NetEqualizer News: December 2017

We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter. Highlights include a preview of 8.6 Release features, details on our leasing program, and more!


December 2017


8.6 Release is underway!
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.

The holidays are in full swing here in Colorado. We just celebrated Thanksgiving last week, and all ate turkey or tofurkey until we could no longer move! Although according to the media, it felt like we were all celebrating Black Friday and Cyber Monday…

In this month’s newsletter, we start discussing our ideas for the 8.6 Release. Release planning is underway, and we are targeting mid-2018 at this point. Read on to learn more. And it is not too late to contribute your suggestions – see how to add your suggestions below.
In this month’s newsletter we also discuss our NetEqualizer Leasing program, along with our ever-popular Best of Blog article.

We will be updating the User Guide to 8.5 shortly, look to hear more in an upcoming newsletter.

We continue to work with you to solve some of your most pressing network problems – so if you have one that you would like to discuss with us, please call or email me anytime at 303.997.1300 x103 or 

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

– Art Reisman (CTO)

In this Issue:

:: What’s Next – 8.6 Release Planning Begins

:: Lease a NetEqualizer

:: Thank You!

:: Best of Blog: Cloud Computing Creates Demand for Bandwidth Shaping

What’s Next – 8.6 Release Planning Begins

We are working on exciting new features!

Starting in early 2018, we’ll begin development on the 8.6 Release for NetEqualizer. The 8.5 Release has been a big success, and with 8.6 we hope to expand on some of the major 8.5 changes to make them even better.

While we are still finalizing our list of features, here are a few that we are focusing on…

Beginning with the 8.5 Release, DNS names were brought into the mix in our Active Connections table:

As of our 8.5 Release, you can see activity for both IP addresses and DNS hostnames, allowing you to gain more insight into who is doing what on your network. For 8.6, we want to expand on this in two major ways:

1) Create and provide a GUI for a list of standard DNS domains that you can click on to automatically track in our reports. Many customers are interested in traffic from a common set of domains. We plan to provide these in a useful format so that you can easily track data associated with them.

2) Shaping by DNS name. Beginning with the 8.6 Release, not only will you be able to track connections by DNS name, but you’ll be able to shape by DNS name too! This is an exciting addition to our standard IP address-based configuration and rules.

We are also working on a 20Gbps NetEqualizer. As your networks continue to grow, we are right there with you to protect your investment in the NetEqualizer. As our 10Gbps customers start moving to larger networks, we will be ready with the 20Gbps unit.

We’ll keep you posted in coming Newsletters about the 8.6 Release and how it’s progressing. Stay tuned!

As always, the 8.6 Release will be free to customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS) plans. Renew today if you are not current!

Lease a NetEqualizer

Have you considered a Lease?

If you have always wanted to try the NetEqualizer in your environment, but have had trouble figuring out how to budget for it upfront, our popular NetEqualizer Leasing Program may be right for you! 

Under the NetEqualizer Leasing Program, you can get a NetEqualizer sized for your network installed today, for a 1st month and last month deposit, along with a $200 set-up fee. Then going forward, just pay a simple monthly lease fee, which covers support, software upgrades, and hardware warranty.

If this sounds like a good fit for you, contact us to discuss further or read more about our Lease Program here.

Thank You!

With the holiday season in full swing, we want to pause for a moment to thank you, our valued customers, for your loyalty in 2017 and beyond. THANK YOU! 

We here at APconnections truly appreciate your business. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help you succeed, by keeping your networks running smoothly.

With your support, we look forward to continued success in 2018!

Best Of Blog

Cloud Computing Creates Demand for Bandwidth Shaping

By Art Reisman
The rise of cloud computing has been a mixed bag for the bottom line of traditional network hardware manufacturers. Yes, there is business to be had by supplying the burgeoning cloud service providers with new hardware; however, as companies move their applications into the cloud, the elaborate WAN networks of yesteryear are slowly being phased out. The result is a decrease in sales of routers and switches, a dagger in the heart of the very growth engine that gave rise to the likes of Cisco, Juniper, and Adtran.From a business perspective, we are pleasantly surprised to see an uptick in demand in the latter half of 2017 for bandwidth shapers. We expect this to continue on into 2018 and beyond…

Photo of the Month
Enjoying a Fall Hike

All across the United States, old abandoned railroad beds are being turned into recreational trails, typically used for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing.  On a recent visit to western New York, I was lucky to spend a sunny day in late autumn hiking on one of the converted trails.

APconnections, home of the NetEqualizer | (303) 997-1300 | Email | Website 

NetEqualizer News: October 2017

We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter. Highlights include a preview of our Reporting Only NetEqualizer, our customers’ favorite 8.5 features, and some tech tips!


October 2017


Reporting Only NetEqualizer
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.
As fall settles in here in Colorado, we are enjoying the cool evening weather and watching the leaves turn. It is truly a beautiful time of year to live in the Rocky Mountains! In this month’s newsletter, we announce our new offering – a Reporting Only NetEqualizer, for those of you who would like to use our technology to view network traffic and troubleshoot network issues. Read more below to see how this new offering might work in your environment. We are turning our attention to planning for 2018, now that we have completed our 8.5 Release. As always, we welcome your input into the release planning process. This month you can share your ideas with us! In this month’s newsletter we also offer you 8.5 Customer Favorite Features, and NetEqualizer Tech Tips, along with our ever-popular Best of Blog article.

We will be updating the User Guide to 8.5 shortly, look to hear more in an upcoming newsletter.

We continue to work with you to solve some of your most pressing network problems – so if you have one that you would like to discuss with us, please call or email me anytime at 303.997.1300 x103 or


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

– Art Reisman (CTO)

In this Issue:

:: Reporting Only NetEqualizer

:: 8.5 Customer Favorites

:: Have a Say – Ideas for the Next Release

:: NetEqualizer Tech Tips

:: Best of Blog: The New Bandwidth Paradigm

Reporting Only NetEqualizer

With Attractive Pricing!

For about half the cost of our full featured NetEqualizer, you can now purchase a NetEqualizer with a Reporting License only. Our Reporting Only option enables you to view your network usage data in real-time (as of this second), as well as view historical usage to see your network usage trends. Reporting can help you to troubleshoot your network, from identifying DDoS and virus activity, to assessing for possible unwanted P2P traffic.

You might consider a Reporting Only NetEqualizer for a site where you would like better visibility into your network, and also think you may need to shape at some point. It could also help you to assess a network segment from a traffic flow perspective.

And the great thing is, we always protect your investment in our technology. If at a later time you do decide you want to use our state-of-the-art shaping technology, you have not lost your initial investment in the NetEqualizer. You can always upgrade and only pay the price difference.

What features come in Release 1 (R.v1) of the Reporting Only NetEqualizer?

Graphics Tools
• Reporting by IP, real time and historical usage
• Reporting by Subnet, VLAN real time and historical usage
• Reporting by Domain Name (Yahoo, Facebook etc) – Real time and historical
• Real-time spreadsheet style snapshot of all existing connections

Below is a sample report by domain name screen.

