redesign & Pool Enhancements, but I really think 8.4 is a release full of Usability Enhancements, that will make it easier to manage and configure your NetEqualizer.
The biggest changes center on the the regular NetEqualizer GUI. We have transitioned everything to share the same look and feel as RTR. Here are some of the pages and features we are most excited about!1) Edit traffic limits on the fly without having to add/remove them one at a time! The screenshot below shows the Pool/VLAN shared limit interface. You can see the Pools, their names, and their associated members.mpxGG3D2) We added a cool new dashboard that serves as the homepage for NetEqualizer management (license key information blocked out in grey):dash3) The new GUI also has an easy way to set the time and pick a timezone – no more logging in to the NetEqualizer terminal!date4) You can now choose your units for the entire interface! This includes units for the configuration and RTR.unitesCheck back next month for an update on more exciting changes planned for 8.4!Our time frame for General Acceptance of this release is May of 2016.As with all software releases, the 8.4 Release will be free to all customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS).
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Keeping Bandwidth Shaping Affordable
NetEqualizer Leasing Program

At APconnections, we are proud of our reputation for offering affordable bandwidth shaping solutions. In the summer of 2013, we decided that we could help our customers that need to better align costs with recurring revenue, by offering a Leasing Program.lease

We are happy to announce that we have enhanced our lease offerings in 2016. Our “Standard” lease now comes with a 1Gbps license, and leases for $500 per month. Adding 1Gbps fiber at any of our lease levels just bumps up the price by $100 per month. And for those needing maximum performance, we now also give you access to an Enterprise-class NE4000 with our 5Gbps license and 10Gbps fiber.

If leasing is of interest to you, and you would like to learn more, you can view our Leasing Program agreement here.

Please note that the NetEqualizer Leasing Program is generally available to customers in the United States and Canada. If you are outside of these countries, contact us to see if leasing is available in your area.

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Join a Presentation on NetEqualizer at ASCUE in June 2016
Association Supporting Computer Users in Education

We are excited to announce that one of our long-time customers, Hollis Townsend, Director of Technology Support and Operations at Young Harris College, will be talking about his experience with the NetEqualizer in his talk at ASCUE, June 12-16, 2016 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.yhc

Young Harris has been using NetEqualizer to solve their network congestion issues since July, 2007. They have upgraded their NetEQ as their network has grown over the years, and currently run an NE3000 with a 1Gbps license.

We are also happy to announce that APconnections, home of the NetEqualizer, will be a Silver Sponsor at the ASCUE Conference. We will be giving away a great door prize – a Fitbit fitness watch!ascue

If you use technology in higher education, you may want to consider attending ASCUE this June. And if you have ever wanted to talk to a colleague about their experience with the NetEqualizer, please join Hollis’ presentation. His presentation is tentatively titled “Shaping Bandwidth – Learning to Love Netflix on Campus”.

ASCUE is the Association Supporting Computer Users in Education and they have been around since 1968. Members hail from all over North America. ASCUE’s mission is to provide opportunities for resource-sharing, networking, and collaboration within an environment that fosters creativity and innovation in the use of technology within higher education.

Click here to learn more about ASCUE or register for the June conference.

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Six Ways to Save with Cloud Computing
NetEqualizer Looks to the Clouds

We are continuing our focus on the cloud for NetEqualizer. The NetEqualizer is now cloud ready – as we’ve written about in previous newsletters. There are a lot of benefits to using the cloud in general. Here are just a few:

1) Fully utilized hardware
2) Lower power costs
3) Lower people costs
4) Zero capital costs
5) Resilience without redundancy
6) Lower network costs

The last one, lower network costs, is interesting. Since your business services are in the cloud, you can ditch all of those expensive MPLS links that you use to privately tie your offices to your back-end systems, and replace them with lower-cost commercial Internet links. You do not really need more bandwidth, just better bandwidth performance. The commodity Internet links are likely good enough, but when you move to the Cloud, you will need a smart bandwidth shaper.

Your link to the Internet becomes even more critical when you go the Cloud. But that does not mean bigger and more expensive pipes. Cloud applications are very lean and you do not need a big pipe to support them. You just need to make sure recreational traffic does not cut into your business application traffic.

