NetEqualizer News: April 2012


April 2012

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we preview two new NetEqualizer features (Priority Subnets and our Professional Quota API), demonstrate our improved tool that uses Microsoft Excel to harness and interpret bandwidth data, and lastly we discuss the truth about web security in our Best of Blog series. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…


Daylight Savings Time is bittersweet. Even though you lose an hour of sleep the night you set the clocks forward, the extra hour of sunshine in the evening is worth it – mainly because it allows you to spend more time outside after work. For computer systems that are not automatically adjusted, this could present a problem. With NetEqualizer, we have two solutions that we’ve detailed in our blog:

1) Via your own NTP Time Servers
2) Via Internet Time Servers

Try it out, and never have to worry about time settings with your NetEqualizer again!

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 here. I would love to hear from you!

New Feature: Priority Subnets
We will have a limited number of slots available for beta testing these features. Please contact us if you are interested and have a valid NSS. General availability will be in May 2012.

Beginning with the 5.8 Software Update, the NetEqualizer will be capable of providing priority connections to entire subnets – not just individual IP addresses.

To specify a priority subnet, you can use the existing Priority Host interface by inputting a subnet in CIDR notation. Here is an example:

Input the priority subnet in CIDR notation:

192.168.1.0/24

The prefix of /24 would subsequently provide priority to the IP addresses in the following range:

192.168.1.0 through 192.168.1.255

This feature can be useful when trying to prioritize traffic from a given section of your network – video streaming servers, for instance.

—-

As always, the 5.8 Software Update will be available at no charge to customers with valid NetEqualizer Software Subscriptions (NSS).

For more information on the NetEqualizer or the upcoming release, visit our blog or contact us at:

sales@apconnections.net
-or-
toll-free U.S.(888-287-2492),
worldwide (303) 997-1300 x. 103.


New Feature: Professional Quota API
We will have a limited number of slots available for beta testing these features. Please contact us if you are interested and have a valid NSS. General availability will be in May 2012.

Beginning with the 5.8 Software Update, the NetEqualizer will have the ability to set bandwidth use quotas via a GUI for specific IP addresses.

This is an improvement upon our existing User Quota API toolset commands in that it is now even easier to create a custom quota solution that meets your needs.

If a quota is surpassed, you have multiple options on how to handle the abuser:

– Only email them a warning (which can often be effective enough).
– Email them a warning and limit their access to 200 kbps.
– Email them a warning and limit their access to 15 kbps – which is near 0.

There is also a reporting interface that allows you to monitor bandwidth use as a whole across each IP. This helps you determine if users exist that are hogging more than their fair share of the bandwidth.

—-

As always, the 5.8 Software Update will be available at no charge to customers with valid NetEqualizer Software Subscriptions (NSS).

For more information on the NetEqualizer or the upcoming release, visit our blog or contact us at:

sales@apconnections.net
-or-
toll-free U.S.(888-287-2492),
worldwide (303) 997-1300 x. 103.


Analyzing NetEqualizer with Excel – Improved!
Back in August of 2011, we posted an article on our blog called “Dynamic Reporting With The NetEqualizer.” It turned out to be one of our most popular posts, with many people contacting us to find out more about utilizing Excel to interpret NetEqualizer data.

Because of this interest level, we decided to improve the functionality of this tool. For instance, one of the problems with the prior tool set was that we used an Excel function called a “web query.” This meant we had to program in a long string of commands about the NetEqualizer and where it resided. Now, all you have to do is put in the IP address of the NetEqualizer, and the rest is done for you. This is especially handy if the IP address changes, or you have more than one NetEqualizer.

Other additional features include:

– The ability to convert IP addresses to country of origin.
– A summarizing dashboard that displays key values from your NetEqualizer.
– An improved ability to view and graph NTOP data.
– And more!

View the demonstration video. This video is no longer available.  This functionality has been replaced with Dynamic Real-Time Reporting in software update 7.1.

We have working examples of this tool that we are happy to share with you. If you are interested, please contact us at:

sales@apconnections.net
-or-
toll-free U.S. (888-287-2492),
worldwide (303) 997-1300 x. 103.

Please be aware that NSS and NetEqualizer Support does NOT cover this tool or any bug fixes related to external programs.


Best Of The Blog

The Truth About Web Security (And How to Protect Your Data)

By Zack Sanders – Security Expert – APconnections
Security Theater

Internet security is an increasingly popular and fascinating subject that has pervaded our lives through multiple points of entry in recent years. Because of this infiltration, security expertise is no longer a niche discipline teetering on the fringe of computer science – it’s an integral part. Computer security concerns have ceased to be secondary thoughts and have made their way to the front lines of business decisions, political banter, and legislative reform. Hackers are common subjects in movies, books, and TV shows. It seems like every day we are reading about the latest security breach of a gigantic, international conglomerate. Customers who once were naive to how their data was used and stored are now outwardly concerned about their privacy and identity theft.

This explosion in awareness has, of course, yielded openings for the opportunistic. Companies now know there is a real business need for security, and there are thus hundreds of solutions available to you to improve your security footprint. But most of them are not telling you the truth about how to really secure your infrastructure. They just want to sell you their product – hyping its potential, touting its features, and telling you to install it and – *poof* – you no longer need to worry about security – something those in the industry call “Security Theater.” In many ways, these companies are actually making you less secure because of this sales point. Believing that you can plug in an “all-in-one device” and have it provide you with all of your security controls sounds good, but it’s unrealistic. When you stop being diligent on multiple levels, you start being vulnerable.

Real security is all about two things:

1) Being PROACTIVE.
2) Implementing LAYERED security controls…

Photo Of The Month

The Mighty Mississippi

Our CTO recently fulfilled a lifelong dream by embarking on a solo adventure down the Mississippi River in a canoe purchased at the push-off point of Davenport, Iowa. Strong winds made it nearly impossible to travel the entire route, but many of the goals of the trip were still accomplished – including camping on a river island.

NetEqualizer News: March 2012


March 2012

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we ask for suggestions regarding potential hosts for our next NetEqualizer Technical Seminar, discuss NetEqualizer’s selection for use in the United States National Park system, preview our new increased cache size, feature a new NetGladiator white paper, and more! As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…


We’ve been writing and thinking a lot about security lately. Just the other day, my neighbor received a business card from the Sheriff informing him that he’d checked out his house to make sure everything was alright due to a backyard sliding-glass door being ajar. This made me think about a corollary in web application security. It is much more rare in the online world that someone kindly alerts you to security vulnerabilities and then does no harm – unless of course you’ve hired them! That makes it even more important to protect your networks and data with layered security controls.

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 here. I would love to hear from you!

We Are Looking for a Seminar Host!

Plans are now in the works for our next complimentary NetEqualizer Technical Seminar. We’re currently taking suggestions for potential hosts, so if you’re interested, be sure to let us know.

In order to maximize our reach based on previous technical seminars, we are ideally looking for hosts in one the following areas:

Washington, D.C.

San Francisco, California (Bay Area)

Florida (Southeastern United States)

Here’s what we’ll be covering in the seminar:

– The various tradeoffs regarding how to stem P2P and bandwidth abuse.

– Recommendations for curbing RIAA requests.

– Demo of the new NetEqualizer network access control module.

Intrusion detection discussion with an experienced, professional hacker.

– Lots of customer Q&A and information sharing.

We hope to see as many of you there as possible, and once we select a host site, more details and dates will follow – so stay tuned!

Thank you!


NetEqualizer Selected to Support Internet Access in US National Parks

The NetEqualizer was recently selected by Global Gossip to provide bandwidth arbitration for their High-Speed Internet Access (HSIA) offering in many United States National Parks.

The Internet connections available in these remote locations often lack the available bandwidth of urban locales. This fact makes it that much more important that one or two users can’t monopolize the connection.

Global Gossip’s Vice President of US Operations, Stephanie Dickens, says “The use of the NetEqualizer greatly diminishes the need for hands-on bandwidth management… We are thoroughly satisfied with the NetEqualizer’s remote management capabilities and its ease-of-use.”

NetEqualizers are currently deployed at the Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park, throughout guest and employee accommodations in Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and five Ohio State Parks. The NetEqualizer will be deployed with the Global Gossip system in several more US locations before the end of 2012.

So next time you are smoothly streaming video on your iPad in Yellowstone while waiting for Old Faithful to erupt, think of us!


Larger Cache Available for NetEqualizer

We are excited to announce a larger cache upgrade for the NetEqualizer that is available now!

The upgrade increases the cache size from 140GB to 750GB and is available to both existing and new customers. If you are an existing customer with a valid NSS, we will send you a new hard drive and help you get it up and running for $1,000. For new customers, the upgraded cache costs $2,750.

If you have any questions about the new cache size option, feel free to contact us:

sales@apconnections.net

-or-

worldwide (303) 997-1300 x103. -or-

toll-free U.S. (888) 287-2492


NetGladiator White Paper and Research

NetGladiator is a brand new next-generation web application Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) that was developed by APconnections (creators of the NetEqualizer) and released last month. We discussed it in detail in the February Newsletter and have been talking about security a lot lately – both internally and on our blog.

