The Voice Report Telecom Junkies Interview: “Bandwidth Battles: A New Approach”


Linfield College logoListen in on a conversation with Andrew Wolf, telecom manager and NetEqualizer customer from Linfield College, and Art Reisman, CTO APconnections, as they spoke to George David, president of CCMI and publisher of TheVoiceReport.

Andrew switched from a Packeteer to a NetEqualizer in mid-2011.  In this interview Andrew talks about how the NetEqualizer has not only reduced Linfield College’s network congestion, but also has saved him both ongoing labor costs (no babysitting the solution or adding policies) and upfront costs on the hardware itself.

Listen the to broadcast: Bandwidth Battles: A New Approach
From TheVoiceReport Telecom Junkies, aired on 4/5/2012 | Length 12:16

College & University Guide

College & University Guide

Telecom manager Andrew Wolf at Linfield College had a problem – one just about all communications pros face or will face: huge file downloads were chewing up precious bandwidth and dragging down network performance. Plenty of traditional fixes were available, but the cost and staff to manage the apps were serious obstacles. Then Andrew landed on a unique “bandwidth behavior” approach from Art Reisman at NetEqualizer. End result – great performance at much lower costs, a real win-win. Get all the details in this latest episode of Telecom Junkies.

Want to learn more? See how others have benefited from NetEqualizer.  Read our NetEqualizer College & University testimonials.  Download our College & University Guide.

Handley Library Case Study: A post from the trenches….


Editor’s Note:  We would like to thank our guest contributor, Sara Holloway of Handley Regional Library, for contributing this post about her experience with the NetEqualizer.  Thanks Sara!

Handley Regional Library Logo

Greetings!  I am a librarian from a medium-sized library system in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia who has stumbled into the world of NetEqualizer.  During my 19 year tenure here at Handley Regional Library, our computer landscape has changed radically.  When I came on board in 1993,  the library boasted XT computers that booted to our Novell network via a 5.25″ floppy disk.  Our monitors were 13″ amber screens that glowed with the pre-GUI interface of DataTrek, our integrated library system (ILS).  The only “real” computer was in the director’s office – a Compaq AT box with a VGA monitor, running Windows 3.0.  We had no computers for the public to use, but did provide a typewriter for those who needed to create a document.

Since then, we have made many changes in our IT infrastructure and in the computing services we provide.  We are not a cutting-edge technology library, like many I read about in the library literature, but we do a good job with what resources we have.  Handley Regional Library now has three branches, serving two counties (Frederick and Clarke) and the city of Winchester.  We have 120 computers serving staff and the public.  I am proud to be one of the “farmers” that helped this garden grow.

In 2010, our telecommunications began to show the strain of over 100 computers on the WAN and trying to use the Internet simultaneously.  We changed telecomm providers and were able to eke out a little more bandwidth within the tight budget constraints we faced.  Still, staff and patrons alike complained about the computers being slow.  Everything came to a head in late July 2011, when our telecomm circuits were suddenly maxed out and our ILS system (Library.Solution provided by TLC) ran at a snail’s pace.  Of course, I was on vacation at the time!

The day I returned from vacation, I received a call from a colleague.  “We have a real problem!  When will you be back?”  I immediately discovered, upon my return to work, she was correct.  There was a real problem; I just didn’t know how to fix it….at first.

Fortunately for us, the Library of Virginia (with money from the Gates Foundation) had contracted a consultant to assist several libraries in the state suffering from inadequate bandwidth problems.  The consultant had visited our library system in July 2011, just before my vacation.  In his report, he strongly suggested if we could not afford to increase our bandwidth, that instead we implement a bandwidth equalizing tool, specifically recommending NetEqualizer by name.  After careful consideration, I decided to spend my entire IT budget to  purchase a NetEqualizer.

Of all the purchases I have made for IT in my 19 years here at Handley Regional, the NetEqualizer was perhaps my best decision ever.Sara Holloway, Librarian
Handley Regional Library

We installed the NetEqualizer in late August 2011 at our branch which hosts our data, web and email servers.   It was very easy to configure and install.  Almost immediately, staff at all three branches noticed an increase of speed in our Circulation and Cataloging programs.  I tweaked the NetEqualizer configuration to prevent bandwidth hogs and to allow some breathing room in the network so our ILS processes could access our servers more easily.  I am still learning how to interpret all the data provided by ntop, but what I do understand has helped me to stop some unwanted network traffic, which has further increased the available bandwidth.

Of all the purchases I have made for IT in my 19 years here at Handley Regional, the NetEqualizer was perhaps my best decision ever.  I am thankful to the consultant who did some research to find this product and recommend it.  While it doesn’t solve our fundamental problem of inadequate bandwidth, it has been a lifesaver in keeping essential ILS functions operating.  Thanks, NetEqualizer!

Is Equalizing Technology the Same as Bandwidth Fairness?


Editors Note:

The following was posted in a popular forum in response to the assumption that the NetEqualizer is a simple fairness engine. We can certainly understand how our technology can be typecast in the same bucket with simple fairness techniques; however, equalizing provides a much more sophisticated solution as the poster describes in detail below.