Troubleshooting Tools
• Top Uploaders & Downloaders
• Abusive behavior due to Viruses
• DDoS detection
• P2P detection
• Alerts and Alarms for Quota Overages
• Peak Bandwidth Alerting

More features to come in our next release. Please put in your request now!

Reporting Only prices include first year support.
NE3000-R 500Mbps price $3000
NE3000-R 1Gbps price $4000
NE4000-R 5Gbps price $6000

Note that Reporting Only NetEqualizers can be license-upgraded in the field to enable full shaping features at any time. In this configuration, we are offering bundled hardware warranty (NHW) and software upgrades & support (NSS) for only $500 per year.

8.5 Customer Favorites

Based on feedback from customers, here are the most-liked features of 8.5. Make sure to check these out if you have not already done so.

Pool-Specific Shaping Parameters

We have found that customers really like the ability to control their pool parameters for shaping. At first we were afraid that perhaps this feature might be too deep, especially for a new customer, but so far when we explain it, people really like it. Historically, you could only control the Ratio and Hogmin parameters for the entire NetEqualizer. But now, you can control them at a pool level – giving you even more control over your shaping.

Auto-scaling Graphs

Our graphs can be set so that the scale of each conforms to the data on the screen (auto-scaling), or they can reflect any data that is stored in history (fixed scaling). We learned recently how one of our customers loves auto-scaling, as his data can vary significantly over time. As he uses the Top Uploader & Top Downloaders on a daily basis, he needs the graphs to only reflect the current day in their scaling. We learned this one the hard way – it was offered in 8.4 but not in initial 8.5. Read below in our NetEqualizer Tech Tips section to see how to set up Auto-Scaling in your environment.

Have a Say

Ideas for the Next Release…

What would you like to see in our Next Release? Please let us know! To get you thinking, we’ve thrown out a few ideas here:
VM release for remote locations where logistics complicate hardware delivery?
• 20 Gigabit Shaping?
• Cloud Storage for Reports?
• Customizable Report Exports?
• Enhance Automated Alerts?
• Equalizing Self-Tuning?

NetEqualizer Tech Tips

Every few newsletters, we like to give readers and customers tips on how to best use the NetEqualizer. This month, we highlight the following NetEqualizer Technical Tips:

Implementing HTTPS

Did you know that we support HTTPS? If you have version 8.4 or better then the https access is already installed. You may need to open your https port on your firewall but you should be able to go to https://YourNetEqIP/ and it should work. It only has a self signed certificate so you may need to make an exception for it in your browser.

8.5 Fix: Auto-scaling your graph timeline

If you are one of the users who prefers to have your graphs auto-scale to what is displayed, this tip is for you! Simply follow these instructions and you’ll be all set.

  1. Navigate to the Maintenance -> Troubleshooting Tools -> Edit Any Text File page
  2. In the field “Full path to file:” type: /var/www/newgui/RTR/top-downloaders.php And hit submit.
  3. The top-downloaders.php file will now appear. Find the following string in that file: max: <?php echo niceMaxAxis($maxx); ?>
  4. DELETE that line completely. Click Save.
  5. Navigate back to Maintenance -> Troubleshooting Tools -> Edit Any Text File page
  6. In the field “Full path to file:” type: /var/www/newgui/RTR/top-uploaders.php
  7. And hit submit.
  8. The top-unloaders.php file will now appear. Find the following string in that file: max: <?php echo niceMaxAxis($maxx); ?>
  9. DELETE that line completely. Click Save.
  10. Your graphs should now scale to what’s displayed.

Best Of Blog

The New Bandwidth Paradigm

By Art Reisman
For years the prevailing belief was that consumers would always outstrip bandwidth supply.  From our recent conversations with several land line operators, their experience suggests that in the near-term, that paradigm may not be true.
How could this be?
The answer is fairly simple.  Since streaming HD video became all the rage some 10+ years ago, there has not been any real pressure from any new bandwidth-intensive applications.   All the while, ISPs have been increasing their capacity.  The net result is that many wired providers have finally outstripped demand.

Photo of the Month
Summer Concerts Come to an End

Hanging on to summer memories, Firefall closes out the summer concert series held most Fridays in the summer in Louisville, Colorado.

APconnections, home of the NetEqualizer | (303) 997-1300 | Email | Website 

NetEqualizer News: September 2017

We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter. Highlights include details on more 8.5 Release features, as well as a preview of our Product Demonstration Site and Demo Guide!


September 2017


Optimizing the 8.5 Release
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.

Last month we announced that our 8.5 Release was officially Generally Available. Now that the dust has settled, and many of you have started updating your NetEqualizer(s) to 8.5, we are taking time this month to talk more about how to best use the new 8.5 features. Read on to learn more about how you can use wildcarding to optimize your implementation of our new Host Names feature, and how to use our new Pool-specific Ratio & Hogmin to make your Pools even better. If you would like to further explore 8.5, you can now see it live by viewing our Product Demonstration Site, which is updated to 8.5, and following along the 8.5 Product Demonstration Guide. In this month’s newsletter we offer you Tips for Optimizing your 8.5 Installation, our 8.5 Product Demonstration Guide, and our updated Product Demonstration Site.

We will be updating the User Guide to 8.5 shortly, look to hear more in an upcoming newsletter.

We continue to work with you to solve some of your most pressing network problems – so if you have one that you would like to discuss with us, please call or email me anytime at 303.997.1300 x103 or

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

– Art Reisman (CTO)

In this Issue:

:: Tips for Optimizing Your 8.5 Installation

:: 8.5 Product Demonstration Guide

:: 8.5 Product Demonstration Site

:: Best of Blog: QoS Over The Internet – Is It Possible? Five Must-Know Facts

Tips for Optimizing Your 8.5 Installation

Using Wildcarding with Hostnames & Making Pools Even Better!

We are very happy to announce that our 8.5 Release is now Generally Available.

Tip #1: Using Wildcarding with Host Names
For those of you that are experimenting with the new 8.5 Release, we encourage you to try our reporting by DNS Host Name feature. One tip that will come in handy when using this feature is our wild card (*) prefix feature. For example, on a system here in our home office we use multiple security cameras, which all register their cloud DNS name as “tag” The “tag” prefix is different for each camera, hence if we want to see the total upload traffic we set up our host name as “*” which causes the NetEqualizer reporting chart to show us the aggregate traffic of all cameras.

In this first picture, you can see that we have set up * as a Tracked Host, by adding it to RTR -> Traffic History -> Manage Tracked Hosts.

In our second picture, you can see the Download traffic has been aggregated for * for the last week. This is a great tool to help us see the total usage on our network for our security cameras. When the download traffic is 0, our cameras were down.

Tip #2: Making Pools Even Better
Pools are a very powerful tool within the NetEqualizer that essentially allow you to take a segment of your network and apply a virtual NetEqualizer to a group of users. Up until the 8.5 Release, the virtual NetEqualizer within a Pool was forced to use the global parameter of HOGMIN or RATIO to trigger when Equalizing would kick in. For large networks with small pools this often created a dilemma. Do you tune your HOGMIN and RATIO for the entire Network or for the smaller pool segment? The good news is in 8.5 you no longer have to choose. When you define or edit your Pool configuration you can set a local RATIO and HOGMIN specific for each pool you define.