We’ve also been doing a fair amount of research. Our executive white paper, available for download here, is a concise summary of the NetGladiator technology and the security issues it helps control.

Be sure to check it out to see if NetGladiator could be a valuable asset in your current layered security strategy – and if you don’t have a solid security plan in place, we can help with that too!

For More information on the NetGladiator, take a look at our website.

You can also visit our blog or contact us:

ips@apconnections.net

-or-

worldwide (303) 997-1300 x103. -or-

toll-free U.S. (888) 287-2492


Best Of The Blog

Five Great Ideas to Protect Your Data with Minimal Investment

By Art Reisman – CTO – NetEqualizer

We see quite a bit of investment when it comes to data security. Many solutions are selected on the quantity of threats deterred. Large feature sets, driven by FUD, are exponential in cost, and at some point the price of the security solution will outweigh the benefit. But where do you draw the line?

Note:

1) It is relatively easy to cover 95 percent of the real security threats that can damage a business’s bottom line or reputation.

2) It is totally impossible to completely secure data.

3) The cost for security starts to hockey stick as you push toward the mythical 100 percent secure solution.

For example, let’s assume you can stop 95 percent of potential security breaches with an investment of $10, but it would cost $10 million to achieve 99 percent coverage. What would you do? Obviously you’d stop someplace between 95 and 99 percent coverage. Hence, the point of this post. The tips below are intended to help with the 95 percent rule, what is reasonable and cost effective. You should never be spending more money securing an asset than that asset is worth.

Some real world examples of reducing practical physical risk would be putting life jackets in a watercraft, or an airbag in an automobile. If we took the approach to securing your water craft or automobile with the FUD of data security, everybody would be driving 5 million dollar Abrams tanks, and trout fishing in double hulled aircraft carriers.

Below are some security ideas to protect your data that should greatly reduce your risk at a minimal investment.

1) Use your firewall to block all uninitiated requests from outside the region where you do business.

For example, let’s assume you are a regional medical supply company in the US. What is the likelihood that you will be getting a legitimate inquiry from a customer in China, India, or Africa? Probably not likely at all…

Photo Of The Month

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

(Let the good times roll!)

February is typically a dull month in Colorado – save the occasional day we can get up to the mountains to ski. This makes it a great time to travel. Mardi Gras is easily the most entertaining holiday the month has to offer, and New Orleans is an amazing city with great culture and food. One of our staff members ventured South this year for Fat Tuesday and took this picture of a festive house on St. Charles Avenue.

NetEqualizer News: February 2012


February 2012

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we discuss our newly developed Intrusion Prevention System: NetGladiator – a tool that will effectively protect your websites without hampering network performance! As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…


Coming into the new year, we are currently investing in technology that will allow our entire product line to do more parallel processing. This is good news. Parallel processing is what large computing powers do to make intelligent systems like the computer that plays Jeopardy! The key for us is to do it seamlessly without raising prices – so don’t expect to see anything except better, higher-end systems and the same low price points.

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 here. I would love to hear from you!

NetGladiator – The NEW Intrusion Prevention System

APconnections – makers of the NetEqualizer – is excited to announce the release of the next great Intrusion Prevention System – the NetGladiator!

The NetGladiator is unlike any other Intrusion Prevention System on the market. Tested against some of the worlds best hackers, NetGladiator uses proven Deep Packet Inspection technology to identify an attack not based on predefined signatures, but on behavior-based anomalies that occur in your network.

The idea behind the NetGladiator technology is that the way a potential hacker interacts with your web infrastructure is vastly different from how a normal user interacts with your sites. NetGladiator identifies these anomalies and blocks the attackers before they’ve begun

Because NetGladiator comes to you from APconnections, a name you know and trust in the bandwidth arbitration space, your network will experience zero latency effects. It also will prove to be the simplest and easiest-to-install product on the market with a very fair price point that provides great value.

Here are just some of the common attacks that NetGladiator protects against:
– SQL Injection
– Brute Force Directory Traversal
– Cross-Site Scripting
– Reflected URL Redirects
– Remote Administrative Brute Forcing
– Remote Shell Execution
– And many more…

Engineers at APconnections have cut through the hype surrounding intrusion prevention products with this simple, yet effective product.

For more information on the NetGladiator IPS, take a look at our website.

You can also visit our blog or contact us at:

ips@apconnections.net -or-

worldwide: (303) 997-1300 x. 123 -or-

toll-free U.S.: 888-287-2492


NetEqualizer 5.6 Release Advised

The 5.6 Software Release for NetEqualizer is advised for all customers who are on 5.x that utilize pools, VLANs, and connection limits.

For More information on the Software Release, take a look at our Software Update Notes for 5.6. You can also visit our blog or contact us:

sales@apconnections.net -or-

worldwide (303) 997-1300 x103. -or-

toll-free U.S. (888) 287-2492


Best Of The Blog

Cloud Computing – Do You Have Enough Bandwidth? And a Few Other Things to Consider.

By Art Reisman – CTO – NetEqualizer

The following is a list of things to consider when using a cloud-computing model.

Bandwidth: Is your link fast enough to support cloud computing?

We get asked this question all the time: What is the best-practice standard for bandwidth allocation?

Well, the answer depends on what you are computing.

First, there is the application itself. Is your application dynamically loading up modules every time you click on a new screen? If the application is designed correctly, it will be lightweight and come up quickly in your browser. Flash video screens certainly spruce up the experience, but I hate waiting for them. Make sure when you go to a cloud model that your application is adapted for limited bandwidth.

Second, what type of transactions are you running? Are you running videos and large graphics or just data? Are you doing photo processing from Kodak? If so, you are not typical, and moving images up and down your link will be your constraining factor.

Third, are you sharing general Internet access with your cloud link? In other words, is that guy on his lunch break watching a replay of royal wedding bloopers on YouTube interfering with your salesforce.com access?

The good news is (assuming you will be running a transactional cloud-computing environment – e.g. accounting, sales database, basic email, attendance, medical records – without video clips or large data files), you most likely will NOT need additional Internet bandwidth. Obviously, we assume your business has reasonable Internet response times prior to transitioning to a cloud application…

Photo Of The Month

Longing for Warmer Weather

Colorado weather is a fascinating phenomenon. It can be a glorious 70 degrees in the morning, and be 32 degrees and freezing by nightfall. While there are spotty days of warmth in January and February, we are still in the dead of winter. Pictures like this make us yearn for spring and summer! This photo was taken by one of our staff at a farm in Kansas in August.

NetEqualizer News: December 2011


NetEqualizer NewsDecember 2011

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we talk about our first round of beta testing our new release features, showcase our new website design, and discuss why caching alone will not solve your congestion issues! As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…
 

Whew! I am finally taking a breather after a busy and productive year – trying to get ready for the holidays and step back to assess all that I am thankful for. I want to take a moment to thank YOU, our customers, for making 2011 a great year for us! You are the reason we do all this and work so hard on making the NetEqualizer the best bandwidth controller out there.  

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. I would love to hear from you!

In This Issue:
:: Update On Fall Release Features
:: DiffServ Priority Findings
:: New Website Design
:: Thank You!
:: Best Of The Blog

 Our Website         Contact Us         NetEqualizer Demo         Price List     Join Our Mailing List

 

Update On  

Fall Release Features

In our previous issue of NetEqualizer News, we previewed some of our exciting new features that are available in the Fall Release. The Fall Release is currently undergoing beta testing at various customer sites, but if you are interested in the GA release, let us know, and we’ll contact you when it’s available.

Please note, this release will be a quick update for anyone already on version 5.x.

Here is a brief update on some of those features with screenshots:

Email Notification

The Fall Release provides users with the ability to set an email account that the NetEqualizer can send alerts to. For example, users can set their account to be notified when IPv6 traffic exceeds 1%. Here is a screenshot from the email notification feature setup screen:

Setup Email Alerts in the NetEqualizer

IPv6 Visibility

The Fall Release also includes features that provide enhanced visibility to IPv6 traffic.

With this release, we now provide a connection table in the GUI that shows all of the IPv6 flows and their bandwidth consumption. We also provide a way to monitor your total IPv6 traffic from an historical perspective.

These two features provide useful data in order to better position your organization for the eventual shift to IPv6.

Here are some screenshots from the IPv6 interface in the NetEqualizer GUI:

IPv6 Traffic in the NetEqualizer

View Total IPv6 Traffic

For more information on the Fall Release, take a look at our Software Update Notes for version 5.5.

You can also visit our blog or contact us:

email sales -or-

call worldwide (303) 997-1300 x. 103 -or-

toll-free U.S.(800-918-2763).

 

DiffServ Priority Findings   

 

In the Fall Release, NetEqualizer included a feature to give priority to traffic which had the ToS/DiffServ bit set to a non-zero value. This bit is supposed to signify that the traffic has priority on the Internet. This feature allows our customers to give priority to important traffic without having to set up a priority handling connection.  