You have stated your reservations, but I am still going to have to recommend the NetEqualizer. Carving up the bandwidth equally will mean that the user perception of the Internet connection will be poor even when you have bandwidth to spare. It makes more sense to have a device that can maximize the user’s perception of a connection. Here are some example scenarios.

NetEQ when utilization is low, and it is not doing anything:
User perception of Skype like services: Good
User perception of Netflix like services: Good
User perception of large file downloads: Good
User perception of “ajaxie” webpages that constantly update some doodad on the page: Good
User perception of games: Good

Equally allocated bandwidth when utilization is low:
User perception of Skype like services: OK as long as the user is not doing anything else.
User perception of Netflix like services: OK as long as long as the user is not doing anything else.
User perception of large file downloads: Slow all of the time regardless of where the user is downloading the file from.
User perception of “ajaxie” webpages that constantly update some doodad on the page: OK
User perception of games: OK as long as the user is not doing anything else. That is until the game needs to download custom content from a server, then the user has to wait to enter the next round because of the hard rate limit.

NetEQ when utilization is high and penalizing the top flows:
User perception of Skype like services: Good
User perception of Netflix like services: Good – The caching bar at the bottom should be slightly delayed, but the video shouldn’t skip. The user is unlikely to notice.
User perception of large file downloads: Good – The file is delayed a bit, but will still download relatively quickly compared to a hard bandwidth cap. The user is unlikely to notice.
User perception of “ajaxie” webpages that constantly update some doodad on the page: Good
User perception of games: Good downloading content between rounds might be a tiny bit slower, but fast compared to a hard rate limit.

Equally allocated bandwidth when utilization is high:
User perception of Skype like services: OK as long as the user is not doing anything else.
User perception of Netflix like services: OK as long as long as the user is not doing anything else.
User perception of large file downloads: Slow all of the time regardless of where the user is downloading the file from.
User perception of “ajaxie” webpages that constantly update some doodad on the page: OK as long as the user is not doing anything else.
User perception of games: OK as long as the user is not doing anything else. That is until the game needs to download custom content from a server, then the user has to wait to enter the next round because of the hard rate limit.

As far as the P2P thing is concerned. While I too realized that theoretically P2P would be favored, in practice it wasn’t really noticeable.  If you wish, you can use connection limits to deal with this.

One last thing to note:  On Obama’s inauguration day, the NetEQ at our University was able to tame the ridiculous number of live streams of the event without me intervening to change settings.  The only problems reported turned out to be bandwidth problems on the other end.

NetEqualizer Brand Becoming an Eponym for Fairness and Net Neutrality techniques


An eponym is a general term used to describe from what or whom something derived its name. Therefore, a proprietary eponym could be considered a brand name, product or service mark which has fallen into general use.

Examples of common brand Eponyms include Xerox, Google, and  Band Aid.  All of these brands have become synonymous with the general use of the class of product regardless of the actual brand.

Over the past 7 years we have spent much of our time explaining the NetEqualizer methods to network administrators around the country;  and now,there is mounting evidence,  that  the NetEqualizer brand, is taking on a broader societal connotation. NetEqualizer, is in the early stages as of becoming and Eponym for the class of bandwidth shapers that, balance network loads and ensure fairness and  Neutrality.   As evidence, we site the following excerpts taken from various blogs and publications around the world.

From Dennis OReilly <Dennis.OReilly@ubc.ca> posted on ResNet Forums

These days the only way to classify encrypted streams is through behavioral analysis.  ….  Thus, approaches like the NetEqualizer or script-based ‘penalty box’ approaches are better.

Wisp tutorial Butch Evans

About 2 months ago, I began experimenting with an approach to QOS that mimics much of the functionality of the NetEqualizer (http://www.netequalizer.com) product line.

TMC net

Comcast Announces Traffic Shaping Techniques like APconnections’ NetEqualizer…

From Technewsworld

It actually sounds a lot what NetEqualizer (www.netequalizer.com) does and most people are OK with it…..

From Network World

NetEqualizer looks at every connection on the network and compare it to the overall trunk size to determine how to eliminate congestion on the links

Star Os Forum

If you’d really like to have your own netequalizer-like system then my advice…..

Voip-News

Has anyone else tried Netequalizer or something like it to help with VoIP QoS? It’s worked well so far for us and seems to be an effective alternative for networks with several users…..

A Case Study: Hospitality Industry and the Cost of Internet Congestion


In the hospitality industry, expenses are watched closely. All expenditures must be balanced with customer satisfaction, and reality dictates that some customer complaints cannot immediately be remedied. With the reduced revenue that’s come with the current economic climate, difficult decisions must be made about what issues to address and when.

While the quality of basic hotel services and comforts may still serve as the baseline for guests’ satisfaction, high-speed Internet service is quickly becoming a factor when choosing where to stay. This is especially true for business travelers.

In this article, we use interviews with NetEqualizer customers in the hospitality industry and our own experience to define the cost of a congested Internet pipe in terms of dollar impact on a hotel business. The conclusions below are based on a business-class, three-star travel hotel with 200 rooms. These same metrics can be scaled up to larger conference centers or smaller travel hotels.