The NetEqualizer fits perfectly as the bandwidth shaping product in the above infrastructure. Let us know if you have any questions about the cloud-ready NetEqualizer!

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Best Of Blog
How to Build Your Own Speed Test Tool

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

Editor’s Note: We often get asked to “prove” the NetEqualizer is making a difference regarding end user experience. The tool description and method outlined in our blog post, can be used to objectively justify the NetEqualizer value. Let us know if you need any help setting it up.

Most speed test sites measure the download speed of a large file from a server to your computer. There are two potential problems with using this metric.

1) ISPs can design their networks so these tests show best case results.
2) Humans are much more sensitive to the load time of interactive sites.

A better test of your perceived speed is how long it takes to load up a new web page…

Photo Of The Month
IMG_1966
Balloon
Have you ever wondered what happens to balloons when they are released into the sky? The remnants of this balloon landed right in front of a staff member on a clear day while hiking Black Star Canyon in Orange County, CA. Balloons like this are actually an environmental disaster as they often end up in oceans and are eaten by sea and wildlife.

NetEqualizer News: February 2016


We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter. Highlights include discussions on Cloud Computing, the new VM release, and updates on Software Release 8.4.

February 2016
NetEqualizer-VM is Ready, QoS for your Cloud!
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.

February is off to a snowy start in Colorado this year, with a major snowstorm on February 1st dumping 16+ inches of snow in Boulder! While we were snowed in, I had time to reflect and think about where bandwidth shaping is headed, and how we are well-positioned for the industry transition to Cloud Computing. In this month’s newsletter you can read how the NetEqualizer is “Cloud Ready”.0fad184f-5ea1-44c3-ad71-1093fd99f808

We are now ready with our first VM release (NetEqualizer-VM); you can read all about it below. And finally, we share more news about our 8.4 Release – Enhanced Pools & Other GUI Features.
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And remember we are now on Twitter! You can now follow us @NetEqualizer.

We love it when we hear back from you – so if you have a story you would like to share with us of how we have helped you, let us know. Email me directly at art@apconnections.net. I would love to hear from you!

– Art Reisman (CTO)

NetEqualizer-VM is Ready!
NetEqualizer-VM Release Ready for Networks <= 100 Mbps
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We are excited to announce that our VM release is now ready! If you are already running virtual machines in your data center, this may be a good fit for you.

The first release is certified for VM systems for up to 100 megabits of throughput.

Base pricing will run at $3,500 USD per year. However, for a limited time, we are running a special pre-order price of $2,500 USD per year.

Please note: The first year is due prior to delivery of the software. We offer a 30 day trial with a $500 USD non-refundable support charge.

Your VM server will need to meet a minimum specification to run the NetEqualizer shaping solution. We have detailed specifications for any VM system – contact us for details!
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Release 8.4 Update
Enhanced Pools + GUI Redesign

In previous months’ newsletters we talked about changes coming to the regular NetEqualizer GUI. Over the next couple of months, we’ll highlight those changes here.

One of the changes we are very excited about is the ability to manage Pools on the fly, and also the ability to name them! See the screenshot below:

mpxGG3D

One of the best parts of this screen is that you can manage all Pools and all Pool Members at once. For example, see Pool 1 expanded to show the two Pool Members. You can also change the limits for the Pool, add new Pools, and delete Pools that you no longer need.

We are also enhancing the new user interface with four primary menu options:

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This will help guide first-time users through the process of using NetEqualizer, and will also help separate the functionality out into to main usage categories.

Check back next month for an update on more exciting changes planned for 8.4!

Our time frame for General Acceptance of this release is April/May of 2016.

As with all software releases, the 8.4 Release will be free to all customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS).

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Next Generation Bandwidth Control
NetEqualizer is Cloud Ready

We received a call today from one of the Largest Tier 1 providers in the world. The salesperson on the other end was lamenting about his inability to sell cloud services to his customers. His service offerings were hot, but the customers’ Internet connections were not. Until his customers resolve their congestion problems, they were in a holding pattern for new cloud services.