This is a great way to offer difference levels of service to groups of users. For example, you may want Equalizing to kick in sooner for one Pool, but allow larger traffic to go through without being equalized. You would do this by setting a lower RATIO and are larger HOGMIN than your global parameters. This is shown in our example below, where Pool 102 “Tier 2” has a RATIO = 80% and HOGMIN of 3Mbps. This is compared to the global RATIO of 85% and HOGMIN of 2Mbps. Pool 103 “Tier 3” is using the global default parameters, which is shown using brackets [ ].

If you are interested in exploring the 8.5 Release, and how you might use pool-specific RATIO and HOGMIN or DNS Host Names, please contact us. The 8.5 Release is free to customers with valid NSS (NetEqualizer Software and Support) subscriptions.

8.5 Product Demonstration Guide

We have now updated updated our Product Demonstration Guide to reflect the 8.5 Release!

In particular, the NetEqualizer Monitoring & Reporting section now shows the new Active Connections table with the penalties column, our updated NetEqualizer Log showing color-coded penalty information, and our new Traffic Graph by Host Name.
This guide is a great resource for anyone on your team that you would like to acquaint with the key features & functions of the NetEqualizer.  Use it standalone, or as a guide to walkthrough the Product Demonstration Site.
You can view the 8.5 Product Demonstration Guide here.

8.5 Product Demonstration Site

Take a look at our new 8.5 Product Demo Site!

We’ve updated our Product Demonstration (Demo) Site to the 8.5 Release. The Product Demon Site gives you a preview of the entire NetEqualizer user interface, with most features enabled. If you’ve been curious about NetEqualizer, this is a great place to start. See all of the NetEqualizer Setup Screens, along with Reporting and Maintenance interfaces.

You can view the 8.5 Product Demo Site here:

Username: neteq
Password: neteq

In addition, take a look at our new secondary login for Read-Only users that focuses on Reporting, by going to the same link but using our demo reporting login:

Go to the 8.5 Product Demo Site here:

Username: report
Password: report

Please contact us if you are interested in an online webex demo with our Sales Team or have any questions!

Best Of Blog

QoS Over The Internet – Is it possible?


By Art Reisman

For those of you that are moving to a cloud architecture, you are reaping the benefits of lower costs and a simplified IT infrastructure, but lest we forget – you are concentrating your business applications on your Internet link. The following article gives some nice insight into ensuring QoS for those applications, and what to look out for as you move away from a WAN based infrastructure.

I had an inquiry from a potential customer yesterday asking if we could monitor their QoS. I was a bit miffed as to what to tell them. At first, the question struck me as if they’d asked if we can monitor electrons on their power grid. In other words, it was a legitimate question in a sense, but of what use would it be to monitor QoS? I then asked him why he had implemented QoS in the first place. How did he know he needed it?

Photo of the Month
Early Fall in the Mountains – views of Breckenridge Ski Resort…

One of our staff members just returned from an early fall trip to the mountains, which is a great time to start seeing fall color and also to escape late summer heat!  This shot was taken from a hiking trail on the east side of Breckenridge, where the grasses and aspens were all starting to turn yellow, orange, and red.  You can also see the Breckenridge ski slopes off in the distance.

APconnections, home of the NetEqualizer | (303) 997-1300 | Email | Website 

NetEqualizer News: July 2017

We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter. Highlights include our 8.5 Release is Generally Available, along with an updated Quick Start Guide, our new DNS Traffic Tracking, and more!


July 2017


8.5 Release is Generally Available!
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.

In our last newsletter, we mentioned that 8.5 development was complete. This month we are happy to announce that we have finished our testing phase (thanks test team!), and 8.5 is officially Generally Available! In this month’s newsletter we offer you detailed 8.5 Release Notes, preview some of the favorite 8.5 screens, and also provide the updated Quick Start Guide.

We will be updating the User Guide to 8.5 shortly, look to hear more in an upcoming newsletter.

We continue to work with you to solve some of your most pressing network problems – so if you have one that you would like to discuss with us, please call or email me anytime at 303.997.1300 x103 or

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

– Art Reisman (CTO)

In this Issue:

:: The 8.5 Release is Ready!

:: 8.5 Release Notes

:: 8.5 Release Quick Start Guide

:: Let NetEqualizer Be Your Bandwidth Referee

:: Best of Blog: Tracking Traffic by DNS

The 8.5 Release is Ready

8.5 Release is GA!

We are very happy to announce that our 8.5 Release is now Generally Available.

By far the most exciting and pleasant surprise feature is the reporting by DNS name. This essentially gives NetEqualizer reporting the ability to show detailed traffic by type without the need for expensive and unreliable Layer 7 filtering. The ramifications and the history on why this is possible make for an interesting story, and thus we have dedicated a full article on the subject – see here. This is just one of the many exciting features available in our 8.5 Release – we preview some of these below…

1) DNS Visibility (Hostname Reporting)
As mentioned above, we are very excited about the new ability to track and view traffic flows by hostnames. With the 8.5 Release, you can view hostnames in the Active Connections table:

And, you can track these hosts by adding them to Traffic History-> Manage Tracked Hosts, as shown below. This enables you to view data by hostname in our Traffic History graphs, as shown in the graph below. This is in addition to our current offerings of Traffic History by IP address, Pool, or VLAN:

2) Login and Logout
The 8.5 Release also has more security features added – including login/logout, session management, and HTTPS.

3) Color-coding in the NetEqualizer Log
We’ve also enhanced the ability to read the log file by adding color-coded markings to our log entries. In 8.5, this includes penalty and informational entries. Below we show how information-only entries are highlighted:

These markings will show new penalties, increased penalties, decreased penalties, and removed penalties, as well as informational entries about traffic that is going through your NetEqualizer (see above).

4) Pool-specific Equalizing (Pool Level Ratio and Hog Minimum)
One of the most requested features we’ve heard from our users, the 8.5 Release has the ability to fine tune your Pool settings even further with pool-specific HOGMIN and RATIO parameters.

Feel free to use the network-wide defaults or create your own! The changes will be reflected in the Pool dashboard:

There are many more changes that we are know you will be excited to see. If you are interested in the 8.5 Release, please contact us. The 8.5 Release is free to customers with valid NSS (NetEqualizer Software and Support) subscriptions.

8.5 Release Notes
You have read about some of our 8.5 features & screens above.  If you are interested in learning more about 8.5, you can read our official 8.5 Release Notes, which as always, are posted on our NetEqualizer Blog site (

8.5 Release Quick Start Guide

Take a look at our new Quick Start Guide!

We are happy to share a preview of our updated Quick Start Guide, which now reflects our 8.5 Release!

Some of the key changes now discussed include:

1) our new Login/Log Out capability, highlighted on Page 4.
2) our enhanced Active Connections Table on Page 11, which now shows penalty status for each data flow.
3) our “visual” NetEqualizer Log on Page 12, which contains detailed color-coded information about penalty statuses.

As this is the Demo Version, it does not contain passwords. As always, we ship the full Quick Start Guide with each NetEqualizer unit, so that you will receive an updated version with passwords each time you purchase a NetEqualizer.