We start with the online behavior that’s behind bandwidth congestion and then discuss the financial repercussions.

Causes of Bandwidth Congestion and Slow Internet Speeds

A hotel of this size typically has two to 10 megabits of shared bandwidth available to guests. We assume 30 percent of the guests (roughly 60 people) are using the Internet for business purposes (e-mail, browsing, Skype, etc.) in the early to late evening hours. We also assume that 10 percent of the guests (20 people) will use the Internet for more intense recreational purposes such as Youtube or Hulu.

With this ratio of users, the Hulu and YouTube users will easily overwhelm a 10-megabit link, causing a rolling brown out for most of the evening.

Cost of Rolling Brown Out

We conservatively assume that about 5 percent of hotel customers will remember a poor Internet experience and try another hotel the next time they’re in town. Considering this, the approximate loss of revenue amounts to about $500 per week as a result of poor quality of Internet service.

Obviously this loss could potentially be offset by new guests and competitors’ customers that were unhappy with their experience and crossed over to your hotel. However, if you solve the congestion issue — especially if other hotels in your area are encountering similar problems — your retained customer base would slowly rise over time.

And, as the old business adage goes, it’s generally cheaper and more efficient to keep customers than to constantly find new ones.

Cost of Support

Most franchise hotels outsource their IT services to a third party. Your IT consulting staff will likely try to remedy the congestion through trial and error by adjusting various on-site equipment. We will assign a $500-a-month cost to this effort. Even if this cost is absorbed by an IT consultant already on retainer, it still cuts into time they could spend improving other services.

Cost of Additional Bandwidth

One potential remedy that’s often tried, and comes with a price that’s most likely not simply absorbed into a retainer, is simply purchasing additional bandwidth. The good news is that bandwidth contracts are always getting less expensive. However, most operators have found that doubling or tripling the size of their Internet pipes has only a temporary effect on the congestion issue.

So, we’ll assign a cost to this solution of $400 per month, with varying effectiveness.

Conclusion

Based on these findings, bandwidth congestion on a hotel Internet link will conservatively cost about $1,000 per month depending on the specific circumstances and attempted solutions. Although there is no universal solution to the problem — even continuously purchasing additional bandwidth — an automated congestion control device like the NetEqualizer can potentially reduce this cost by 90 percent. And, unlike purchasing additional bandwidth, the cost isn’t recurring and the NetEqualizer generally pays for itself within a matter of months.

Therefore, as we repeatedly see in the experiences of our customers (in the hospitality industry and elsewhere), the solution to Internet congestion, and its ultimate cost, are often less dependent on the amount of bandwidth that’s available and more defined by how it’s managed.

Partial List of NetEqualizer Customers in the Hospitality Field

(Note: These are individual franchises)

Interview with Tommy Prozach NetEqualizer Reseller of the Quarter


April 1 2010

Tommy Prozach

The final numbers are in for first quarter 2010, and Tommy Prozach has done it again. Tommy and his consulting business moved more  NetEqualizer systems than anybody else in his age bracket.

Tommy brings a diverse background and passion to his trade. He draws from technical  background and mixes that with  a metaphysical   zen like approach to helping customers. His diverse approach to business  translates into success. Just this past week , we were fortunate enough to catch up with Tommy and learn a little bit more on his approach to life and representing NetEqualizer.

Editor: Tommy , I just read your bio and not only are you Networking Guru but I noticed you have also been very active in the Sierra Club and also in Activist activities from the 70’s , how did you stumble into Network Consulting ?

Tommy:  It all started with my work at the Antarctic research station. Connectivity of all the lab equipment for data collection was of vitally important for the resident scientists to coordinate their research data . Our network tech was supposed to take  a short leave   days to visit his wife , and  as nature would have it a storm broke out socking us in, he was unable to get back to base for over a month.  Our network went down  during his absence and there was nobody with formal training  to fix it. So I did what I have always done, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. With the endless Antarctic winter night there were no distractions. I learned everything I could about networking, Routers, Firewalls QOS, Window, Linux, TCP/IP.  By the time the old tech was ready to come back they did not need him anymore, lazy slouch reassigned him on the spot and sent him out watch Penguins.

Editor: So how did the NetEqualizer come into play ? What got you started ?

Tommy: Well the one smart thing the old tech did was when he was ordering provisions, he picked up a NetEqualizer thinking it might come in handy. Once I had the network up and running people started complaining about their Skype calls breaking up to home. Skype was our link to our outside world ,and I soon figured out that many a large data file being sent back to the states was clobbering the link. I found the literature on the NetEq and was able to configure it in a few minutes. We were able to run all winter and keep people happy with our limited bandwidth, and I was able to relax and go back and read all the Harry Potter series without interruption.

Editor: So how did you transition from Tech to NetEqualizer Sales ?

I made quite a few contacts posting remedies for people with Network Issues that winter when I was in Antarctica.  When I returned to the states I had quite a few consulting inquiries to fix the slowness on corporate networks. I ended up hiring several techs to help out, and as a group we found that many congestion situations could be solved by inserting NetEqualizer system, and now,  here we are today installing NetEqualizer systems on a weekly basis.