As a brief aside, here is a list of what a Next Generation Bandwidth Controller can do:
1. Next Generation Bandwidth Controllers must be able to mitigate traffic flows originating from the Internet such that important Cloud Applications get priority.
2. Next Generation Bandwidth Controllers must NOT rely on Layer 7 DPI technology to identify traffic (too much encryption and tunneling today for this to be viable).
3. Next Generation Bandwidth Controllers must hit a price range of $5k to $10k USD for medium to large businesses.
4. Next Generation Bandwidth Controllers must not require babysitting and adjustments from the IT staff to remain effective.
5. Next Generation Bandwidth Controller should adopt a Heuristics-based decision model (like the one used in the NetEqualizer).

As for those businesses mentioned by the sales representative, when they moved to the cloud, many of them had run into bottlenecks. The bottlenecks were due to their iOS updates and recreational “crap” killing the cloud application traffic on their shared Internet trunk.

Their original assumption was they could use the QoS on their routers to mitigate traffic. After all, that worked great when all they had between them and their remote business logic was a nailed-up MPLS network. Because it was a private corporate link, they had QoS devices on both ends of the link and no problems with recreational congestion.

Moving to the Cloud was a wake up call! Think about it, when you go to the cloud you only control one end of the link. This means that your router-based QoS is no longer effective, and incoming traffic will crush you if you do not do something different.BT_logo

The happy ending is that we were able to help our friend at BT telecom, by mitigating his customers’ bottlenecks. Contact us if you are interested in more details.

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Best Of Blog

Capacity Planning for Cloud Applications
By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

The main factors to consider when capacity planning your Internet Link for cloud applications are:

1) How much bandwidth do your cloud applications actually need?

Typical cloud applications require about 1/2 of a megabit or less. There are exceptions to this rule, but for the most part a good cloud application design does not involve large transfers of data. QuickBooks, Salesforce, Gmail, and just about any cloud-based data base will be under the 1/2 megabit guideline. The chart below really brings to light the difference between your typical, interactive Cloud Application and the types of applications that will really eat up your data link.

Photo Of The Month
grasshopper
Grasshopper
This closeup of a local grasshopper was taken by a staff member while in Kansas, a state in the central United States. We hope this picture doesn’t bug you.

NetEqualizer News: January 2016


January 2016

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we introduce our new virtual NetEqualizer offering, highlight our Tech Refreshes, preview a cool new 8.4 Release feature, and discuss our DDoS Firewall option. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…
Art Reisman, CTO – APconnections

Happy New Year! I hope your 2016 is off to a good start. Here at APconnections, we are starting 2016 off with a wonderful announcement:
0fad184f-5ea1-44c3-ad71-1093fd99f808

We are going Virtual! This month, we discuss how we are embracing Network Function Virtualization (NFV). Read below to learn more about this exciting offering!

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

We love it when we hear back from you – so if you have a story you would like to share with us of how we have helped you, let us know. Email me directly at art@apconnections.net. I would love to hear from you!

In 2016, We Are Going Virtual!

As most of you know, Network Function Virtualization (NFV) has become a viable choice for many networking components. We now believe it is time to consider VM for bandwidth shaping, and are excited to announce that we will offer a NetEqualizer solution (NetEqualizer-VM) that runs on a virtual machine in 2016!

Our first offering, planned for early Q2 2016, will be targeted and tested for 100 Megabit links with 1,000 or fewer customers.

Note: There will always be reliability risks of sharing a hardware platform with other applications, hence we are starting with a relatively small footprint.

Also, in some areas of the world shipping our NetEqualizer hardware is complicated by complex trade policies, and tariffs. Thus, a Virtual offer will shorten the delivery time and reduce the mechanical overhead of hardware shipment.

Right now we are still working out all the details on NetEqualizer-VM pricing and what VMs will be supported.

If you are interested in learning more or participating in the Beta when available, please contact us!

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Start The New Year With A Tech Refresh!

Our NetEqualizer Tech Refreshes are a great way to start off the new year! These short, 30 minute WebEx sessions can provide great value to you and your team and help you get the most out of your NetEqualizer. Here are just a few of the benefits:

1) Learn about new releases – we are constantly evolving and enhancing our product. Tech Refreshes can help quickly get you up-to-speed on what is new!

2) Quickly educate a new employee – our Tech Refreshes make training a new staff member on NetEqualizer a breeze!