Click here or on the image at right to view the full Quick Start Guide.

Let NetEqualizer Be Your Bandwidth Referee

NetEqualizer works so well you won’t even notice it!

The best compliment you can give an umpire or referee in a sporting event is that you did not notice them, and with that example in mind we can safely say our configuration checking is doing its job.

It is rare for us to get Support calls regarding configuration mistakes. This invisibility and smoothness of operation is due to ongoing work behind the scenes to make sure that configuration changes make sense and guide the user away from common mistakes. With every release we improve in this area! I’m sure our long-time customers from the very early days (circa 2005) would not recognize the GUI and ease of use if they made a jump all in one step.

As part of our 8.5 offering, our Support Team has enhanced their configuration validation capabilities. When you send in your diagnostic file, they can now automatically check your Traffic Limits and P2P Limits against a more complex set of validity rules, including unintended overlapping IP ranges.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this 8.5 feature, contact our Support Team to learn more.

Best Of Blog

Tracking Traffic by DNS

By Art Reisman

The video rental industry of the early 80’s was comprised of 1000’s of independent stores. Corner video rental shops were as numerous as today’s Starbucks. In the late 1990’s, consolidation took over. Blockbuster, with its bright blue canopy lighting up the night sky, swallowed them up like doggy treats. All the small retail outlets were gone. Blockbuster had changed everything – their economy of scale, and their chain store familiarity, had overrun the small operators…

Photo of the Month
After the storm – summer vacation on the lake…

One of our staff members just returned from a lake vacation, which in my opinion is the best kind of vacation in summer. This shot was taken right after a rainstorm on the lake. The sun peaking through the clouds really highlighted the landscape and made the rainbow stunning.

APconnections, home of the NetEqualizer | (303) 997-1300 | Email | Website 

How I Survived a Ransomware Attack

By Art Reisman

About six months ago, I was trying to access a web site when I got the infamous message: “Your Flash Player is out-of-date”.  I was provided with a link to a site to update my Adobe Flash Player.  At the time, I thought nothing of updating my Flash Player, as this had happened perhaps 100 times already. That begs the question as to why my perfectly fine and happy Adobe Flash Player constantly needs to be updated?  Another story for another day.

In my haste, I clicked the link and promptly received the Adobe Flash update for my Mac and installed it. For all intents and purposes, that was the end of my Mac.  This thing just took it over, destroying it.  It would insidiously let me get started with my daily work and then within a few minutes I would receive a barrage of almost constant messages popping up telling me I had a virus and to call some number for help.  Classic Ransomware.  At the time I did not think Macs were vulnerable to this type of thing, as the only viruses I had contracted prior were on my Windows machines, which I tossed in the scrap pile several years ago for that very reason.

My solution to this dilemma was simply to re-load my Mac from scratch.  I was up and running again in about one hour.   A hassle yes, the end of the world – no.

Now you might be wondering what about all my data programs and files I store on my Mac?  And to that I answer what data files?  Everything I do is in the Cloud, nothing is stored on my Mac, as I believe that there is no reason to store anything locally.

Gmail, Quickbooks, WordPress, photos, documents, and everything else that I use are all stored in the Cloud!

For backup purposes, I periodically e-mail a list of all my important Cloud links to myself.  Since they are stored in Gmail, they are always accessible and I can access them from any computer.  Data recovery amounts to nothing more than finding my most recent backup list e-mail and clicking on my Cloud links as needed.

How to Survive High Contention Ratios and Prevent Network Congestion


Is there a way to raise contention ratios without creating network congestion, thus allowing your network to service more users?

Yes there is.

First a little background on the terminology.

Congestion occurs when a shared network attempts to deliver more bandwidth to its users than is available. We typically think of an oversold/contended network with respect to ISPs and residential customers; but this condition also occurs within businesses, schools and any organization where more users are vying for bandwidth than is available.

 The term, contention ratio, is used in the industry as a way of determining just how oversold your network is.  A contention ratio is simply the size of an Internet trunk divided by the number of users. We normally think of Internet trunks in units of megabits. For example, 10 users sharing a one megabit trunk would have a 10-to- 1 contention ratio.
 A decade ago, a 10-to-1 contention ratio was common. Today, bandwidth is much less expensive and the average contention ratios have come down.  Unfortunately, as bandwidth costs have dropped, pressure on trunks has risen, as today’s applications require increasing amounts of bandwidth. The most common congestion symptom is  slow network response times.
Now back to our original question…
Is there a way to raise contention ratios without creating congestion, thus allowing your network to service more users?
This is where a smart bandwidth controller can help.  Back in the “old” days before encryption was king, most solutions involved classifying types of traffic, and restricting less important traffic based on customer preferences.   Classifying by type went away with encryption, which prevents traffic classifiers from seeing the specifics of what is traversing a network.  A modern bandwidth controller uses dynamic rules to restrict  traffic based on aberrant behavior.  Although this might seem less intuitive than specifically restricting traffic by type, it turns out to be just as reliable, not to mention simpler and more cost-effective to implement.
We have seen results where a customer can increase their user base by as much as 50 percent and still have decent response times for interactive  cloud applications.
To learn more, contact us, our engineering team is more than happy to go over your specific situation, to see if we can help you.
You also might be interested in this VPN product

NetEqualizer News: January 2017

We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter. Highlights include a preview of more 8.5 Release features, an announcement of our 8.4 User Guide, our planned 2017 Road Trips, and more!


  January 2017


8.5 Release Planning is Underway!
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.

As we kick off the new year, I am excited to begin development on our 8.5 Release, currently planned for late spring/early summer. This month, we continue to discuss the features planned for 8.5.img_2686I also like to get out in the field to meet with our customers, and those interested in the NetEqualizer. Check out my 2017 Road Trip plans in this month’s newsletter.

And finally, we have the 8.4 User Guide available, for those of you who like to delve into our features in detail – enjoy!

We continue to work with you to solve some of your most pressing network problems – so if you have one that you would like to discuss with us, please call or email me anytime at 303.997.1300 x103 or

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

– Art Reisman (CTO)

In this Issue:

:: 8.5 Release Features Preview

:: 8.5 Feedback Received – Thank You!

:: The 8.4 User Guide is Now Available!

:: 2017 Road Trips

:: Time for a Tech Refresh?

:: Best of Blog: Top 5 Reasons Confirming Employers Don’t Like Their IT Guy

8.5 Release Features Preview

We are staring to develop our 8.5 Release!

Continued from November 2016

In November we talked about Cloud Reporting, Read-Only Login, and NetEqualizer Logout.

This month we introduce several more features planned for 8.5:

1) Pool-specific RATIO and HOGMIN

2) Retain RTR State Upon Reboot

Pool-specific RATIO and HOGMIN

Ever since we first started making NetEqualizers, there has been one RATIO and one HOGMIN setting that applied to all traffic going through the device. Beginning with Release 8.5, however, we’ve enhanced our software to allow for Pool-specific RATIO and HOGMIN settings. This means that each Pool can have it’s own unique configuration with regard to these values. These changes help administrators have more fine-tuned control over when Equalizing occurs and what the minimum requirements for Equalizing will be on a Pool level rather than a network level.