Editors Note:

April Fools

NetEqualizer chosen as role model bandwidth controller for HEOA


Just ran across this posting where  Educause recommended the NetEqualizer solution as role model for bandwidth control in meeting  HEOA requirements.

Pomona College and Reed College were sited as two schools currently deploying Netequalizer equipment.

Related Article from Ars Techica website also discusses approaches schools are using to meet HEOA rules.

About Educause:

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. EDUCAUSE helps those who lead, manage, and use information resources to shape strategic decisions at every level. A comprehensive range of resources and activities is available to all interested employees at EDUCAUSE member organizations, with special opportunities open to designated member representatives.

About HEOA:

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) (HEOA) was enacted on August 14, 2008, and reauthorizes the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). This page provides information on the Department’s implementation of the HEOA.

Some parts of the law will be implemented through new or revised regulations. The negotiated rulemaking process will be used for some regulations, as explained below. Other areas will be regulated either through the usual notice and comment process or, where regulations will merely reflect the changes to the HEA and not expand upon those changes, as technical changes.

What NetEqualizer Users Are Saying (Updated September 2010


Editor’s Note: As NetEqualizer’s popularity has grown, more and more users have been sharing their experiences on message boards and listservs across the Internet. Just to give you an idea of what they’re saying, here a few of the reviews and discussion excerpts that have been posted online over the past several months…

Tom Phelan, Peddie School
From 2nd week in Feb, 2010 ISED-L listserv archive

For QoS we used several different traditional QoS solutions over the years. We have Websense, but we don’t use it to manage QoS issues, just access to certain sites. After years of constantly tweaking QoS rules and never being completely satisfied with the results we decided to go a completely different direction and bought NetEqualizer (http://www.netequalizer.com/) in Sept 2008 I think. Once we set it up we haven’t touched it and we’ll never go back. We haven’t tweaked a rule in well over a year. You can read about how it works on their website, but in a nutshell it takes a completely different approach to QoS. Rather than using a complex set of rules, it takes a protocol and URL agnostic approach to QoS and focuses exclusively on bandwidth usage.

Basically, it works by slowing down only the top bandwidth users once usage hits a defined percentage of overall bandwidth. For example, when our bandwidth usage is less than 85% the NetEqualizer does nothing. When it goes over 85% the NE puts a slight delay on packets from top users and progressively adds a delay to their packets to ensure bandwidth stays below the defined connection max. The effect is that the vast majority of users see no degradation of service and bandwidth hogs have their connections slowed. It takes into account bursty traffic like HTTP by calculating bandwidth based on several seconds of traffic so web browsing is rarely affected. There are some rules to allow exceptions for servers or special devices, facilitate low bandwidth streaming, put caps on certain IP addresses, etc., but we have found that a minimalist approach to configuration works best.

In addition to providing a better experience for our users, we’ve also seen our average bandwidth usage go way up because during off peak times nobody is getting slowed. We pay for the bandwidth, why not use it? I highly recommend it and its simplicity makes it relatively cheap. It is a fraction of the cost of many other QoS solutions.

I recommend using the NetEqualizer for QoS and let ISA stick to what it does best which is to control access not manage QoS.

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Dave Barker, Broadlinc Communications

I just wanted to let you guys at Netequalizer know how much I depend on my NE2000. I am a small ISP with about 360 customers and I would be lost without the Netequalizer. The people there are always very friendly and quick to respond. Keep up the great work.

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Kevin Kershner, CS&T Inc.

I admin several NetEqualizers in hospital and county couthouse networks and the clients love them.  They let employees have freedom from whitelists and yet keep data lines open for legit traffic, makes for happier employees.

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Damien McNabb, Ronaldcom.ca

We provide IT support and services for a large hotel and conference center here in Russell Manitoba. Since installing the NetEqualizer our Internet Congestion  during peak usage has disappeared. I was so impressed with the NetEqualizer that we are now  installing two more NetEqualizer units at  other  smaller resort properties here in town.

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Craig Mackay, Director, Mascon Cable Systems, AirSpeed Wireless Inc

We just returned from the cable operators convention here in Canada. We were surprised to learn that similar operators without the benefit on a NetEqualizer often needed as much as 250 megabits sustained bandwidth to keep 650 users running. We on the other hand run about 4000 on 60 megabits made possible by the unique abilities of our NetEqualizer to distribute out the load over time more efficiently. That translates to the NetEqualizer investment paying for itself many times over…

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Mike Ferguson, Chapman University

I’d also recommend you look at the NetEqualizer. We evaluated it this summer along with several other packet-shaping solutions. We also needed to upgrade our NetEnforcer to handle more than 100M for our ResHalls, but we weren’t impressed with its P2P classification. As a matter of fact, we haven’t had much success using L7 packet inspection of P2P traffic with other solutions: either using our Fortigate firewalls, the Packeteer box we used before, or the NetEnforcer we just retired. We don’t block P2P, but we do want to throttle it. You can be diligent about updating your policies from the manufacturer as soon as they’re released; however, we found a significant amout of P2P traffic still bypassed the filters right after an update because it wasn’t identified properly.