3) Ask questions and review your configuration – use this time to make sure that your unit is optimally configured, and ask any questions you’ve been curious about with your NetEqualizer!

Schedule your Tech Refresh today by clicking the link below.

Tech Refreshes are free to all customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS).

We also offer onsite training for you and your team in full day seminars – contact us for availability and pricing.

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8.4 Release Coming Soon!
User Interface Enhancements

In last month’s newsletter, we talked about changes coming to the regular NetEqualizer GUI. Over the next couple of months, we’ll highlight some of those changes here.

One of the changes we are most excited about is the ability to edit the configuration on the fly. See a screenshot of the Configure Hard Limits Interface below:

This makes even complex configuration changes and setup quick and easy! You’ll now be able to add, edit, and remove hard limits, pools, pool members, priority hosts, and more all from one place.

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As you can see, we are also changing the look and feel to match that of RTR. Check back next month for updates on more exciting changes!

Our time frame for General Acceptance of this release is March/April of 2016.

As with all software releases, the 8.4 Release will be free to all customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS).

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NetEqualizer DDoS Firewall In Action873a321d-b492-4f3f-9766-1b79c2231cc7

Just a reminder that our DDoS Firewall Option (DFW) is now installed at several locations, and is making a difference by heading off incoming DDoS attacks, even as you read this!

If you suspect you are being hit with sporadic or persistent DDoS attacks, the DDoS firewall option may be well worth the $3500 installation and consulting fee.

You can read more about DDoS on our blog here.

If you have any questions or would simply like to learn more, contact us!

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Best Of The Blog

Ten Ways To Make Your Life As An Internet Provider Easier

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

From ISPs and WISPs to networks in libraries, businesses, and universities, Internet use is on the rise. Yet, as the demand for Internet access continues to grow around the world, so do both the opportunities and challenges for service providers.

Just as quickly as your user-base grows, the obstacles facing providers begin to emerge.

From competition to unhappy customers, the venture that once seemed certain to succeed can quickly test the will of even the most battle-hardened and tech-savvy business owners and network administrators. However, for all types of Internet providers, there are ways to make the process smoother…

Photo Of The Month
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What is this mountain range?
Tell us and you could win a $25 gift card!
This picture was taken by a staff member during a recent trip. The first four (4) people to email sales@apconnections.net with the name of this mountain range will win a $25 gift card!
The answer for last month is: The Iowa State Court House in Des Moines, IA

NetEqualizer News: December 2015


December 2015

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we update you on our 8.4 Release, talk about what our college customers are saying, feature Part 2 of our articles on RTR best practices, and ask once more for your ideas for the 2016 Roadmap. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…
Art Reisman, CTO – APconnections

With the holiday season in full swing, I want to pause for a moment from my hectic schedule to thank you, our valued customers, for your loyalty in 2015. THANK YOU!thank_you

We here at APconnections truly appreciate your business. Thank you for helping us grow since 2003! I am lucky that I love what I do, and I really enjoy working with as many of you as I can. If you have any feedback, ideas, or questions for me, please reach out to me at art@apconnections.net. I hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter!

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

We love it when we hear back from you – so if you have a story you would like to share with us of how we have helped you, let us know. Email me directly at art@apconnections.net. I would love to hear from you!

8.4 Release Update
User Interface Enhancements

We have exciting news to share regarding our next software update – Release 8.4. Throughout 2015, we made big changes to our Real-Time Reporting (RTR) and implemented tons of useful features. In 2016, we’ll be focusing our efforts on the rest of the NetEqualizer User Interface. Here are just a few of the things you can expect:

1) Better Configuration Management
We’ve listened to your feedback and are adding in the ability to edit traffic limits and other rules without removing them, control the units (Bps, Kbps, Mbps, etc.) displayed throughout the NetEqualizer interfaces, and manage the configuration all in one place – just to name a few!

2) Secure Logout and HTTPS by default
These popular feature requests will now be standard on all units running the 8.4 Release. Users will now be able to log out from the user interface securely and all data will be sent over HTTPS to and from the NetEqualizer.

3) Manage Time and Date from the GUI
With the 8.4 Release, you’ll be able to manage all time and date features of the NetEqualizer from the user interface instead of the command line.

