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 <> 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 ( product line.

TMC net

Comcast Announces Traffic Shaping Techniques like APconnections’ NetEqualizer…

From Technewsworld

It actually sounds a lot what NetEqualizer ( 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…..


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.


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.

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