Our work-around with the NetEnforcer was to throttle the number of connections per second and limit the total amount of bandwidth per IP. But we always felt we were constraining our available resources, particularly by reducing bandwidth per IP, as we were limiting a person’s bandwidth to DSL/Cable-like levels just because of lack of L7 capabilities.

With the NetEqualizer, we’re still limiting the number of connections per second, but we’re using the “behavior” algorithms to dynamically adjust bandwidth per IP so all users are given a fair amount of bandwidth. But at the same time, we’re still able to throttle P2P traffic just as effectively without it affecting quality video streaming or anything else non-P2P related.

Last, the cost is 1/4th to 1/7th less than a comparable L7 solution. We were able to buy 2 NetEqualizer units and hook them to both our public core boxes for redundancy. The total price was astoundling less than any other solution we looked at, except one which didn’t meet our requirements. For the other solutions, the price you’re paying is to invest in their R&D efforts to classify L7 traffic accurately and manage it effectively. But our experience using the NetEqualizer for the last 2 months has been that it manages bandwidth just as well, if not better.

In our case, we have just less than 2000 residents, but we also have wireless clients on the Academic side that go through the same NetEqualizer (NE3000). Our second unit is strictly for failover. I’ve seen up to 4500 active users, which at night we give 150M of bandwidth. Even at peak (100%) utilization of the allotted bandwidth, the NetEqualizer gives great results.

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Daniel. K. Biodun
VPN / Support
Network Operation Center Dept (NOC)
Coollink Nigeria’s ICT powerhouse.

We use NetEqualizer to manage our growing broadband network across Nigeria. It definitely gave us a return on investment right away.

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To see what more customers are saying, click here.

APconnections’ NetEqualizer Reaches Three Million Users and Growing


LAFAYETTE, Colo., November 16, 2009 — APconnections, a leading supplier of plug-and-play bandwidth shaping products, today announced that over three million Internet users have been served by companies implementing its NetEqualizer technology.

The NetEqualizer is a plug-and-play bandwidth control and WAN/Internet optimization appliance that is flexible and scalable. When the network is congested, NetEqualizer’s unique “behavior shaping” technology gives priority to latency sensitive applications, such as VoIP and email. It does it all dynamically and automatically, improving on other bandwidth shaping technology out there. It controls network flow for the best WAN optimization.

Since being introduced in 2003, the NetEqualizer has been successfully installed in businesses, libraries, universities, ISPs, and office parks around the world. Administrators have found the technology to be extremely effective in networks both large and small.

“We switched to a NetEqualizer in 2006 after previously using a high-end solution and have been very pleased with the results ever since. It’s been exactly what we were looking for and has worked just as advertised,” said Derrick D’Gama, director of Information Services at Lewis University. “We provide Internet service to over 5,000 students and have now effectively minimized any bandwidth issues. To have such a low-maintenance product work so well has made my job that much easier.”

In order to match its proven track record, the NetEqualizer is constantly evolving to meet the developing demands of the technology industry. Over the past two months, NetEqualizer has released software capable of name-based shaping and shaping over VLAN. The NetEqualizer is also now able to serve as a CALEA probe, offering ISPs an affordable, yet effective, answer to recently introduced law enforcement regulations.

To better demonstrate the NetEqualizer’s capabilities, APconnecitons is now offering a free online live demo of the technology at its Web site, http://www.netequalizer.com.

APconnections is a privately held company founded in 2003 and is based in Lafayette, Colorado.

How much money does a NetEqualizer Save an ISP or cable internet operator?


Just got this e-mail in unsolicited from a customer. We hear this all the time.

The context of the thread was that our customer had just gotten back from a convention and had told a couple of their peer companies (Canadian Cable Operators) about the NetEq and his improved margins.

Ya I’m sure they have to go home and pitch the deal to the management but
they are soooo wasting bandwidth.

6500 customers using 250M sustained

We on the other hand have 4000 using 60M sustained

Crazy!

What NetEqualizer Users Are Saying (Updated June 2009)


Editor’s Note: As NetEqualizer’s popularity has grown, more and more users have been sharing their experiences on message boards and listservs across the Internet. Just to give you an idea of what they’re saying, here a few of the reviews and discussion excerpts that have been posted online over the past several months…

Wade LeBeau — The Daily Journal Network Operations Manager

NetEqualizer is one of the most cost-effective management units on the market, and we found the unit easy to install—right out of the box. We made three setting changes to match our network using the web (browser) interface, connected the unit, and right away traffic shaping started, about 10minutes total setup time. The unit has two Ethernet ports…one port toward your user network, the other ports toward your broadband connection/server if applicable. A couple of simple clicks and you can see reporting live as it happens. In testing, we ran our unit for 30-days and saw our broadband reports stabilize and our users receiving the same slices of broadband access. With the NetEqualizer, there is no burden of extensive policies to manage….The NetEqualizer is a nice tool to add to any network of any size. Businesses can see how important the Internet is and how hungry users can be for information.