4) Named Pools
This is one of the most requested items and it will be a reality in the 8.4 Release. With this release, you will be able to name your Pools however you see fit.

Our time frame for General Acceptance of this release is March or April of 2016.

As with all software releases, the 8.4 Release will be free to all customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS).

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What Our College Customers Are Saying…

Last month, we featured Morrisville State College in New York, our newest Case Study. Since then, we have heard from several more colleges who wanted to offer their feedback.

Please contact us if you would like your quote added to our testimonials page, even if you are not in the higher education space! We love hearing from all our customers about how we’ve helped them control congestion on their networks.

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You can view all of the College & University Testimonials on our website. Here are our two most recent:

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United States Naval Academy

IT Administration – United States Naval Academy
“Faced with mounting costs of upgrades for maintenance on our existing bandwidth shaper, in 2014 we did a little research and decided to try the NetEqualizer. We are currently running 1 gigabit for the entire campus, including students and faculty. Our bandwidth utilization is maxed out for most of the day and into the evening. Without a solid bandwidth shaper in place, operations would come to crawl.

Since deploying the NetEqualizer in the Spring of 2015 we have pretty much forgotten about it (in a good way). The NetEqualizer allows us to run at full capacity without the hassles of making adjustments on a daily basis.

One of the best investments we have ever made.”

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Delaware Valley University

Michael Davis – Executive Director of Technology Services
“Delaware Valley University shifted from a packet shaping tool to a NetEqualizer over a year ago, and it is one of the best infrastructure decisions we have made.

The NetEqualizer has allowed us to provide better service to our students without increasing bandwidth, and we hear fewer complaints than ever about bandwidth.

We are planning our next bandwidth increase, and the NetEqualizer is going to make this better than usual. Factoring in student satisfaction with the amount of time that we no longer have to spend tuning a packet shaping device has made us very happy customers.

The support and sales teams at NetEqualizer are also fantastic.”


How Can RTR Help You?
Check Out RTR Best Practices (Part 2)

RTR is great as a simple reporting tool, but it can also be much more! Below we share some helpful ways to utilize the different reports in RTR to better configure your NetEqualizer and understand your network. This is Part 2 of a two-part series – read about Part 1 last month!

1) Figure out who has used the most data over time
Usually on the NetEqualizer, we are talking about usage rates like Mbps, Kbps, etc. But, sometimes you might want to know who has downloaded or uploaded the most data over time (in MB, GB, etc.). Use Traffic History -> Top Talkers to find out!

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2) Use the Start/Stop RTR page to view system status messages
The NetEqualizer has processes in place that will rotate old data and keep you from running out of memory. However, you can check to make sure things look good and RTR is running smoothly on the Start/Stop RTR page.

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3) Use the General Penalty Reports page to correlate data to the General Traffic History page
In last month’s newsletter, we showed a perfect example of what we’d expect a network to look like. Check out the graphs for Morrisville State College in their Case Study.

We always want to ensure that some Equalizing is occurring during busy times. If you don’t see many penalties during busy times, your HOGMIN value may be set too high.

Consult the User Guide for appropriate HOGMIN values for your network.

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If you are current on NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS), and have a question about RTR or would like a walk through, click the button below!

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It Is Not Too Late… To Give Input Into The 2016 Roadmap

For those of you that have already responded, THANK YOU. Rest assured that we have collected your feedback and added it to our Feature Request List for 2016.

If you have not yet responded, there is still time to influence our fall/winter 2016 release.

If you have a great idea for us, please let us know!

No idea is too “out there” – we want to solve your crunchiest, toughest networking issues.

Email us your idea.


Best Of The Blog

Regulate DDoS Like Pollution

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

I just read another article on DDOS attacks and how companies are being extorted. As usual I am thinking way out of the box again.

Background on the mechanics of DDOS attack

The raw tools of a DDOS attacker are made possible by the billions of computing devices sitting around the world attached to the Internet. A DDOS attacker probes constantly for computers to hack, and then once they have access to several hundred or more in their control, they can point them to any business, sending a storm of data requests jamming Internet links from the outside. Think of a million people trying to cram into the door of your apartment all at once, you would be trapped inside…

Photo Of The Month
building
Where was this picture taken?
Tell us and you could win a $25 gift card! 