Through our research, however, we’ve discovered that sites like YouTube, in an attempt to receive priority access across the Internet, often set this bit for all traffic. Thus, with no control on who can set this bit, customers could find that their link is bogged down by too much requested priority.  

Once you try it on your own network with the NetEqualizer, we want to hear about your experiences with this feature. How would you assess its effectiveness? Also, if you have experience using the DiffServ bit in other applications, how useful was it and in what ways? All feedback is welcome! 

 

Contact us at sales with your story or thoughts!

 

New Website Design  

 

NetEqualizer is very excited to introduce our new website and design! The new website makes trying out the product, purchasing, and support that much easier.

 

Our new menus allow for quick navigation to common NetEqualizer tools and case studies. Be sure to check it out!

 

Thank You!   

 

As we celebrate the holiday season, we at APconnections want to express our thanks to all of our customers!

To start, we’re pleased to introduce an expanded version of our NetEqualizer lifetime trade-in policy. Customers with NetEqualizers purchased four or more years ago qualify for a credit of 50 percent of the original unit’s purchase price (not including NSS, NHW, etc.) toward a new NetEqualizer!

This offer is an addition to our original lifetime trade-in policy guaranteeing that in the event of an unrepairable failure of a NetEqualizer unit, customers have the option to purchase a replacement unit at a 50 percent discount off the listed price.

While this policy is unique in its own right, we are also challenging tech-industry tradition by offering it on units purchased from authorized NetEqualizer resellers.

To learn more, or to get your trade-in started, contact us: 

email sales -or- 

call worldwide (303) 997-1300 x.103 -or- 

toll-free U.S.(800-918-2763).

 

Best Of The Blog

 

Why Caching Alone Will Not Solve Your Congestion Issue

by Art Reisman – CTO – NetEqualizer

 

Editors Note:

The intent of this article to is to help set appropriate expectations of using a caching server on an uncontrolled Internet link. There are some great speed gains to be had with a caching server; however, caching alone will not remedy a heavily congested Internet connection

.

Are you going down the path of using a caching server (such as Squid) to decrease peak usage load on a congested Internet link?

 

You might be surprised to learn that Internet link congestion cannot be mitigated with a caching server alone. Contention can only be eliminated by:

1) Increasing bandwidth

2) Some form of bandwidth control

3) Or a combination of 1) and 2)

A common assumption about caching is that somehow you will be able to cache a large portion of common web content – such that a significant amount of your user traffic will not traverse your backbone to your provider. Unfortunately, caching a large portion of web content to attain a significant hit ratio is not practical, and here is why:

Lets say your Internet trunk delivers 100 megabits and is heavily saturated prior to implementing caching or a bandwidth-control solution. What happens when you add a caching server to the mix?

To keep reading, click here.  

 

Photo Of The Month  

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from everyone at NetEqualizer! We hope you enjoy this special time of year more than our dog, Nick, likes wearing these antlers.

    View our videos on YouTube

NetEqualizer News: November 2011


NetEqualizer News

November 2011

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we talk more about our exciting Fall Release features (Email Notification, IPv6 Visibility, and DiffServ Priority), as well as announce our newly-designed Product Demonstration Guide! As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

In This Issue:
:: Fall Release Features
:: New Product Demonstration Guide
:: Best Of The Blog

Our Website Contact Us NetEqualizer Demo Price List Join Our Mailing List

Fall Release Features

Our Fall Release is now in beta! We will have a limited number of slots available for beta testing these features. Please contact us if you are interested.

email sales -or-

worldwide (303) 997-1300 x. 103 -or-

toll-free U.S.(800-918-2763)

General availability will be in December 2011.

As always, the Fall Release will be available at no charge to customers with valid

NetEqualizer Software Subscriptions (NSS).


Here is a preview of our exciting new features:

Email Notification

The Fall Release will provide users with the ability to set an email account that the NetEqualizer can send alerts to. For example, users can set their account to be notified when IPv6 traffic exceeds 1%. There will also be many other types of notifications to configure, but we don’t want to give too much away – you’ll have to try it out yourself!

IPv6 Visibility

As we await the need to handle significant amounts of IPv6 traffic, NetEqualizer is already implementing solutions to meet the shift head-on. The Fall Release will include features that will provide enhanced visibility to IPv6 traffic.

The best way to begin this transition in our software is to provide users with a way to see how IPv6 traffic is passing through their network. The most effective way to convey these details is to provide a connection table in the GUI that shows all of the IPv6 flows and their bandwidth consumption. We will also be providing a way to monitor your total IPv6 traffic from an historical perspective. These two features will provide useful data in order to better position your organization for the eventual shift to IPv6.

Here is a screen shot of sample IPv6 traffic in the NetEqualizer GUI:

It should be noted that for now, even for customers with dual stacks, we do not expect the IPv6 traffic to eclipse more than a fraction of a percent of network traffic.

Read more IPv6-related articles from our blog.


DiffServ Priority

We are now seeing an influx of customers looking to provide priority bandwidth to VoIP and video connections on their links without all the hassle of complex router rules.

NetEqualizer’s new DiffServ Priority feature is the solution. Included in the Fall Release, the DiffServ Priority feature will automatically prioritize connections that are utilizing services like VoIP and video – as well as a host of other types of important connections. This will provide improved quality of service on your network.

For more information on DiffServ and priority handling in general, check out this article from our blog:

For more information on the Fall Release, take a look at our Software Update Notes for version 5.5.

You can also visit our blog or contact us at:

email sales -or-

worldwide (303) 997-1300 x. 103 -or-

toll-free U.S.(800-918-2763)

New Product Demo Guide

NetEqualizer is excited to announce a new and improved product demonstration experience.

Our revamped Product Demonstration Guide and demonstration website allows users to take a self-guided tour of the NetEqualizer – walking through key features and screens.

Once you’ve been introduced to the NetEqualizer and its features, the demonstration allows you interact with a real NetEqualizer so that you can try out the features for yourself. Ample documentation with screen shots and examples is also provided to assist you on your tour.

Register for a Product Demonstration today! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us:

email sales -or-

worldwide (303) 997-1300 x. 103 -or-

toll-free U.S.(800-918-2763)


Best Of The Blog

How to Speed Up Your Internet Connection with a Bandwidth Controller

by Art Reisman – CTO – NetEqualizer

It occurred to me today, that in all the years I have been posting about common ways to speed up your Internet, I have never really written a plain and simple consumer explanation dedicated to how a bandwidth controller can speed up your Internet. After all, it seems intuitive, that a bandwidth controller is something an ISP would use to slow down your Internet; but there can be a beneficial side to a bandwidth controller, even at the home-consumer level.

Quite a bit of slow Internet service problems are due to contention on your link to the Internet. Even if you are the only user on the Internet, a simple update to your virus software running in the background can dominate your Internet link. A large download often will cause everything else you try (email, browsing) to come to a crawl.

What causes slowness on a shared link?

Everything you do on your Internet creates a connection from inside your network to the Internet, and all these connections compete for the limited amount of bandwidth which your ISP provides.

Your router (cable modem) connection to the Internet provides first-come, first-serve service to all the applications trying to access the Internet. To make matters worse, the heavier users (the ones with the larger persistent downloads), tend to get more than their fair share of router cycles. Large downloads are like the school yard bully – they tend to butt in line, and not play fair.

So how can a bandwidth controller make my Internet faster?

A smart bandwidth controller will analyze all your Internet connections on the fly. It will then selectively take away some bandwidth from the bullies. Once the bullies are removed, other applications will get much needed cycles out to the Internet, thus speeding them up.

To keep reading, click here.

Photo Of The Month

Gobble Gobble!

Gobble Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at NetEqualizer! Check out this wild turkey one of our wildlife cameras caught on film!

View our videos on YouTube

NetEqualizer News: October 2011


NetEqualizer News

October 2011

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we present a video demonstration detailing how active connections behave on a live network. The video utilizes a real-time reporting tool that you can leverage with your own NetEqualizer data! We also preview some new features coming this fall (IPv6 Visibility and ToS Priority), announce our FlyAway Contest winner, and discuss P2P blocking! As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

Our Website     Contact Us      NetEqualizer Demo      Price List      Join Our Mailing List

In This Issue:

:: Demo: How Active Connections Behave in Real Time

:: And The Fly Away Contest Winner Is…

:: Update on New Features Coming This Fall

:: Best Of The Blog

Demo: How Active Connections Behave in Real Time

We often get asked about active connections and how they are handled by the NetEqualizer. The answer to this question is fundamental to how equalizing and behavior-based bandwidth shaping works.

In early August, we posted an article on our blog that discussed how you could generate real-time reports using Excel and your NetEqualizer data. The video linked to below references that project, and uses it to demonstrate how active connections behave in real-time on a live network.

There are some interesting observations you can take away from this video, even if you don’t implement the reporting tool on your own device. You will come away from it with a better understanding of how users are connected through your network, and what types of connections are occurring every second.