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DSL Reports, April 2009

The Netequalizer has resulted in dramatically improved service to our customers. Most of the time, our customers are seeing their full bandwidth. The only time they don’t see it now is when they’re downloading big files. And, when they don’t see full performance, its only for the brief period that the AP is approaching saturation. The available bandwidth is re-evaluated every 2 seconds, so the throttling periods are often brief.

Bottom line to this is that we can deliver significantly more data through the same AP. The customers hitting web pages, checking e-mail, etc. virtually always see full bandwidth, and the hogs don’t impact these customers. Even the hogs see better performance (although that wasn’t one of my priorities).

Click here to read more.

NetEqualizer-Lite Revolutionizing WISP Performance


After just over a month in the field, NetEqualizer-Lite users are reporting they can now easily increase Internet subscribers by 30 to 50 percent at once congested towers and access point (AP) sites. For example, a customer with an 802.11 B radio now has 100 subscribers on his network and is still running smoothly. In the past, this customer’s norm for saturation stood at roughly 20 users, but he is now enjoying a 500-percent increase after installing the NetEqualizer-Lite. This is translating into both higher revenues and a more satisfied customer base.

Although the core technology behind the NetEqualizer has not changed, with the latest release price point, many users are deploying the NetEqualizer-Lite closer to customers or just behind their congested wireless access points. Customer satisfaction with the new release has been consistent across the board, with users voicing their reviews to us directly as well as online. One user on DSLReports.com commented:

“The Netequalizer has resulted in dramatically improved service to our customers….Bottom line to this is that we can deliver significantly more data through the same AP. The customers hitting web pages, checking e-mail, etc. virtually always see full bandwidth, and the hogs don’t impact these customers. Even the hogs see better performance” (dslreports.com).

In addition to offering users the same services available through previously released NetEqualizer models, the NetEqualizer-Lite is Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), handling up to 10 megabits of traffic and 200 users. Furthermore, the NetEqualizer-Lite also serves to solve hidden node issues without customers having to change their existing APs.*

The NetEqualizer-Lite lists at $1499, but we are currently offering volume discounts. Please contact us for more information at 1-800-918-2763 or admin@apconnections.net.

*Hidden nodes are a problem frequently encountered by commercial wireless operators that has previously been solved using APconnections’ AirEqualizer technology. The NetEqualizer-Lite’s capability to offer similar solutions is simply one of the multiple benefits of the technology for administrators of networks of many different types and sizes.

What NetEqualizer Users Are Saying (updated June 2009)


Editor’s Note: As NetEqualizer’s popularity has grown, more and more users have been sharing their experiences on message boards and listservs across the Internet. Just to give you an idea of what they’re saying, here a few of the reviews and discussion excerpts that have been posted online over the past several months…

Wade LeBeau — The Daily Journal Network Operations Manager

NetEqualizer is one of the most cost-effective management units on the market, and we found the unit easy to install—right out of the box. We made three setting changes to match our network using the web (browser) interface, connected the unit, and right away traffic shaping started, about 10minutes total setup time. The unit has two Ethernet ports…one port toward your user network, the other ports toward your broadband connection/server if applicable. A couple of simple clicks and you can see reporting live as it happens. In testing, we ran our unit for 30-days and saw our broadband reports stabilize and our users receiving the same slices of broadband access. With the NetEqualizer, there is no burden of extensive policies to manage….The NetEqualizer is a nice tool to add to any network of any size. Businesses can see how important the Internet is and how hungry users can be for information.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

DSL Reports, April 2009

The Netequalizer has resulted in dramatically improved service to our customers. Most of the time, our customers are seeing their full bandwidth. The only time they don’t see it now is when they’re downloading big files. And, when they don’t see full performance, its only for the brief period that the AP is approaching saturation. The available bandwidth is re-evaluated every 2 seconds, so the throttling periods are often brief.

Bottom line to this is that we can deliver significantly more data through the same AP. The customers hitting web pages, checking e-mail, etc. virtually always see full bandwidth, and the hogs don’t impact these customers. Even the hogs see better performance (although that wasn’t one of my priorities).

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Loyola University — Chicago

At Loyola University Chicago, we are on our 2nd iteration of the NetEqualizer. We used the product happily for a number of years when we had a T3. We upgraded our internet pipe to 100MB and after about 6 months we noticed 100% saturation and students complaining of slow internet for various applications. We knew then that we needed another NetEqualizer. Once we plugged the box in it started managing the bandwidth, our pipe has not been saturated since, and more importantly the complaints have ceased.

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Alan Leech, Orlean Invest West Africa Limited, January 24, 2009

Gentlemen

We purchased 3 of your devices last year and I have to say we are very impressed by them.

They have matched our requirement perfectly and allow us to provide fair usage to our clients whilst reducing our overall OPEX.

You can be sure we will be purchasing in the future.

Alan Leech

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Illinois Wesleyan Replaces Packeteer with NetEqualizer as Part of Bandwidth Upgrade, January 19, 2009

By tshort

Network Services has completed the Network Upgrade Project.  The Internet bandwidth available to the Campus was doubled from 45MBs (DS3) to 90MBs in December.  Along with the additional bandwidth, a new bandwidth sharing device call a NetEqualizer replaced the existing Packeteer.  The NetEqualizer uses bandwidth sharing fairness rules based on network usage to share bandwidth and balance the available bandwidth between all users.  The project made a dramatic improvement to Internet access for the campus community.