This picture was taken by a staff member during a recent customer site visit in the United States. The first four (4) people to email sales@apconnections.net with the name of this building will win a $25 gift card!

The answer for last month is: United States Naval Academy Chapel

NetEqualizer News: November 2015


November 2015

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we officially release the NE5000, help you out with RTR best practices, feature a live customer NetEqualizer installation and Case Study, and ask for your assistance in our 2016 planning. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…
Art Reisman, CTO – APconnections

We are awaiting our first snow here in Colorado, with our first really cold night killing off the last of the garden this past week (22F/-5C). While the garden goes to sleep, we are laying plans for next year, both in the garden and with the NetEqualizer!art

There is still time to give us feedback for 2016. If you would like to contribute to the 2016 NetEqualizer Roadmap, we welcome your ideas. Call or email us with your suggestions. And, for those of you that have already responded, THANK YOU!

This month make it official – our NE5000 powerhouse solution is ready for primetime! If you are thinking of taking your NetEqualizer solution to the next level, read more below.

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

We love it when we hear back from you – so if you have a story you would like to share with us of how we have helped you, let us know.

Email me directly at art@apconnections.net. I would love to hear from you!

NE5000: Official Release

We often get quizzical looks from customers when they see our price performance numbers. Now pushing 10 Gbps line speeds and the ability to shape 60,000 users, we have heard rumblings that some analysts don’t believe our product can perform at this price point. We just ignore them, as they are mostly in the pocket of our competitors anyway.

With a list price of $22,000 USD, our new NE5000 brings bandwidth control pricing back to Earth.

How do we do it?NE5000_data_sheet

Really, it’s just old-fashioned hard work! At the core of our NetEqualizer technology lies a team of computer scientists that spend their days optimizing the algorithms and techniques to ensure high reliability and performance.

We also go against the conventional wisdom of packet classification – that is our other advantage. Packet Classification is on the way out, and there is no ignoring it any longer.

If you have not had a chance to work with us before, we encourage you to check out our new high-end model and set up a WebEx with our technical team for a demo. Click the button below to contact us!

Here is a link to our NE5000 data sheet to get you started:

The NE5000 Data Sheet

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Real World RTR: Live at Morrisville State CollegeMorrisville Logo #3

When developing RTR and other NetEqualizer features, we are often using simulated data – real system testing occurs near the end of the cycle. During a recent Technical Refresh session with Rob Gaudreau of Morrisville State College, however, we got to see some exciting results from a live NetEqualizer that we wanted to share.

The first interesting graph is their General Traffic History:

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This is a graph of bandwidth usage for the previous week. It’s great to see how predictable the traffic patterns are, and how useful RTR can be in seeing what occurred historically and how you can use that data to plan for the future.

The second interesting graph is their General Penalty History:

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This is a graph of the number of penalties that were occurring over the previous week – the same time period used to generate the General Traffic History graph. Notice how the penalty count directly correlates with the busy times.

Those penalties are the NetEqualizer hard at work, shaping the largest connections during congested hours of the day, and letting traffic through untouched during less busy times – all without IT administrator intervention.morrisville_case_study

Morrisville State College – Case Study
We enjoyed talking to Rob so much and hearing about his experience with NetEqualizer, that we decided to turn it into a full case study so that others could hear their story. Check it out, here:

Morrisville State College Case Study

Schedule your Technical Refresh Today!
Our Technical Refreshes have been a huge success! These walkthroughs have proven valuable to both new and experienced customers. We are always enhancing our technology and interfaces, so it’s easy to get to the point where features are new and unfamiliar.

If you are current on NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS), and you are interested in a 30-minute WebEx to see the newest interfaces and learn more about RTR, click the link below!

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How Can RTR Help You? Check Out RTR Best Practices (Part 1)

RTR is great as a simple reporting tool, but it can also be much more! Below we share some helpful ways to utilize the different reports in RTR to better configure your NetEqualizer and understand your network. This is Part 1 of a two-part series – look for Part 2 next month!

1) Set up Traffic History IPs for Graphing
Use Traffic History->Manage Tracked IPs to add your internal IPs (or any other IP you care about) to the tracking system. The first step in getting the most out of RTR is telling it which IP addresses you want to track.