Retain RTR State Upon Reboot

This has been one of the most requested features ever since we introduced RTR, and we are happy to say it will be part of Release 8.5. With this release, RTR will start upon reboot and maintain all your reporting settings so that you don’t need to go back into the device and start the service manually. This is useful in case the device is affected by a power outage or another type of unplanned activity.

Stay tuned to our newsletter for further updates on Release 8.5. We are currently underway in the development process and are still shooting for a late spring/early summer release. As always, the release is free to those with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS) plans. Contact us today with questions!


8.5 Feedback Received – Thank You!

 We Appreciated Your Suggestions!

We asked for input to our 8.5 Release and you responded with some great ideas – thank you!fancy thank-you

Here are the features that you asked us to consider for 8.5. We will let you know what makes it over the course of future newsletters…

– Quota Enhancements: Email Customer on Exceed Quota, Summary Email before Reset, Quota in the Cloud, Web Portal

– Add sophisticated SNMP logic

– Protocol Tracking Reports

– Traffic by Source IP Report

– Bandwidth Test for Troubleshooting

– Build out Automated Alerts

– Add Real-Time Penalties to RTR Dashboard

– Add Name capability to HL, Masks, VLANs, P2P, and Priority

– Add Visibility to Penalty against what Rule

– Add Host Name from NSLookup to RTR Reports

If any of the above suggestions would also be useful to you and your organization, please let us know!


The 8.4 User Guide is Now Available!

Dive into the details on NetEqualizer’s features…

We are excited to announce the User Guide has been updated to reflect Software Update 8.4, in several key areas.screenshot-at-feb-08-23-53-34

We have focused on updating the configuration sections, describing our new Batch Entry Screens for setting up Bandwidth Limits, limiting P2P Traffic, setting Bandwidth Priorities, and restricting Bandwidth Usage.

We also have added a new section to the User Guide, which walks through our Perform Quick Edits capability.  Quick Edits is useful when you want to add or delete one or a small number of rules.  We offer Quick Edits for seven (7) types of rules, including Pools, Hard Limits, and P2P Traffic Limits.

You can view the updated User Guide by clicking here or on the picture at right.

Note that the Appendices and Monitoring & Reporting sections are not yet updated to 8.4.

We plan to update the remaining sections of the User Guide to 8.4 soon. Look for an update in an upcoming newsletter!

2017 Road Trips

We’re hitting the road…

Our CTO, Art Reisman, is planning to make a swing up the East coast this spring. Most likely he will be in the Boston and New England area the week of Feb 20th – with some room for flexibility in the timeframe. If you are on the East coast and would like to host a formal on-site Tech Refresh, let us know and we will try to get it scheduled!


Time for a Tech Refresh?

Re-familiarize yourself with NetEqualizer!

Now that Release 8.4 has been out for 6 months, and many customers have moved to it, you may have questions! Release 8.4 had a lot of changes associated with it that may be slightly confusing if you are used to older GUI versions.

Don’t worry though, we are here to help! If you are current on your NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS) plan, we’d like to offer you a FREE 30 minute Tech Refresh to go over any questions or issues you might have with your NetEqualizer. Contact us today to schedule a time slot with an engineer!


Best Of Blog

Top 5 Reasons Confirming Employers Don’t Like Their IT Guy

By Art Reisman


1) The IT room is the dregs

Whenever I travel to visit with my IT customers, it is always a challenge to find their office.  Even if I find the right building on the Business/College Campus, finding their actual location within the building is anything but certain. Usually it ends up being in some unmarked room behind a loading dock, accessible only by secret passage designed to relieve the building of cafeteria waste near the trash bins. Many times, their offices are one and the same thing as the old server computer room, with the raised floor, screaming fans, and air cooled to a Scottish winter…

Photo of the Month
TEDx Aruba

This past fall, a staff member and his wife, Andrea, visited the island of Aruba in the south Caribbean Sea. The official slogan for the country is “One Happy Island,” and this held true the entire trip – all of the people were extremely friendly and welcoming. The purpose of the trip was to present at TEDx Aruba on the topic of sustainability – specifically how our trash plays a role in the most pressing environmental issues of our time. Andrea runs a non-profit based in Boulder, CO that helps educate people on how to reduce their trash and plastic footprint as well as live more simple, meaningful lives. Check out her website and follow her on Instagram if you are so inclined!

APconnections, home of the NetEqualizer | (303) 997-1300 | Email | Website 

NetEqualizer News: November 2016

We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter. Highlights include a 8.5 Release feature preview, customer testimonials, and more!


  November 2016


8.5 Release Planning is Underway!
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.

As we start into the holiday season here in the U.S., I am thankful for many things. First, I want to THANK YOU, our customers, for making this all worthwhile.

fancy thank-you

In my conversations with customers & prospects, I hear over & over how much our behavior-based shaping (aka equalizing) saves you time, money, and headaches. Thank you for validating all our efforts here at APconnections!

I am also thankful that the Presidential Election is over in the U.S., as I am tired of seeing political TV advertisements, which seem to be on every 10 minutes.

We continue to work with you to solve some of your most pressing network problems – so if you have one that you would like to discuss with us, please call or email me anytime at 303.997.1300 x103 or

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

– Art Reisman (CTO)

In this Issue:

:: 8.5 Release Features Preview

:: We Want Your Suggestions for the 8.5 Release!

:: Is Anyone Out There Still Suffering From DDoS Attacks?

:: Featured Customer Testimonials

:: Best of Blog: Using NetEqualizer to Ensure Clean, Clear QoS for VOIP Calls

8.5 Release Features Preview

We are staring to plan our 8.5 Release!

We have started putting together initial plans for our late spring software update – 8.5 Release. We have some exciting features in mind! Here is a preview of several features that will be included:

Cloud Reporting

Have you ever wanted to access reporting data for longer than 4 weeks? The reason for the current NetEqualizer limit is that we can only store so much data on the device itself.unnamed-2

Our new Cloud Reporting offering will allow you to store historical NetEqualizer data for an extended period of time. You’ll be able to seamlessly pull this data from the Cloud and display the results on your NetEqualizer, or use it for other reporting and archiving purposes.

Read-only Login Account (customer feature request)

The NetEqualizer has always used basic HTTP authentication for it’s one account, but that is about to change! The next release will have a more standard login page with two roles – the current administrator role as well as a NEW read-only account role. The read-only account will let non-technical staff log in and view reports as well as a few other features.fsdf

NetEqualizer Logout (customer feature request)

We will support web application sessions with both log in & log out. Today we offer login but in 8.5 users will also be able to securely log their session out once they are finished using the GUI.

We are very excited about enhancing our recent 8.4 Release user interface with these changes. Stay tuned to the newsletter for updates on 8.5 features, release dates, and more!

We Want Your Suggestions for the 8.5 Release!

 We want your help! Last call for suggestions for our 8.5 Release.

Now is your last chance for 8.5 Release feature requests!

Many of our best features come from customer requests. For example, for all of you that wanted to have a read-only account for NetEqualizer administration, you’ll be happy to know that we have included it in our upcoming 8.5 Release. Our NetEqualizer Logout is also based on a customer suggestion.