Click the image below to view the video.  Note: real-time reports using Excel functionality has been replaced by Dynamic Real-Time Reporting in software update 7.1:

Some key points from the video are:

  • For every user, there are many connections occurring that most people are probably not aware of. The OS might be checking for updates, A/V could be checking for new signatures, an email program is reloading its inbox, etc.
  • Most connections have a very short life, and they are also mostly very small. 90% of connections will only utilize 10 to 1000 bytes/second.
  • Flows change dynamically. Even for a single user, 2 to 20 connections (or more) can exist at any moment in time.
  • Contention can occur quickly. Because of the variability in connections (especially with a broad user base), network contention can occur quickly. If large downloads are part of the active connections, this contention happens even faster.
  • The NetEqualizer instantly responds to this problem by taking a Robin Hood approach to the hogging connections. It shaves off bandwidth from the large connections and gives that much-needed resource to the thousands of other connections that require it.

View the blog article referenced in the video above here:
Dynamic Reporting With The NetEqualizer.

And The FlyAway Contest Winner Is…

frontier airlinesEvery few months, we have a drawing to give away two roundtrip domestic airline tickets from Frontier Airlines to one lucky person who’s recently tried out our online NetEqualizer demo.
The time has come to announce this round’s winner.
And the winner is…Mohammed O. Ibrahim of Zanzibar Connections.  Congratulations, Mohammed!
Please contact us within 30 days (by November 10th, 2011) at: email
admin -or- 303-997-1300 to claim your prize.

Update on New Features
Coming This Fall!

We are very excited about the new features coming in our Fall 2011 Software Update!

IPv6 Visibility

As we await the need to handle significant amounts of IPv6 traffic, NetEqualizer is already implementing solutions to meet the shift head-on. The Fall 2011 Software Update will include features that will provide enhanced visibility to IPv6 traffic.

This feature will help our customers that are experimenting with IPv6/IPv4 dual stacks, as they start to see IPv6 Internet traffic on their networks.

The enhanced IPv6 capabilities that we are implementing in the NetEqualizer this Fall include:

  • Providing you with visibility to current IPv6 connections so that you to determine if you need to start shaping IPv6 traffic.
  • Logging the IPv6 traffic so that you can obtain a historical snapshot to help in your IPv6 planning efforts.

ToS Priority

We are now seeing an influx of customers looking to provide priority bandwidth to VoIP connections on their links without all the hassle of complex router rules. NetEqualizer’s new Type of Service (ToS) Priority feature is the solution. Included in the Fall 2011 Software Update, the ToS Priority feature will automatically prioritize connections that are utilizing services like VoIPas well as a host of other types of important connections. This will provide improved quality of service (QoS) on your network.

Larger SSD Drives

We will now be shipping with larger SSD drives to customers waiting to try our NetEqualizer Caching Option (NCO).

As always, the Fall 2011 Software Update will be available at no charge to customers with valid NetEqualizer Software Subscriptions (NSS).

For more information on the NetEqualizer or the upcoming release, visit our blog or contact us at: email sales -or- toll-free U.S.(800-918-2763), worldwide (303) 997-1300 x. 103.

Best of the Blog

How Effective is P2P Blocking?
by Art Reisman – CTO – NetEqualizer

This past week, a discussion about peer-to-peer (P2P) blocking tools came up in a user group that I follow. In the course of the discussion, different IT administrators chimed in, citing their favorite tools for blocking P2P traffic.

At some point in the discussion, somebody posed the question, “How do you know your peer-to-peer tool is being effective?” For the next several hours the room went eerily silent.

The reason why this question was so intriguing to me is that for years I collaborated with various developers on creating an open-source P2P blocking tool using layer 7 technology (the Application Layer of the OSI Model). During this time period, we released several iterations of our technology as freeware. Our testing and trials showed some successes, but we also learned how fragile the technology was and we were reluctant to push it out commercially.

To keep reading, click here.

Photo Of The Month

NetEqualizer CF Card

New Design!

As of August 10th, 2011, our Compact Flash Cards are being shipped with a new label design and card case!

View our videos on YouTube

NetEqualizer News: September 2011


NetEqualizer News

September 2011  

Greetings! 

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we discuss two new features that will be available in the Fall 2011 Software Update (IPv6 visibility and ToS priority handling), as well as introduce a new and exciting way to report on and monitor your NetEqualizer data. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

In This Issue:
:: IPv6 Visibility
:: ToS Priority Feature
:: Dynamic Reporting With The NetEqualizer
:: Best Of The Blog

 Our Website         Contact Us         NetEqualizer Demo         Price List     Join Our Mailing List

 Coming This Fall:
IPv6 Visibility 

As part of the Fall 2011 Software Update, the NetEqualizer will provide enhanced visibility to IPv6 traffic. This feature will help our customers that are experimenting with IPv6/IPv4 dual stacks, as they start to see IPv6 Internet traffic on their networks.

As you may be aware, the NetEqualizer today currently supports passing IPv6 traffic; we are now adding visibility to IPv6 traffic.

Do not worry if you are not in dual stack mode yet, as customers are reporting only tiny amounts of IPv6 Internet traffic at this point.  Industry tests to-date show that only about 0.0026% (2 thousands of a percent!) of Internet traffic is IPv6.

Nonetheless, NetEqualizer is preparing for the eventual move by gradually building in IPv6 visibility and functionality in upcoming releases.

The enhanced IPv6 capabilities that we are implementing in the NetEqualizer this Fall include:

  • Providing you with visibility to current IPv6 connections so that you to determine if you need to start shaping IPv6 traffic.
  • Logging the IPv6 traffic so that you can obtain a historical snapshot to help in your IPv6 planning efforts.

Building in these capabilities now will help make the transition down the road that much easier for both us and our customers.

To read more about IPv6, and the debate surrounding it, check out our NetEqualizer News blog articles on the subject:

Ten Things You Should Know About IPv6

Do We Really Need IPv6 and When

As always, the Fall 2011 Software Update will be available at no charge to customers with valid NetEqualizer Software Subscriptions (NSS).

For more information on the NetEqualizer or the upcoming Fall 2011 Software Update, visit our blog or contact us via email: sales or toll-free U.S.(800-918-2763), worldwide (303) 997-1300 x. 103.

Coming This Fall:   

ToS Priority Feature

In addition to IPv6 visibility, our upcoming Fall 2011 Software Update will have the ability to honor ToS-bit priority on any stream coming into your network. The NetEqualizer methodology is the only optimization device that can provide QoS in both directions of a voice or video call over an Internet link.

For additional details and a breakdown of the technology, check out our recent blog article:

NetEqualizer Provides Unique Low-Cost Way To Send Your Priority Traffic Over The Internet an article from our blog

As always, the Fall 2011 Software Update will be available at no charge to customers with valid NetEqualizer Software Subscriptions (NSS).

For more information on the NetEqualizer or the upcoming release, visit our blog or contact us via email to sales or call toll-free U.S.(800-918-2763), worldwide (303) 997-1300 x. 103.

Dynamic Reporting  

with the NetEqualizer  

Have you ever wanted an inexpensive real-time bandwidth reporting tool?  

Well, you’ve found it.

Dynamic Reporting

The NetEqualizer can now easily integrate with Excel to deliver powerful monitoring and reporting of data – all in near real time. The tutorial linked to below outlines just one of the ways the NetEqualizer can work with Excel in this way. Feel free to implement the solution described, or build upon it to create your own unique reporting tool. The possibilities are infinite!

Dynamic Reporting With The NetEqualizer

an article from our blog.

Best Of The Blog

 

The Story of NetEqualizer  

by Art Reisman – CTO – NetEqualizer  

 

The following story details the start of NetEqualizer as a product and as a company. It is an interesting story that should prove inspirational for any entrepreneurial mind looking to start a business.

In the spring of 2002, I was a systems engineer at Bell Labs in charge of architecting Conversant – an innovative speech-processing product. Revenue kept falling quarter by quarter, and meanwhile upper management seemed to only be capable of providing material for Dilbert cartoons, or perhaps helping to fine-tune the script for The Office. It was so depressing that I could not even read Dilbert anymore – those cartoons are not as amusing when you are living them every day.

Starting in the year 2000, and continuing every couple of months, there was a layoff somewhere in the company (which was Avaya at the time). Our specific business unit would get hit every six months or so. It was like living in a hospice facility. You did not want to get to know anybody too well because you would be tagged with the guilt of still having a job should they get canned next week. The product I worked on existed only as a cash cow to be milked for profit, while upper management looked to purchase a replacement. I can’t say I blamed them; our engineering expertise was so eroded by then that it would have been a futile effort to try and continue to grow and develop the product. Mercifully, I was laid off in June of 2003.

Prior to my pink slip, I had been fiddling with an idea that a friend of mine, Paul Harris, had come up with. His idea was to run a local wireless ISP. This initially doomed idea spawned from an article in the local newspaper about a guy up in Aspen, CO that was beaming wireless Internet around town using a Pringles canI am not making this up.