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2) Figure out your Top Users by Monitoring Real-Time Connections
Use Active Connections->View Active Connections and sort by the Wavg column to see your top bandwidth users. Use the C and DNS options below the external IP address to learn more about the connected host (C for Country Code and DNS for NS Lookup). Use the AR and T options below the internal IPs to view rules associated with the IP (AR) and its historical bandwidth usage (T).

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3) See if P2P is an Issue on your Network
Use Active Connections->View Connection Counts to see the IP addresses of users with lots of concurrent connections.

This data can help you determine any P2P users on your network and can also help you establish a baseline for implementing system-wide connection count limits.

Look for outliers and then set a limit such that almost all of your users fall below it with normal network usage. You can also copy the IP of the user with the most connections, filter the Active Connections table for that user, and then view all the different external IP addresses they are connected to.

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4) See What your Bandwidth Pools are Doing Right Now
Use the RTR Dashboard to view real-time pool data. Remember, all traffic falls under “Pool 0,” so even if you don’t use pools in your network, you can use this horizontal bar graph to see when your network is Equalizing (when it passes the red line).

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If you are current on NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS), and have a question about RTR or would like a walk through, click the button below!

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Help Us Set The 2016 NetEqualizer Roadmap

We have finalized our Winter Release (8.4), but there is still time to influence our 2016 Roadmap. We will start planning our Fall Release soon, and we would love to add your ideas to the release.

If you have a great idea for us, please let us know!

No idea is too “out there” – we want to solve your crunchiest, toughest networking issues. Click on the button below to email us your idea.

If you have already responded, rest assured that we have collected your feedback and added it to our Feature Request List.


Best Of The Blog

A Cure for Electronic Theft?

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

What if we created a new electronic currency, a-la Bitcoin, with a twist. Let’s start by taking an idea from the Federal Government, and put a watermark on our personal funds – something unique that signifies who legally possesses the currency. Cattle ranchers do this with a brand so nobody steals their cattle. This has worked pretty well for a few hundred years, right?

With our new personal watermark, suppose somebody breaks into our bank, and wires all your money to some idiot in Russia. In today’s world, the only way to find that money is to follow the trail, and that takes a huge effort from a banking forensics person, working with International governments. The money may travel so fast it may not be possible to recover. Now, suppose the funds had an electronic tag that could not be altered by a criminal. For example currency in your possession has a public private encryption key, and only you can authorize a change in possession…

Photo Of The Month
picture
Where was this picture taken?
Tell us and you could win a $25 gift card.
This picture was taken by a staff member during a recent college customer site visit at a cathedral. The first four people to email sales@apconnections.net with the name of the college where this cathedral is located get a $25 gift card!

NetEqualizer News: October 2015


October 2015

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we preview more Release 8.4 features, preview our NE5000 unit, ask you to Imagine If what future features would help you, and update you on our DDoS tool. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…
Art Reisman, CTO – APconnections

Cool temperatures, crisp weather all mean one thing – fall has arrived in the U.S.! I am enjoying the change of season, and love the cold weather. art

Speaking of temperature, this month we talk about our NE5000 – which will have extra fans to keep it cool as well as built-in failover. You can read more about the NE5000 below. We also update you on the upcoming 8.4 Release, planned to rollout this winter. We give you a chance to influence future releases, in our Imagine If section. Also, we continue to see our DDoS tools make a difference for our customers, you can read more below…

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

We love it when we hear back from you – so if you have a story you would like to share with us of how we have helped you, let us know. Email me directly at art@apconnections.net. I would love to hear from you!

Release 8.4: Preview

We have been working hard on Release 8.4 and are excited to release the new features! Here are a couple of our favorites:

See an nslookup of a host directly below the IP address in RTR – This is a feature often requested by our customers with networks where an IP address translates to a hostname. For administrators with these networks, you’ll now be able to quickly see the hostname associated with an IP in every screen within RTR!

We’ve enhanced our messaging within RTR to help guide usage – This includes enhancements to error messages and status messages to make RTR even easier for you to use!

Look for more announcements on Release 8.4, currently planned for Dec/Jan timeframe, in upcoming newsletters.