For those suggested features that don’t make the cut, it is not because we did not like them (we like all the suggestions), but we have to filter on features that apply to a large set of our customers. We also keep track of all feature requests, so if yours does not make it into 8.5, it may be scheduled in a future release.

We only know what features you are interested in if you speak up! We have no way of knowing if a feature is popular or not unless we hear from you. So please, think deep and tell us what features would make the NetEqualizer tool more valuable to you!

Here are some questions you can ask yourself or your IT team to come up with ideas:

  1. What feature could I use to help us troubleshoot network problems, perhaps something you need to see in our reports?
  2. What feature would further help optimize our bandwidth resource, perhaps your wireless network has unique challenges?
  3. What security concerns do you have? Anything in the DDoS arena?
  4. What feature could be added to make setup and maintenance more efficient?


Is Anyone Out There Still Suffering from DDoS Attacks?

What have your experiences been?

Perhaps the Russians have given up on hacking? We are not sure, but we certainly have seen a big drop off in DDoS help requests to our support team – so much so that we have put our DDoS firewall enhancement plans on hold.

We were working on a feature request to block foreign IP’s by connection count as one of our DDoS triggers. It would work something like this:

A NetEqualizer customer sets a white list for public IP’s to let through (not blocked). Any other public IP hitting the network with more than X active connections would trigger an alert or possibly a block based on your preference.

We need to know if such a feature, or another DDoS approach would be better, based on your experience.

Let us know what you have been seeing as far as DDoS attacks on your network!


Featured Testimonials

What our customers are saying…

We take great pride in ensuring our customers are happy with their NetEqualizer! You can find all of our customer testimonials on our website under the “Customers” menu.

Here are just a few testimonials that we’ve received in 2016:

Reed Collegeunnamed-6

“We’ve had NetEqualizers on campus at Reed for several years and continue to be very happy with the product. We have a very small staff and don’t have time to “tune” a device like a Packetshaper. Instead the NetEqualizer is protocol agnostic in the way it shapes traffic for most users but also allows us to quickly prioritize some traffic if necessary.

Over the years the NetEqualizer has saved us countless hours of staff time. We did lose some visibility into what is happening on our border network but our IDS/IPS replaced that functionality. NetEqualizer is an excellent product.”Gary Schlickeiser – Director of Technology Infrastructure Services

Thanks Gary for your kind words!

Edmonton Regional Airport Authorityunnamed-7

“We presently use two NE3000 units for Internet traffic control and monitoring in a redundant setup. At present we have a maximum of 600 Mbps Internet throughput, with over 300 IP addresses in use in some 120+ address Pools.

The NetEqualizer is a very useful tool for us for monitoring and setting speeds for our many users. Most of the feeds come straight off our Campus network, which is spread over a seven kilometer distance from one end of the airdrome to the other. We also feed a number of circuits to customers using ADSL equipment in the older areas where fiber is not yet available. Everything runs though the “live” NE3000!

Controllability and monitoring is key for our customers, as they pay for the speed they are asking for. With the RTR Dashboard, we continually monitor overall usage peaks to make sure we provide enough bandwidth but, more importantly, to our individual customers. Many customers are not sure of how much bandwidth they need, so using the Neteq we can simply change their speed and watch the individual IP and/or Pool usage to monitor. This becomes especially useful now as many customers, including ourselves, use IP telephony to remote sites; so we need to maintain critical bandwidth availability for this purpose. That way when they or we have conference calls for example, no one is getting choppy conversations. All easily monitored and adjusted with the Dashboard and Traffic Management features.

We also have used the Neteq firewall feature to stop certain attack threats and customer infected pcs or servers from spewing email or other reported outbound attacks, not a fun thing but it happens.

Overall a very critical tool for our success in providing internet to users and it has worked very well for the past 8 or more years!”Willy Damgaard – Network and Telecom Analyst

Thanks Willy! We are happy to help.

Cooperative Light & Powerunnamed-8

“Our company is an electric utility and we have a subsidiary WISP with about 1,000 unlicensed fixed wireless customers. We purchased our first NetEqualizer about a year ago to replace our fair access policy server from another company. The server we replaced allowed burst then sustained bandwidth so we weren’t sure if “equalizing” would work, but it works extremely well as advertised.

The NetEqualizer is stable and actually requires very little maintenance after initial configuration. In our case, we wanted to limit the upper end of what a customer could use (max burst). We were able to set that parameter in our wireless CPE’s. Then we set the equalizing pools for the size of our APs. The NetEqualizer can do a burst then sustained then burst at equal intervals, but to our surprise we actually didn’t need to use it.

We also purchased the DDoS Firewall and that is working nicely as well for quick identification of attacks. Perhaps the most important thing to note is the support is excellent. From sales to engineering the team is very responsive and knowledgeable. We were so impressed that we actually purchased a second NetEqualizer to handle the rest of our network. This company is A+.”Kevin Olson – Communication Manager

Thanks Kevin!

It is wonderful to hear such glowing feedback from one of our newer customers! If you would like to share your feedback on the NetEqualizer, to be highlighted in a future NetEqualizer News, click here to send us an email.


Best Of Blog

Using NetEqualizer to Ensure Clean, Clear QoS for VoIP Calls

By Art Reisman
Last week I talked to several ISP’s (Note: these were blind calls, not from our customers) that were having issues with end customers calling and complaining that their web browsing and VOIP calls were suffering. The funny thing is that the congestion was not the fault of the ISP, but the fault of the local connection being saturated with video. For example, if the ISP delivers a 10 meg circuit, and the customer starts two Netflix sessions, they would clog their own circuit.
Those conversations reminded me of an article I wrote back in 2010 that explains how the NetEqualizer can alleviate this type of congestion for VoIP. Here it is…

Photo of the Month
Hiking Near Caribou Ranch
It’s been unseasonably warm in Colorado this fall. We’ve been taking advantage of this by hiking in the mountains amidst the changing leaf colors. 
APconnections, home of the NetEqualizer | (303) 997-1300 | Email | Website 

Crossing a Chasm, Transitioning From Packet Shaping to the Next Generation Bandwidth Shaping Technology

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By Art Reisman

CTO, APconnections

Even though I would self identify as an early adopter of new technology, when I look at my real life behavior, I tend to resist change and hang on to   technology that I am comfortable with.   Suffice it to say, I  usually need an event or a gentle push to get over my resistance.

Given that technology change is uncomfortable,  what follows is a gentle push, or perhaps a mild shove, to help anybody who is looking to pull the trigger on moving away from Packet Shaping into a more sustainable, cost-effective alternative.

First off, lets look at why packet shaping (layer 7 deep packet inspection) technologies are popular.

“A good layer 7 based tool creates the perception of complete control over your network. You can see what applications are running, how much bandwidth they are using, and make adjustments to flows to meet your business objectives.”

Although the above statement appears idyllic, the reality of implementing packet shaping, even at its prime, was at best only 60 percent accurate.  The remaining 40 percent of traffic could never be classified, and thus had to shaped based on guess work or faith.