 

To keep reading, click here or download the full story…

EPUB cover

Download eBook

NetEqualizer Story CoverDownload PDF

Photo Of The Month  

Chautauqua Park

Fall is coming…   

The transition from summer to fall in Colorado is one of the most beautiful times of the year. The temperatures return to bearable, and the sun is out late enough for an after-work hike or an evening picnic. Experiencing this phenomenal weather is one of the many reasons we live, work, and play in Colorful Colorado.

    View our videos on YouTube

NetEqualizer News: August 2011


NetEqualizer NewsAugust 2011  

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we introduce the groundbreaking new NetEqualizer feature — prioritizing voice traffic over an open Internet! As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

In This Issue:
:: NetEqualizer Achieves Industry First: Priority over open Internet
:: YouTube Caching Update
:: The New NetEqualizer Feature Poll Results Are In
:: NetEqualizer Tech Talks: Equalizing
:: Best Of The Blog

 Our Website         Contact Us         NetEqualizer Demo         Price List     Join Our Mailing List

NetEqualizer Achieves Industry First: Priority Over Open Internet 

Have you ever been told you couldn’t use standard Type of Service (ToS) bit priority over the Internet? Well, that’s all about to change.

Our upcoming Fall 2011 NetEqualizer Software Release will have the ability to honor ToS-bit priority on any stream coming into your network. The NetEqualizer methodology is the only optimization device that can provide QoS in both directions of a voice or video call over an Internet link.

For additional details and a breakdown of the technology, check out our recent blog article,NetEqualizer Provides Unique Low-Cost Way to Send Priority Traffic over the Internet.”

As always the Fall 2011 software update will be available at no charge to customers with valid NetEqualizer Software Subscriptions (NSS).

For more information on the NetEqualizer or the upcoming release, visit our blog or contact us via email to admin or toll-free U.S.(800-918-2763), worldwide (303) 997-1300 x. 103.

YouTube Caching Update

Since we first released the NetEqualizer YouTube caching feature (NCO) last year, we’ve kept an eye on ways to better optimize the technology.

The initial release used a 120-gigabit SSD drive, which was the most stable option at the time. However, after tracking recent developments with SSD drives, it looks like some high quality 640-gig drives are coming on to the market.

After the success of the 120-gigabit drive, we’ve decided to switch over to the higher capacity drives shortly. So, if you currently have the NCO and are interested in an upgrade, or are looking to acquire the feature for the first time, let us know.  Contact NetEqualizer Sales via email to sales or call (303) 997-1300 x103.

The New NetEqualizer Feature Poll Results Are In

Last month, we posted an online survey to get your feedback about potential upcoming NetEqualizer features. After a month of responses, your opinions are clear. Thanks for your feedback!

And now the results…

The most popular feature request has been to have the NetEqualizer send out email notifications about certain important events on your network. For example, this might include notifications of when your network link is at capacity, or perhaps a periodic list of suspected P2P users once a day.

Emailing events from your NetEqualizer will require some integration with your default email server, so next month we’ll publish a detailed how-to guide with specific examples on integrating with common servers. We’ll also provide additional examples of potential notification events. Based on your feedback, we’ll narrow these notification options down.


Stay tuned and thanks for your feedback!

NetEqualizer Tech Talks: Equalizing 

 

In this most recent edition of NetEqualizer Tech Talks, we’ll explore the concept of “Equalizing,” one of the foundations of the NetEqualizer. This should be very useful if you’re new to the NetEqualizer behavior-based fairness approach, or are just trying to explain our concept to a colleague (try sending them the video link).

This video is an easy-to-understand explanation, and captures the NetEqualizer Equalizing process in a nutshell. Enjoy!

NetEqualizer Tech Talk Video - Equalizing Explained
NetEqualizer Tech Talk Video – Equalizing Explained

Best Of The Blog

   

 10 Things You Should Know about IPv6  

I just read the WordPress article about World IPv6 Day, and many of the comments in response expressed that they only had a very basic understanding of what an IPv6 Internet address actually is. To better explain this issue, we have provided a 10-point FAQ that should help clarify in simple terms and analogies the ramifications of transitioning to IPv6.

To start, here’s an overview of some of the basics:

 

Why are we going to IPv6?

Every device connected to the Internet requires an IP address. The current system, put in place back in 1977, is called IPv4 and was designed for 4 billion addresses. At the time, the Internet was an experiment and there was no central planning for anything like the commercial Internet we are experiencing today. The official reason we need IPv6 is that we have run out of IPv4 addresses (more on this later).

 

Where does my IP address come from?

A consumer with an account through their provider gets their IP address from their ISP (such as Comcast). When your provider installed your Internet, they most likely put a little box in your house called a router. When powered up, this router sends a signal to your provider asking for an IP address. Your provider has large blocks of IP addresses that were allocated to them most likely by IANI.

 

If there are 4 billion IPv4 addresses, isn’t that enough for the world right now?

It should be considering the world population is about 6 billion. We can assume for now that private access to the Internet is a luxury of the economic middle class and above. Generally you need one Internet address per household and only one per business, so it would seem that perhaps 2 billion would be plenty of addresses at the moment to meet the current need.

 

So, if this is the case, why can’t we live with 4 billion IP addresses for now?

To keep reading, click here.

Photo Of The Month  

 NetEq. Box

Our New Shipping Box 

Expecting a NetEqualizer shipment? Keep an eye out for our new shipping materials, distinctly labeled with our NetEqualizer logo!  

   View our videos on YouTube

NetEqualizer News Special Feature: Technology and Other Predictions for 2012 and Beyond


As we pass the midpoint of 2011, it’s time to start making a few predictions about the year to come. So keep an eye out for these developments over the next 18 months. If we’re right, be sure to give us credit. If we’re wrong, just act like this post never happened. Here are our thoughts…

Prediction #1: Apple or a new player will make a splash in the search engine market. Current search engine technology, although thorough and expansive, tends to be lacking in smarts. How many times have you searched for a page or link that you know for sure is out there, and despite your best efforts of crafting your key words, Google or Yahoo can’t find what you are looking for? Sometimes, unless you know the exact context of a sentence, in correct word order, you just can’t find it. And that leaves room for improvement.

This is not a knock on Google, Yahoo! or Bing, per se, but rather just an observation that there is room for another generation of search engine and somebody is going to do it sooner rather than later. However, we expect the next-generation search engine will sacrifice speed for intelligence. By this we mean that it is likely the newer generation may crank for 20 seconds to find what you are looking for, but the slower speeds will be more than compensated for by the better, more relevant results. New search engine technology will take the market by storm because of more useful content.

The reason why we suspect Apple might solve this puzzle is that Steve Jobs has a habit of leap frogging technology and bringing it to market. Google has grown by acquisition and not so much by innovation. If not Apple, then it might also come out of left field at some graduate research lab. Regardless, we think it will happen.

Prediction #2: There will be a tumble in the social networking and search engine stock bubble. The expectations for advertisement revenue will not pan out. Placement ads are just too easy to ignore on the Internet. These sites do not have the captive audience of the super bowl, and advertisers are starting to figure that out.

There will be price pressure on the content sites and search engine sites to lower costs to attract advertisers as they actually start to measure and go public with their returns on advertising investment. There will be quite a bit of pressure to hide this fact in the media, as there is now, but at some point content advertising revenues ROI will bare this out.

We are not predicting a collapse in this market, but just some major adjustments to valuations. This is based on our six years of experience placing online ads. Prices have gone up and results were never there to justify cost.

Related Article: Facebook Valuation Too High

Related Article: Demand Builds for TV Ad Time

Prediction #3: Fuel prices will plummet as the Chinese and Indian economies cool down.

Although oil production and exploration is flat in the US, every other country around the world is picking up exploration and exploiting new reserves. The market will be flooded with oil by mid or late 2012, sending the price of gasoline back down to $2 or below.

Prediction #4: There will be a new resurgence in urban mesh networks.

Why? These things really do enhance economic activity. The initial round of municipal mesh networks was a learning experiment with some limited success and way too much inexperience in sourcing providers.

The real reason for cities to invest in these networks will be the growing monthly fees with 4G devices that traditional providers are charging to cover the cost of their larger networks. Users will gravitate toward areas where they can switch over to free wireless. A well-covered downtown or small city with free wireless service will be a welcome island for business users and consumers alike. Think of it like a stepping inside a circle where you can make free unlimited long distance calls while the rest of the provider networks gouge you when step outside.

We’ll see how these predictions pan out. As always, feel free to share your thoughts on our predictions, or some predictions of your own, in the comments section below.

In a related article, the WSJ reports Wi-fi is the largest provider for Mobile Devices such as the iPhone.

We Want Your Feedback!


In this month’s newsletter, we gave an overview of a few potential new NetEqualizer features. While we have several options under consideration, we want to know what features might serve you best. So, take a look at the options below, visit our survey, and let us know what you think!