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DDoS In The Field

One of the challenges when creating a security tool is validating that it works when it really matters.

We have heard, via anonymous sources, that many of the high-dollar solutions out there create bloated, rotting piles of information, whose only purpose is to look impressive due to their voluminous output. These tools cover everything, leaving the customer to decide what to do; which is usually nothing or some misguided task.

These non-specific tools are about as useful as a weather forecast that predicts everything all the time. Rain, snow, wind, hot, cold, for everyday of the year. If you predict everything you can’t be wrong?

On the other hand, the reports from the field coming in for our DDoS tool are:

Yes, it works.
Yes, it is simple to use.
Yes, it takes action when appropriate.

We have confirmation that our DDoS tool, combined with our shaping algorithms, has kept some very large institutions up and running while under very heavy, sophisticated DDoS attacks.

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The reason is simple:

We first look at the pattern of incoming packets in a normal situation. When the pattern reaches a watermark that is clearly beyond normal, we block those incoming circuits.

If needed, we can also take a softer approach, so the attacker is not aware we are throttling them. This is needed because in some situations outright blocking will alert the attacker you are on to them and cause the attacker to double-down.

When under DDoS attack you don’t need reports; you need immediate action. If you would like to discuss our solution in more detail feel free to contact us!

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NE5000: Almost Ready for Primetime!
& Exciting Test Lab Results

Just a few minor tweaks and presto! Our new NE5000 will be ready to go! The test lab box is humming along with 125,000 connections per second, and pushing a sustained 8.5 Gbps up and 8.5 Gbps down without a hiccup.

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There is nothing else out there on the market with that kind of shaping power close to our price point. The Layer 7 and deep packet inspection technologies are just way too CPU intensive to keep up with our price/performance curve. So what has happened since we last talked about our NE5000?

1. We revamped the Fiber Cards offered with it to take advantage of multiple CPU’s handling and processing interrupts. This boosted our speed and processing to go near line speed on 10Gig without sacrificing any shaping features.
2. Even the search features in the GUI connection table are lightning quick – running a table size of 250,000 entries!
3. It still comes standard with a DUAL power supply.
4. Failover Internal Fiber ports – there is nothing external to wire.
5. And the best part is… we lowered the list price from $30,000 to $20,000!

Now, you don’t have to create a new budget to get the security of a solid bandwidth shaper at those line speeds. Contact us if you are interested in a new unit or upgrading.

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Imagine If…
What Would Help You?

As a networking tool vendor we cannot possibly figure out what is needed in the marketplace without the help of our customers! Many of our best features came directly from you!

Winter break is a time when we experiment with new exciting features and product ideas. If you get a chance, take a moment to think of that killer app that would help you, the IT administrator, with your job.

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Imagine If…

There are no rules here! Feel free to be creative! Imagine a robot that goes around and does your job. What are some of the things you would want that robot to do?

Should we adopt your idea, we would also be open to sharing licensing and revenue. Please contact us with your thoughts!

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Best Of The Blog

White Paper: A Simple Guide to Network Capacity Planning

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

Oh, how times have changed. I noticed this article from 2010 was getting some recent traffic in our blog. If you read it carefully you’ll see that our basic advice for capacity planning is still relevant. Only, I had to laugh at the specific examples and numbers we used as they are woefully out-of-date.

After many years of consulting and supporting the networking world with WAN optimization devices, we have sensed a lingering fear among Network Administrators who wonder if their capacity is within the normal range.

So the question remains:

How much bandwidth can you survive with before you impact morale or productivity?

The formal term we use to describe the number of users sharing a network link to the Internet is contention ratio. This term is defined as the size of an Internet trunk divided by the number of users. We normally think of Internet trunks in units of megabits. For example, 10 users sharing a one megabit trunk would have a 10-to-1 contention ratio. If sharing the bandwidth on the trunk equally and simultaneously, each user could sustain a constant feed of 100 kbps, which is exactly 1/10 of the overall bandwidth…

Photo Of The Month
UNH
New England, United States
The six states that make up New England (Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island) are beautiful in the fall. The temperatures get a little cooler and the leaves start to change color. This picture was taken on the campus of the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH.
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