Today, the accuracy of packet classification continues to slip. Security concerns are forcing most content providers to adopt encryption. Encrypted traffic cannot be classified.

In an effort to stay relevant, companies have moved away from deep packet inspection to classifying traffic by the source and destination (source IP’s are never encrypted and thus always visible).

If your packet shaping device knows the address range of a content provider, it can safely assume a traffic type by examining the source IP address.  For example, Youtube traffic emanates from a source address owned by Google.  The draw-back with this method is that savvy users can easily hide their sources by using any one of the publicly available VPN utilities out there.  The personal VPN world is exploding as individual users are moving to VPN tunneling services for all their home browsing.

The combination of VPN tunnels and encrypted content is slowly transforming the best application classifiers into paper weights.

So, what are the alternatives?   Is  there something better?

Yes, if you can let go of concept of controlling specific traffic by type,  you can find viable alternatives.  As per our title, you must “cross the chasm”, and surrender to a new way of bandwidth shaping, where decisions are based on usage heuristics, and not absolute identification.

What is a heuristic-based shaper ? 

Our heuristic-based bandwidth shapers borrow from the world of computer science and a CPU scheduling technique called shortest job first (SJF).  In today’s world,  a “job” is synonymous with an application.  You have likely unknowingly experienced the benefits of a shortest job first scheduler when you use a linux-based laptop, such as a MAC or Ubuntu.  Unlike the older Windows operating systems where one application can lock up your computer, such lock ups are rare on Linux .  Linux uses a scheduler that allows preemption to let other applications in during peak times, so they are not starved for service.     Simply put,  a computer with many applications using SJF will pick the application it thinks is going to use the least amount of time and run it first. Or preempt a hog to let another application in.

In the world of bandwidth shaping we do not have the issue of contended CPU resources, but we do have an overload of Internet applications that vie for bandwidth resources on a shared link.   The NetEqualizer uses SJF-type techniques to preempt users who are dominating a bandwidth link with large downloads and other hogs. Although the NetEqualizer does not specifically classify these hogging applications by type , it does not matter. The hogging applications, such as large downloads and high resolution video, by their large foot print alone, are given lower priority.  Thus the business critical interactive applications with smaller bandwidth resource consumption get serviced first.


The issue we often see with switching to heuristic-shaping technology is that it goes against the absolute control-oriented solution offered by Packet Shaping.  The alternative of sticking with deep packet inspection and expecting to get control over your network is becoming impossible, hence something must change.

The new heuristic model of bandwidth shaping accomplishes priority for interactive cloud applications, and the implementation is simple and clean.

Bandwidth Shaping Shake Up, Your Packet Shaper May be Obsolete?

If you went to sleep in 2005 and woke up 10 years later you would likely be surprised by some dramatic changes in technology.

  • Smart cars that drive themselves are almost a reality
  • The desktop PC is no longer a consumer product
  • Wind farms  now line the highways of rural America
  • Layer 7 shaping technology is now clinging to life, crashing the financials of a several  companies that bet the house on it.

What happened to layer 7 and Packet Shaping?

In the early 2000’s all the rave in traffic classification was the ability to put different types of bandwidth traffic into labeled buckets and assign a priority to them. Akin to rating your food choices  on a tapas menu ,network administrators  enjoyed an extensive  list of various traffic. Youtube, Citrix,  news feeds, the list was only limited by the price and quality of the bandwidth shaper. The more expensive the traffic shaper , the more choices you had.

Starting in 2005 and continuing to this day,  several forces started to work against the layer 7 paradigm.

  • The price of bulk bandwidth went into a free fall, much faster than the relatively fixed cost of a bandwidth shaper.  The business proposition of buying a bandwidth shaper to conserve bandwidth utilization became much tighter. Some companies that were riding high saw their stock prices collapse.
  • Internet traffic became invisible and impossible to identify with the advent of encryption techniques. A traffic classifier using Layer 7,  cannot see inside HTTPS or a VPN tunnel, and thus it is essentially becomes a big expensive albatross with little value as the rate of encrypted traffic increases.
  • The FCC ruling toward Net Neutrality further put a damper on a portion of the Layer 7 market. For years ISPs had been using Layer 7 technology to give preferential treatment to different types of traffic.
  • Cloud based services are using less complex  architectures. Companies  can consolidate on one simplified central bandwidth shaper, where as before they might have had several on all their various WAN links and Network segments

So where does this leave the bandwidth shaping market?

There is still some demand for layer 7 type shapers, particular in countries like China, where they attempt to control   everything.  However in Europe and in the US , the trend is to more basic controls that do not violate the FCC rule, cost less, and use some form intelligent based fairness rules such as:

  • Quota’s ,  your cell phone data plan.
  • Fairness based heuristics is gaining momentum, lower price point, prevents congestion without violating FCC ruling  (  Equalizing).
  • Basic Rate limits,  your wired ISP 20 megabit plan, often implemented on a basic router and not a specialized shaping device.
  • No Shaping at all,  pipes are so large there is no need to ration bandwidth.

Will Shaping be around in 10 years?

Yes, consumers and businesses will always find ways to use all their bandwidth and more.

Will price points for bandwidth continue to drop ?

I am going to go against the grain here, and say bandwidth prices will flatten out in the near future.  Prices  over the last decade slid for several reasons which are no longer in play.

The biggest driver in price drops was the wide acceptance of wave division muliplexing on carrier lines in the 2005- present time frame. There was already a good bit of fiber in the ground but the WDM innovation caused a huge jump in capacity, with very little additional cost to providers.

The other factor was a major world-wide recession, where businesses where demand was slack.

Lastly there are no new large carriers coming on line. Competition and price wars will ease up as suppliers try to increase profits.



Top Ten Article Teasers for May 2016

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By Art Reisman

I was wound up and ready to write an interesting blog article today.  Problem was , I had a serious issue getting started.  I spent an hour or so with so many angles and things on my mind, that I just could not narrow it down and get started.  Then I had an out of the box idea.   I decided  to use my freedom as one of the Editors of this blog to make my article the list of headlines and associated teasers of all the article ideas in my head.  Who does that ?

Sorry if any of these leave you hanging.

Why do so many companies take technology advice from Gartner ? If their information was really that good, they would not need to be selling it.

The TSA is now talking about 3 hour lines at airports this summer. My instinct tells me this organization has realized a new-found political power. They control the airports and you must pay up if you want to fly.

Deep packet inspection. Is it dead ? A simple VPN tunnel renders it useless.

A competitor of ours, ETINC, has a really great explanation on why DPI does not work when trying to eliminate P2P . The case against Deep Packet Inspection.

Umpires and IT people nobody really likes them.

Do you hire two plumbers when one is sufficient to fix your sink ? No of course not . Your employer is no different they don’t want you on their pay-roll.

Mega Mansions and Bandwidth how much do we really need? I am expecting a tiny bandwidth movement where millennials compete on how small their bandwidth foot print is.

Does anybody pay for good content anymore ? I stopped reading Back Packer Magazine when their content every month became a list of product reviews .

How many people are moving to Colorado because weed is legal ?

The Home PC will be completely dead in 10 years.  Replaced by the PC in  Virtual Cloud.



Let us know if you want any of these expanded on for next week.