  1. The option to send an SNMP trap to your SNMP monitor during a network event.
  2. The option to receive email notification during certain specified network events.This could include when:
    1. Bandwidth utilization is high – This would happen when your bandwidth utilization is extremely high and might indicate the need for an upgrade in bandwidth
    2. Errors occur on an interface card – This would be used to detect if there was a problem with one of your Ethernet or fiber connections
    3. A new P2P user is detected on your network – This would make even better and more efficient use of our new P2P Locator Technology
    4. YouTube has been viewed from cache – An email would be dispatched every time a YouTube video is served up from our NetEqualizer Caching Option
  3. A form of active directory integration to specify a rate limit on a user by name rather than IP address. For example, you could say John Smith is limited to one-megabit downloads. As of now, you would need to know John Smith’s IP address. With an integration of active directory, you can specify him by name.
  4. A standard pre-written quota utility (source code) with each system. Right now, the NetEqualizer just comes with an API (see the NetEqualizer User Quota API). However, this new utility would be something you could plug IPs into from the GUI and have a monthly quota enforced right away. Initially, it would be a very simple tool, but it could be expanded. In other words, this would be a good working program using our API to get you a head start on expanding and writing a full-bodied quota tool.

Click here or on the survey to respond.

New Features Survey

Click here or on the survey to respond.

NetEqualizer News: July 2011


NetEqualizer News

July 2011  

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we introduce several potential new NetEqualizer features and give the latest news on our $10,000 IPv6 switchover contest. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

In This Issue:
:: Top New NetEqualizer Feature Ideas
:: Tech Talk – YouTube Caching
:: $10,000 IPv6 Switchover Contest Update
:: Best Of The Blog

 Our Website         Contact Us         NetEqualizer Demo         Price List     Join Our Mailing List

Top New NetEqualizer Feature Ideas

The recent success of our P2P Locator Technology has given us even more encouragement to roll out additional NetEqualizer features. Of course, we want to devote the most attention to those features that meet the needs and demands of our customers.

So, we’ve listed some ideas and features below that could potentially be added to an upcoming mainstream NetEqualizer release. We’ll decide which features to focus on in part based on your feedback (click here for our survey).

Here are a few of our works-in-progress for the NetEqualizer:

  1. The option to send an SNMP trap to your SNMP monitor during a network event.
  2. The option to receive email notification during certain specified network events.This could include when:
    1. Bandwidth utilization is high – This would happen when your bandwidth utilization is extremely high and might indicate the need for an upgrade in bandwidth
    2. Errors occur on an interface card – This would be used to detect if there was a problem with one of your Ethernet or fiber connections
    3. A new P2P user is detected on your network – This would make even better and more efficient use of our new P2P Locator Technology
    4. YouTube has been viewed from cache – An email would be dispatched every time a YouTube video is served up from our NetEqualizer Caching Option
  3. A form of active directory integration to specify a rate limit on a user by name rather than IP address. For example, you could say John Smith is limited to one-megabit downloads. As of now, you would need to know John Smith’s IP address. With an integration of active directory, you can specify him by name.
  4. A standard pre-written quota utility (source code) with each system. Right now, the NetEqualizer just comes with an API (see the NetEqualizer User Quota API). However, this new utility would be something you could plug IPs into from the GUI and have a monthly quota enforced right away. Initially, it would be a very simple tool, but it could be expanded. In other words, this would be a good working program using our API to get you a head start on expanding and writing a full-bodied quota tool.

Would any of these benefit your network? Let us know what you think with this short survey.

Tech Talk – YouTube Caching

We recently began work on a series of videos to better explain many of the features and functions of the NetEqualizer. We’re calling the series “Tech Talk,” and we hope to expand on the collection frequently. This month, we’re releasing a short feature on the NetEqualizer Caching Option (NCO). Stay tuned for more!

NetEqualizer Tech Talk - YouTube Caching

NetEqualizer Tech Talk – YouTube Caching

$10,000 IPv6 Switchover Contest Update

After several months of submissions, the $10,000 IPv6 switchover contest introduced in March has now been closed to new entries. As planned, predictions of the worldwide IPv6 switchover date were taken until June 29. We’d like to thank all of you who participated and provided your input.

And now we wait.

If and when the worldwide switchover (as defined in the contest rules) occurs, the lucky winner will be both announced in our newsletter as well as notified personally. In the meantime, keep the discussion of the IPv6 switch going on our blog! And for those of you still getting a handle on the IPv6 switch, be sure to take a look at our recent article, “10 Things You Should Know about IPv6.”

Best Of The Blog

Just How Fast Is Your 4G Network?

The subject of Internet speed and how to make it go faster is always a hot topic. So that begs the question, if everybody wants their Internet to go faster, what are some of the limitations? I mean, why can’t we just achieve infinite speeds when we want them and where we want them?

Below, I’ll take on some of the fundamental gating factors of Internet speeds, primarily exploring the difference between wired and wireless connections. As we have “progressed” from a reliance on wired connections to a near-universal expectation of wireless Internet options, we’ve also put some limitations on what speeds can be reliably achieved. I’ll discuss why the wired Internet to your home will likely always be faster than the latest fourth generation (4G) wireless being touted today.

To get a basic understanding of the limitations with wireless Internet, we must first talk about frequencies. (Don’t freak out if you’re not tech savvy. We usually do a pretty good job at explaining these things using analogies that anybody can understand.) The reason why frequencies are important to this discussion is that they’re the limiting factor to speed in a wireless network.

The FCC allows cell phone companies and other wireless Internet providers to use a specific range of frequencies (channels) to transmit data. For the sake of argument, let’s just say there are 256 frequencies available to the local wireless provider in your area. So in the simplest case of the old analog world, that means a local cell tower could support 256 phone conversations at one time.

However, with the development of better digital technology in the 1980s, wireless providers have been able to juggle more than one call on each frequency. This is done by using a time sharing system where bits are transmitted over the frequency in a round-robin type fashion such that several users are sharing the channel at one time.

The wireless providers have overcome the problem of having multiple users sharing a channel by dividing it up in time slices. Essentially this means when you are talking on your cell phone or bringing up a Web page on your browser, your device pauses to let other users on the channel. Only in the best case would you have the full speed of the channel to yourself (perhaps at 3 a.m. on a deserted stretch of interstate). For example, I just looked over some of the mumbo jumbo and promises of one-gigabit speeds for 4G devices, but only in a perfect world would you be able to achieve that speed.

In the real world of wireless, we need to know two things to determine the actual data rates to the end user.

To keep reading, click here.

Photo Of The Month  

NetEqualizer Wordie

NetEqualizer Wordle 

Just for fun, we created a NetEqualizer Wordle that captures many of the capabilities and qualities of the NetEqualizer.  

    View our videos on YouTube

NetEqualizer News: June 2011


NetEqualizer News

June 2011

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we introduce our newest NetEqualizer feature — P2P locating — and look back at the highlights of our most recent Technical Seminar. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

In This Issue:
:: The NetEqualizer P2P Locator Is Now Available
:: Another Successful Tech Seminar Is In The Books…Here’s A Rundown
:: Our Next NetEqualizer Tech Seminar Is Coming Soon!
:: See You At edACCESS
:: Best Of The Blog

Our Website         Contact Us         NetEqualizer Demo        Price List       Join Our Mailing List

The NetEqualizer P2P Locator Is Now Available

This past week, we announced the release of our new peer-to-peer (P2P) locator technology. The release is the most recent addition to the growing capabilities of NetEqualizer 5.0 and marks another significant step in our commitment to ensuring network quality while maintaining user privacy.

Although the NetEqualizer has long been able to thwart P2P behavior without any controversial layer 7 packet inspection, this new utility can now automatically pinpoint and identify an individual P2P user or gamer without looking at any private data.The key to determining a user’s behavior is the analysis of fluctuations in their connection counts and the total number of connections. By taking snapshots of network activity over a few seconds, the utility differentiates P2P use from gaming, Web browsing and even video.

Using this information, the utility provides:

  • A list of users that are suspected of using P2P
  • A list of users that are likely hosting gaming servers
  • A confidence rating for each user (from high to low)
  • The option of tracking users by IP and MAC address

In the past, the ability to do so required the time-consuming study of network behavior. However, the new utility provides administrators the results without the additional legwork.

NetEqualizer 5.0 and the P2P locator technology are available at no charge for customers with current NetEqualizer Software Subscriptions (NSS). Additional information about the NetEqualizer and user privacy can be found in the NetEqualizer News Blog’s “NetEqualizer Offers Net Neutrality, User Privacy Compromise.”


Another Successful Tech Seminar Is In the Books…Here’s A Rundown

biola university logo

This past March, we held our most recent complimentary NetEqualizer Technical Seminar in Southern California with host Biola University. As always, the Seminar was great, and we had a wonderful time meeting with several current and future NetEqualizer users.

In addition to Biola, the Seminar was attended by NetEqualizer users such as Chapman University, The Master’s College, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, and JD Enterprises, who came all the way from Haiti.