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Chris Chamberlain, Oakland University in Detroit

Doug,

Because Netequalizer simply makes things fair, i.e. gives everyone on the link the same percentage of the bandwidth “pie” the netequalizer can handle any type of traffic, because it isn’t classifying anything.

Chris Chamberlain

Oakland University

>On Apr 30, 2008, at 4:42 PM, Green, Doug wrote:

>We are considering Netequalizer. They are claiming to be able to manage  encrypted BitTorrent. Can anyone verify this?

>Thank you,

>Doug Green

>Manager, Network Services & Security

>University of New Hampshire

>50 College Rd

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Charlie Prothero, CIO, Keystone College

I have written on a couple of Educause lists about our experience with the Netequalizer, which has been invariably positive.  It’s a snap to set up and doesn’t require anywhere near the tuning effort that a Packeteer does.  For general Internet circuit coverage, I’m very pleased with it.

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Ben Schworm, The Independent School Educators’ List, ISED-L

We just re-evaluated our systems after realizing that even with the Packetshaper in place, we’d need to increase the amount of bandwidth that we offer the community. First of all, the new Packetshaper hardware we’d need was going to cost $18,000. Second, over the 5 years that we’ve had the Packetshaper, we’ve seen its effectiveness decrease with the increased availability and academic usage of real-time streaming apps and the increasing amount of traffic that is classified as either pure web browsing traffic (whether it is or not) or “default”, the traffic class that catches all the other traffic that the Packetshaper can’t specifically identify. Furthermore, the Packetshaper can tend to be a pretty admin-intensive system to keep working effectively.

The NetEqualizer really only deals with end-user behavior in that it looks at the bandwidth that a given user is trying to utilize relative to what’s available and throttles “bad” users in order to try to maintain fair access to the bandwidth. It also throttles “bad” applications like P2P that open many connections to and from a given user. The box is nearly configuration and maintenance-free and costs a fraction of what the Packetshaper does.

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Ed Loebach, UVMRESNET

I was asked to tell our experience with NetEqualizer. We purchased the box about 3 weeks into first semester when our old bandwidth control server died and support was not forthcoming from the company.

We put NetEqualizer in place and fired it up with little to no problem. For the first 5-6 hours it worked as we were told it would with NO configuration. After the first day we noticed problems with students exceeding the connection limits we set. We called the company and within 24 hours we had the configuration modified to the specific needs of our network and our bandwidth was under our control again.

In the last 4 months I have not had to make any additional changes to the configuration. In fact we have not even had the need to restart the box. The NetEqualizer box has some very good algorithms to have controlled our heavy bandwidth users with not adding significant network overhead to the rest of our low bandwidth users. Our students have seen an increase in bandwidth when they need it. The gamers are happy because the latency we used to have under our old bandwidth system has disappeared.

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Douglas Hedges, EDUCAUSE Small College Constituent Group Listserv

We’ve dumped our Packeteer device about 18 mos. ago for a NetEqualizer. It has worked as advertised and has required virtually no maintenance after initial setup (which took just a few minutes as well). There are some good technical papers on their site (http://www.netequalizer.com) describing its operation and comparing it to other products. I believe they’re worth a read if you want to see if it’s a good fit for your campus. It sure was for ours.

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Russ Leathe, EDUCAUSE Security Constituent Group Listserv

Gordon College switched from Packeteer to netEQ a while ago. It works flawlessly and our daily management of bandwidth decreased significantly.

They also have a CALEA probe.

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Superdog, DSLReports.com

When you plug in the Neteq box, it doesn’t care about IP’s or what range it is on. You set the bandwidth maximum limit for whatever your pipe size is and then plug it inline between your core router and your first main switch and you are done…

…I love this unit and I can not say enough about it. With M0n0wall and Packetteer, you have to manually setup all of the rules in order for the units to be effective. After you spend a few hours getting them setup, it only takes the user/program 10 seconds to switch ports on you and that rule is then invalid and you need to go back and redo it.

This type of setup requires you to monitor your box constantly, creating even more work. The Neteq unit doesn’t need to know all of this. It just counts connections per user (A limit you set) and the amount of bandwidth each user consumes. If the bandwidth is there and no one else is using it, that person gets it. If they are running Limewire at full throttle and another user logs in and starts to surf the net?, that user gets full priority and their pages will load quickly while the Limewire download has delay added to their packets.

IMHO, using this unit is a no-brainer for any ISP. It is a hands off setup that really works.

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Josh Heller, Sr. Network Analyst — Information Technology, Kutztown University

Our University started with PacketShapers, but also made an investment in NetEqualizer when we found the PacketShaper wasn’t completely doing the job. Today we use both products.

We have been pleased with NetEqualizer  as it does what it advertises – it makes a noticeable difference in congested network.

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Nathan P. Hay, Network Engineer — Computer Services, Cedarville University

We switched from PacketShaper to NetEqualizer this summer.  NetEq is much simpler to manage and much cheaper.