After opening remarks from Biola University Director of IT Operations Scott Himes, APconnections co-founder and CTO Art Reisman took center stage to discuss several recent technical advances in the NetEqualizer such as the release of the new NetEqualizer Caching Option and enhancements to provide a softer license violation enforcement and an improved handling of pools.

Keeping with our Seminar’s traditional hands-on approach, Biola’s network was also analyzed live on a large projection screen with various network reports displayed and possible P2P/BitTorrent sessions identified and discussed.The hands-on demonstration was followed by a Q&A session with topics ranging from fine-tuning to network policy enforcement to IPv6 adoption and how the internals of NetEqualizer handle bandwidth accounting and connection persistence. (This included Art’s story about his shameless offer to give his ISP a NetEqualizer to improve his Internet connection so he could listen to a stream of the Broncos game uninterrupted from his rural Kansas farm.)


However, the Q&A was not just a one-way street, as we always enjoy hearing suggestions from participants and learning more about the individual issues facing network administrators. There was a relative consensus that the biggest bandwidth management challenge right now is video (YouTube, Netflix, Apple TV, Hulu, etc.). This was substantiated by a recent Morgan Stanley Research report that was cited during the meeting, as well as through users’ own experiences and observations. A number of participants shared their own video policies as well as how these policies may change going forward. Even those customers who had surplus bandwidth available either have considered or are currently contemplating bandwidth limits on users/IPs as a response.

Overall, the Biola University Seminar was another enjoyable and successful meet-up for both current and future NetEqualizer users as well as the APconnections staff. We hope to see you at our next Seminar (see our next article)!

Our Next NetEqualizer Tech Seminar Is Coming Soon!NetEq. Seminars

Plans are now in the works for our next complimentary NetEqualizer Technical Seminar. We’re currently taking suggestions for potential hosts, so if you’re interested, be sure to let us know.

The upcoming Seminar will cover:

  • The various tradeoffs regarding how to stem P2P and bandwidth abuse
  • Recommendations for curbing RIAA requests
  • Demo of the NetEqualizer network access control module
  • Lots of customer Q&A and information sharing on how clients are using the NetEqualizer, including some hands-on probing of a live system

If that wasn’t enough, we’ll be giving away great door prizes to attendees.  So, be sure not to miss this Seminar!  We’ll keep you posted as the details develop and the final location is determined. For more information, or to express interest in hosting, contact us via email to admin.

See You At edACCESS!

edAccess

edACCESS is quickly approaching!  On June 22nd, APconnections will be attending the edACCESS conference in Hightstown, New Jersey.  We hope to see many of you there!

The edACCESS conference is geared toward small schools and colleges, and was recommended to us by long-time customer Tom Phelan of The Peddie School.  The conference is unique in that it is limited to 100 attending schools, and the attendees define the topics to be discussed during the first sessions!  If you’re a small school or college and would like to attend, please register at edaccess.

Also, we’re always open to new conferences.  So, if you know of a conference that you think would be a good fit for us, please email us at sales with your recommendation.  See you in New Jersey!


Best of The Blog

The True Price Of Bandwidth Monitoring

For most IT administrators, bandwidth monitoring of some sort is an essential part of keeping track of, as well as justifying, network expenses. Without visibility into a network load, an administrator’s job would degrade into a quagmire of random guesswork. Or would it?

The traditional way of looking at monitoring your Internet has two parts: the fixed cost of the monitoring tool used to identify traffic, and the labor associated with devising a remedy. In an ironic inverse correlation, we assert that costs increase with the complexity of the monitoring tool. Obviously, the more detailed the reporting tool, the more expensive its initial price tag. The kicker comes with part two. The more expensive the tool, the more  detail it will provide, and the more time an administrator is likely to spend adjusting and mucking, looking for optimal performance.

But is it a fair to assume higher labor costs with more advanced monitoring and information?

Well, obviously it would not make sense to pay more for an advanced tool if there was no intention of doing anything with the detailed information it provides. Why have the reporting tool in the first place if the only output was to stare at reports and do nothing? Typically, the more information an admin has about a network, the more inclined he might be to spend time making adjustments.

On a similar note, an oversight often made with labor costs is the belief that when the work needed to adjust the network comes to fruition, the associated adjustments can remain statically in place. However, in reality, network traffic changes constantly, and thus the tuning so meticulously performed on Monday may be obsolete by Friday.

Does this mean that the overall productivity of using a bandwidth tool is a loss? Not at all. Bandwidth monitoring and network mucking can certainly result in a cost-effective solution.  But where is the tipping point?  When does a monitoring solution create more costs than it saves?

A review of recent history reveals that technologies with a path similar to bandwidth monitoring have become commodities and shunned the overhead of most human intervention.

To keep reading, click here.

Photo Of The Month  

Bolder Boulder

2011 Bolder Boulder

This month’s photo is a shot of the finish area in Folsom Field of the Bolder Boulder, a local 10k race drawing over 50,000 participants every Memorial Day. 

NetEqualizer News: May 2011


NetEqualizer News

May 2011  

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we continue our conversation on YouTube Caching, with articles on why you should consider Caching and how to measure its effectiveness. We also give you the Facts on QoS, in this month’s Best of Blog article.  Finally, we clue you in on the upcoming edAccess Conference, in case it is a fit for you!

As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

In This Issue:
:: How to Measure Effectiveness of YouTube Caching
:: See you at edAccess!
:: Why consider the NetEqualizer Caching Option (NCO)?
:: Best of The Blog

 Our Website         Contact Us         NetEqualizer Demo         Price List     Join Our Mailing List 

How to Measure Effectiveness of YouTube Caching

 

Since the release of YouTube caching support on our NetEqualizer bandwidth controller, we have been able to review several live systems in the field.

Below we will go over the basic hit rate of YouTube videos and explain in detail how this effects the user experience. The analysis  below is based on an actual snapshot from a mid-sized state university, using a 64 Gigabyte cache, and with approximately 2000 students in residence.

The Squid Proxy server provides a wide range of statistics. You can easily spend hours examining them and become exhausted with MSOS, an acronym for “meaningless stat overload syndrome”.  To save you some time we are going to look at just one stat from one report.

From the Squid Statistics Tab on the NetEqualizer, we selected the Cache Client List option. This report shows individual Cache stats for all clients on your network. At the very bottom is a summary report totaling all squid stats and hits for all clients.

 To keep reading, click here.

See you at edAccess

June 20th-23rd, 2011!

This June 22nd, NetEqualizer will be attending the edAccess conference in Hightstown, New Jersey.

edAccess

The edAccess Conference is geared to small schools and colleges, and was recommended to us by long-time customer Tom Phelan of The Peddie School. 

The conference is unique in that it is limited to 100 attending schools, and the attendees define the topics to be discussed during the 1st sessions!  If you are a small school or college and would like to attend, please register at edaccess

We are always open to considering conferences to attend.  If you know of a conference that you think would be a good fit for us, please email us at sales with your recommendation.     

Why Consider the NetEqualizer Caching Option (NCO)?

   

Over the last several years, the volume of static, deterministic Internet traffic has grown by leaps and bounds, to the point where it may comprise 40% and up of your Internet traffic.

While behavior-based shaping on its own is a great solution for reducing congestion on your network, adding on caching is a complementary approach, and should be considered as part of your overall bandwidth management strategy, as caching reduces your overall Internet traffic volume.

In this white paper, we discuss the capabilities of our add-on module, the NetEqualizer Caching Option (NCO).

Caching Executive White Paper
Caching Executive White Paper

 

 

Read more from our

Caching Executive White Paper.

Best of the Blog

QoS is a Matter of Sacrifice


Usually in the first few minutes of talking to a potential customer, one of their requests will be something like “I want to give QoS (Quality of Service) to Video”, or “I want to give Quality of Service to our Blackboard application”.

The point that is often overlooked by resellers  pushing QoS solutions, is that providing QoS for one type of traffic always involves taking bandwidth away from something else.


The  network hacks understand this, but for those that are not down in the trenches

sometimes we must gently walk them through a scenario.

Click here to read more….

Photo Of The Month  

NetEqualizers in the Data Center

NetEqualizers racked up in our Data Center

We use this configuration to run our high-volume and stress tests against new releases and features, most recently NetEqualizer 5.0 and the NetEqualizer Caching Option (NCO).

Visit our blog                    View our videos on YouTube

NetEqualizer News: April 2011


NetEqualizer News

April 2011  

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News. This month, we introduce the new NetEqualizer 5.0 release, which includes YouTube caching, and announce our latest FlyAway contest winner. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.
In This Issue:
:: NetEqualizer 5.0, YouTube Caching Released
:: Predict The IPv6 Switchover Date And Win $10,000
:: Best Of The Blog
:: And The FlyAway Contest Winner Is…
 Our Website         Contact Us         NetEqualizer Demo         Price List         Join Our Mailing List

NetEqualizer 5.0, YouTube Caching Released  

This month, we’re excited to introduce our most recent NetEqualizer release. NetEqualizer 5.0 will add several new features, including the much-anticipated YouTube caching feature (NCO).

As previously discussed, we’ve developed an embedded caching capability for YouTube videos that runs directly on your NetEqualizer (NE3000 or above only). When the NCO is activated, a squid proxy server is loaded, along with proprietary NetEqualizer configuration and integration software. The NCO caches frequently used, static content, which is primarily YouTube videos. To learn more about this feature, read our YouTube FAQ.

Here’s what you can expect from the new release:

  1. NetEqualizer 3000 Caching Option (NCO)
  2. Linux Kernel Update
  3. Refreshed Graphical Reporting
  4. Enhanced Large Pool/VLAN Tuning
  5. Relaxed License Enforcement
  6. Name Your NetEqualizer!
  7. New Speed Log Tool
  8. Better Monitor Bandwidth Hogs
  9. Reduce CPU Load
  10. Enhanced Firewall

Full details of the release features can be found here.
This software update is available without charge for NetEqualizer customers with a current NetEqualizer Software Subscription (NSS). However, there is a one-time charge to activate the NetEqualizer Caching Option (NCO) module. For more information on the NCO, NSS or on the 5.0 software update, email sales.

Predict The IPv6 Switchover Date And Win $10,000

Earlier this month, we announced details of our ongoing contest to predict the worldwide switchover date to IPv6. We’re offering a $10,000-USD prize to the person (or persons) whose entry is closest to the date the switchover occurs.

This worldwide switch will be determined by the first time 50 companies with individual annual revenues of over $5 million change their public-facing Internet addresses to a full 128-bit address and completely abandon all use of IPv4. (Click here for a full list of contest rules.)

The contest is meant to spur discussion of the difficulties that will likely be faced before a full switch to IPv6 can occur. Amid the rumors and concerns surrounding the growing shortage of IPv4 addresses, little attention has been paid to how communication will be affected during the upcoming transition.

We recently addressed these issues in detail on our blog, and space has been dedicated on the site to facilitate discussion of the IPv6 transition. In addition to entering the contest, you’re invited to express your opinions about if and when the full transition will take place and what it means for your network.

Online contest registration began April 1st and will be open until June 29th, 2011.

Best Of The Blog

Confessions Of A Hacker

By Zack Sanders, NetEqualizer Guest Columnist

It’s almost three in the morning. Brian and I have been at it for almost sixteen hours. We’ve been trying to do one seemingly simple task for a while now: execute a command that lists files in a directory. Normally this would be trivial, but the circumstances are a bit different. We have just gotten into EZTrader’s blog and are trying to print a list of files in an unpublished blog post. Accomplishing this would prove that we could run any command we wanted to on the Web server, but it’s not working.

There must be something wrong with the syntax – there always is, right? We have to write the command into an ASP user control file, upload it via the attachment feature in the blog engine, and then reference it in a blog post. It’s ugly, but we are so close to piecing it all together.

I think it’s time for another cup of coffee.

EZTrader is a fictitious online stock trading company. Their front end is relatively basic, but their backend is complex. It allows users to manage their entire portfolio and has access to personal information and other types of sensitive data.

EZTrader came to us with an already strong security profile, but wanted to really put their site through the ringer by having us conduct an actual attack. They run automated scans regularly, have clean, secure code for their backend infrastructure with great SEO, and validate every request both on the client side and the server side. It really was impressive.

In the initial meeting with EZTrader, we were given a login and password for a generic user account so that we could test the authenticated portion of the site. We focused a lot of time and energy there because it is where the highest level of security is needed.

After days of trying to exploit this section of the website with no results, frustration was growing in each of us. Surely there must be some vulnerability to find, some place where they failed to properly secure the data.

Nope.

So what do you do when the front door is locked? Try a window.

To keep reading, click here.

And The FlyAway Contest Winner Is…

frontier

Every few months, we have a drawing to give away two roundtrip domestic airline tickets from Frontier Airlines to one lucky person who’s recently tried out our online NetEqualizer demo.

The time has come to announce this round’s winner.

And the winner is…Ezra Gottlieb of the Morristown-Beard School.

Congratulations, Ezra! Please contact us within 30 days by emailing admin or calling 303-997-1300 x105 to claim your prize.

Photos Of The Month

NetEqualizer2 Small Shadow

New-Look NetEqualizer 2000 and 3000

NetEqualizerSmall - Shadow

New-Look NetEqualizer 4000

This month, we’ve devoted our photo section to showing off our new look for the NetEqualizer 2000, 3000 and 4000.

                    View our videos on YouTube

NetEqualizer News: March 2011


NetEqualizer News March 2011
Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News. This month, we release details about our upcoming NetEqualizer Tech Seminar and introduce our new innovative load generating technology. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.
In This Issue:
:: NetEqualizer Is Coming To Southern California
:: Best Of The Blog
:: YouTube Caching Testing Leads To Load Generator Breakthrough
Join Our Mailing List!
Our WebsiteContact UsLive NetEqualizer DemoNetEqualizer Price List

NetEqualizer Is Coming To Southern California
biola university logoWill you be in Southern California this March? If so, be sure not to miss the next complimentary NetEqualizer Technical Seminar at Biola University.Join Biola University Director of IT Operations Scott Himes and APconnections CTO Art Reisman on March 22 to discuss network optimization and get a first-hand look at the NetEqualizer technology. Whether you’re an existing customer or just starting to think about bandwidth shaping, come learn more about the NetEqualizer’s capabilities, get your questions answered, and share your experiences with other users.We would love to see you in sunny Southern California! Please reserve a space by registering today.Click here for details and to register.

Best Of The Blog The Dark Side Of Net NeutralityNet neutrality, however idyllic in principle, comes with a price. The following article was written to shed some light on the big money behind the propaganda of net neutrality. It may change your views, but at the very least it will peel back one more layer of the onion that is the issue of net neutrality.First, an analogy to set the stage:I live in a neighborhood that equally shares a local community water system among 60 residential members. Nobody is metered. Through a mostly verbal agreement, all users try to keep our usage to a minimum. This requires us to be very water conscious, especially in the summer months when the main storage tanks need time to recharge overnight.

Several years ago, one property changed hands, and the new owner started raising organic vegetables using a drip irrigation system. The neighborhood precedent had always been that using water for a small lawn and garden area was an accepted practice, however, the new neighbor expanded his garden to three acres and now sells his produce at the local farmers market. Even with drip irrigation, his water consumption is likely well beyond the rest of the neighborhood combined.

You can see where I am going with this. Based on this scenario, it’s obvious that an objective observer would conclude that this neighbor should pay an additional premium – especially when you consider he is exploiting the community water for a commercial gain.

The Internet, much like our neighborhood example, was originally a group of cooperating parties (educational and government institutions) that connected their networks in an effort to easily share information. As the Internet spread away from government institutions, last-mile carriers such as cable and phone companies invested heavily in infrastructure.

To keep reading, click here.

YouTube Caching Testing Leads To Load Generator BreakthroughWe continue to have great success with the NetEqualizer YouTube caching beta units we released in January and are very close to a full release. However, to ensure the best possible results in our upcoming general release, we’re still fine-tuning some of the technology’s details.While we obviously would like to release the YouTube caching feature as soon as we can, we’ve had some significant breakthroughs in the testing process itself. In our mission to provide as efficient and effective product as possible, we’ve developed an entirely new load simulator that’s opening new doors when it comes to pre-market testing.Our existing class of load generators is very good at creating a heavy load and controlling it precisely, but in order to validate a caching system, we needed a different approach. We needed a load simulator that could simulate the variations of live Internet traffic. For example, to ensure a stable caching system, you must take the following into consideration:

  • A caching proxy must perform quite a large number of DNS look-ups
  • It must also check tags for changes in content for cached Web pages
  • It must facilitate the delivery of cached data and know when to update the cache
  • The Squid process requires a significant chunk of CPU and memory resources
  • For YouTube integration, the Squid caching server must also strip some URL tags on YouTube files on the fly

To answer this challenge, and provide the most effective caching feature, we’ve spent the past few months developing a custom load generator. Our simulation lab has a full one-gigabit connection to the Internet. It also has a set of servers that can simulate thousands of simultaneous users surfing the Internet at the same time. We can also queue up a set of YouTube users vying for live video from the cache and Internet. Lastly, we put a traditional point-to-point FTP and UDP load across the NetEqualizer using our traditional load generator.

Once our custom load generator was in place, we were able to run various scenarios that our technology might encounter in a live network setting. Our testing exposed some common, and not so common, issues with YouTube caching and we were able to correct them. This kind of analysis is not possible on a live commercial network, as experimenting and tuning requires deliberate outages. We also now have the ability to re-create a customer problem and develop actual Squid source code patches should the need arise.

For more information on the upcoming NetEqualizer YouTube caching feature, or on our load generator, contact us by emailing admin, 1-800-918-2763, or see some of our past blog articles:

Photo Of The Month

Leadville
Leadville, Colorado

Each month, we’ll post one of our favorite photos we’ve taken recently. Of course, feel free to submit photos of your own. They may just end up in our next newsletter!

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