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George Flowers, Flint River Tech

We currently have the NE2000, and it works great!  No other product can do what the NetEqualizer does at a great price!

NetEqualizer Bandwidth Controller POE unit a hit with customers


Editors Note:  Just pulled this post off of DSL reports.

NetEqualizer POE units list at $1499 and serve as a great QOS devise for the SOHO small business user.

We’ve ordered 4 of these and deployed 2 so far. They work exactly like the 1U rackmount NE2000 that we have in our NOC, only the form factor is much smaller (about 6x6x1) and they use POE or a DC power supply. I amp clamped one of the units, and it draws about 7 watts.

We have a number of remote APs where we don’t have the physical space and/or power sources (i.e., solar powered) to accommodate the full size Netequalizer. Also, because of our network topology, it makes sense to have these units close to the AP and not at our border. These units are the perfect solution for these locations.

Our service area is mostly in a forest, so have a number of Trango 900 Mhz APs. These units can cut through the trees well, but they only have about 2.5 Mbps available on them (they’re rated at 3 Mbps, but we’ve tested their actual throughput at 2.5 Mbps). We have our customers set for 768k, so it doesn’t take too many Youtube and Netflix streams to kill the performance on these APs. We were using Mikrotiks to throttle the customers (using bursting to give them about 10 minutes @768k, then throttling them to around 300k). While this helped to keep the bandwidth hogs from individually killing the performance, it sometimes made matters worse.

For example, if a customer started downloading some 2 GB file at 10:00pm, it would take them until 1:00pm the next day to finish. As such, they would have disrupted services in the morning and early afternoon. If we had given this customer their full 768k, they would have finished this download before 4:00am and would never have been a disruption.

With the Mikrotik solution, we also had too many times that there was less than 768k available for the next customer, because there were a number of customers locked at 300k tying up much of the bandwidth. So, the customer that was hitting the casual web page was seeing poor performance (as were the hogs). In general, I wasn’t happy with the service we were delivering.

The Netequalizer has resulted in dramatically improved service to our customers. Most of the time, our customers are seeing their full bandwidth. The only time they don’t see it now is when they’re downloading big files. And, when they don’t see full performance, its only for the brief period that the AP is approaching saturation. The available bandwidth is re-evaulated every 2 seconds, so the throttling periods are often brief.

Bottom line to this is that we can deliver significantly more data through the same AP. The customers hitting web pages, checking e-mail, etc. virtually always see full bandwidth, and the hogs don’t impact these customers. Even the hogs see better performance (although that wasn’t one of my priorities).

I didn’t tell any customers that I was deploying the Netequalizers. Without solicitation, I’ve had a number of them comment that the service seems faster lately. It sure is fun to hear unsolicited compliments…

The only tweak of significance I made to the default setup was to change the MOVING_AVG from 8 to 29 (it can be set higher, but you can’t do it in the web interface). This makes it so that the Netequalizer considers someone to be a hog when their average data rate over the last 29 seconds is greater than HOGMIN (which we’ve left at 12,000 – 96 kbps). Given that our customers are set for 768k, this means that they can burst at full rate for a little under 4 seconds before they are considered a hog (approximately 350 KiloBytes of data). The default setting of 8 would allow approximately 1 second at full bandwidth (a little under 100K). By making this change, almost all web pages would never be subject to throttling. It also makes it so that most bandwidth test servers will not see any throttling. The change makes us more at risk that we can peak out the AP (since less customers may be subject to throttling), but we’ve seen that the throttling usually kicks in long before we see that problem.

The only feature I’d like to see in these units is to have a “half duplex” mode. The Netequalizers have separate upload and download pools. This works fine for most ISPs using typical full duplex circuits. However, most hardware that WISPs use are half duplex. So, our Trangos have 2.5 Mbps available TOTAL of upload and download. In order to have the Netequalizer throttle well, I configured it so that the Trangos had 1.9 Mbps down and .6 Mbps up. I would prefer to have a single 2.5 Mbps pool that throttles only when download + upload approaches 2.5 Mbps. If we had this feature, we could move even more data through the Trangos

Related Article

Tucson Unified School District Could Use a Bandwidth Controller


The excerpt below from the Arizona Star Daily sums up the network gridlock  situation at the Tucson Unified School Distirct.  The reason for posting this on our blog is the hope that other administrators will find us before they go out and commit to the recurring costs of additional expensive bandwidth.

At Fruchthendler Elementary School, one first-grade teacher was supposed to give an online assessment, only to find it took 10 minutes to load each question. She finally gave up and printed out the tests.

We are a 21st-century school running on 20th-century bandwidth,” Little said. “I feel like I’m back to what I had in high school, which is pretty much nothing.

Read the full Article from the Arizona Stqr Daily

Although we have no other details about the situation in Tucson  and their gridlocked Internet service, we are confident that an affordably priced 21st century bandwidth control solution could certainly make a difference.

NetEqualizer is being used in school districts across the country and has been largely effective in preventing many of the problems experienced in Tucson. Click here for feedback and reviews from just a few of the school districts that have deployed NetEqualizer.

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