NetEqualizer News: March 2016

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

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

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

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

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

And finally, we share more news about our 2016 Leasing Program, and how we are keeping bandwidth shaping affordable.

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

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

– Art Reisman (CTO)

In this issue:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Best Of Blog
How to Build Your Own Speed Test Tool

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

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

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

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

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

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

Seven Must Know Network Troubleshooting Tips

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By Art Reisman

CTO, APconnections

To get started you’ll need to get ahold of two key software tools: 1) Ping Tool and 2) a Network Scan Tool, both which I describe in more detail below.  And for advanced analysis (experts only), I will then show you how you can use a bandwidth shaper/sniffer if needed.

Ping Tool

Ping is a great tool to determine what your network responsiveness is (in milliseconds), identified by trying to get a response from a typical website. If you do not already know how to use Ping on your device there are hundreds of references to Ping and how to use it.  Simply google “how to use ping ” on  your favorite device or computer to learn how to use it.

For example, I found these instructions for my MAC; and there are similar instructions for Windows, iPhone, Linux, Android, etc.

  1. Open Network Utility (located inside Applications > Utilities).
  2. Click Ping.
  3. Fill out the “Enter the network that you want to ping” field. You can enter the IP address or a web URL. For example, enter to test the ping with that website.
  4. Click Ping.

Network Scan Tool

There are a variety of network SCAN tools/apps available for just about any consumer device or computer.  The decent ones will cost a few dollars, but I have never regretted purchasing one.  I use mine often for very common home and business network issues as I will detail in the tips below. Be sure and use the term “network scan tool” when searching, so you do not get confusing results about unrelated document scanning tools.

Once you get your scan tool installed, test it out by selecting Network Scan. Here is the output from my MAC scan tool.  I will be referencing this output later in the article.

Network Scan Output
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Tip #1: Using Ping to see if you are really connected to your Network

I like to open a window on my laptop and keep Ping going all day, it looks like this: Ping  Output

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 8.25.10 AM

Amazingly, seemingly on cue, I lost connectivity to my Internet while I was running the tool for the screen capture above, and no, it was not planned or contrived.  I kicked off my ping by contacting (type in “ping;), a public website. And you can see that my round-trip time was around 40 milliseconds before it went dead. Any ping results under 100 milliseconds are normal.


Tip #2: How to Deal with Slow Ping Times

In the case above, my Internet Connection just went dead; it came back a minute or so later, and was most likely not related to anything local on my network.

If you start to see missed pings or slow Ping Times above 100 milliseconds, it is most likely due to congestion on your network.  To improve your response times, try turning off other devices/applications and see if that helps.  Even your TV video can suck down a good chunk of bandwidth.

Note: Always test two public websites with a ping before jumping to any conclusions. It is not likely but occasionally a big site like Yahoo will have sporadic response times.

Note: If you have a satellite link, slow and missed pings are normal just a fact-of-life.


Tip #3: If you can’t ping a public site, try pinging your local Wireless Router

To ping your local router all you need to find is the IP address of your router. And on almost all networks you can guess it quite easily by looking up the IP address of your computer, and then replacing the last number with a 1.

For example, on my computer I click on my little apple icon, then System Preferences, and then Networking, and I get this screen.  You can see in the Status are it tells me that my IP address is

Finding my IP address output

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The trick to finding your router’s IP address is to replace the last number of any IP address on your network with a 1.  So in my case, I start with my IP address of, and I swap the 131 with 1.  I then ping using as my argument, by typing in “ping”. A  ping to my router looks like this:

Router Ping  Output

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In the case above I was able to ping my local router and get a response. So what does this tell me?  If I can ping my local wireless router but I can’t ping Yahoo or any other public site, most likely the problem is with my Internet Provider.  To rule out problems with your wireless router or cables, I recommend that you re-boot your wireless router and check the cables coming into it as a next step.

In one case of failure, I actually saw a tree limb on the cable coming from the utility pole to the house. When I called my Internet Provider, I was able to relay this information, which saved a good bit of time in resolving issue.


Tip  #4: Look for IP loops

Last week I was getting an error message when I powered up my laptop, saying that some other device had my IP address, and I determined that I was unable to attach to the wireless router. WHAT a strange message!  Fortunately, with my scan tool I can see all the other devices on my network. And although I do not know exactly how I got into this situation, I was quickly able to find the device with the duplicate IP address and powercycle it. This resolved the problem in this case.


Tip #5: Look for Rogue Devices

If you never give out the security code to your wireless router, you should not have any unwanted visitors on your network.  To be certain, I again turn to the scan tool.  From my scan output, in the image above (titled “Network Scan Output” near the top of this post), you can see that there are about 15 devices attached to my network. I can account for all of them so for now I have no intruders.


Tip #6: Maybe it is just Mischief

There was a time when I left my wireless router wide open as I live in a fairly rural neighborhood and was just being complacent. I was surprised to see that one of my neighbors was on my access point, but which one?

I did some profiling.  Neighbor to my west is a judge with his own network, probably not him.  Across the street, a retired librarian, so probably not her.  That left the Neighbor to my Southwest, kitty corner, a house with all kinds of extended family coming and going, and no network router of their own, at least that I could detect. I had my suspect. And I could also assume they never suspected I was aware of them.

The proper thing to do would have been to block them and lock my wireless router. But since I wanted to have a little fun, I plugged in my bandwidth controller and set their bandwidth down to a fraction of a Megabit.  This had the effect of making their connection painfully dreadfully slow, almost unusable but with a ray of hope.  After a week, he went away and then I completely blocked him (just in case he decided to come back!).


Tip #7: Advanced Analysis with a Bandwidth Shaper/Sniffer

If the Ping tool and the Scan tool don’t shed any light on an issue, the next step is to use a more advanced Packet Sniffer. Usually this requires a separate piece of equipment that you insert into your network between your router and network users. I use my NetEqualizer because I have several of them laying around the house.

Often times the problem with your network is some rogue application consuming all of the resources. This can be in the form of consuming total bandwidth, or it could also be seen as overwhelming your wireless router with packets (there are many viruses designed to do just this).

The image below is from a live snapshot depicting bandwidth utilization on a business network. Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 12.26.49 PM

That top number, circled in red, is a YouTube video, and it is consuming about 3 megabits of bandwidth. Directly underneath that are a couple of cloud service applications from Amazon, and they are consuming 1/10 of what the YouTube video demolishes. On some lower cost Internet links one YouTube can make the service unusable to other applications.

With my sniffer I can also see total packets consumed by a device, which can be a problem on many networks if somebody opens an email with a virus. Without a sniffer it is very hard to track down the culprit.

I hope these tips help you to troubleshoot your network.  Please let us know if you have any questions or tips that you would like to contribute.

NetEqualizer News: February 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Art Reisman (CTO)

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

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

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

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

Your VM server will need to meet a minimum specification to run the NetEqualizer shaping solution. We have detailed specifications for any VM system – contact us for details!

Release 8.4 Update
Enhanced Pools + GUI Redesign

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


Next Generation Bandwidth Control
NetEqualizer is Cloud Ready

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

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

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

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

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

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


Best Of Blog

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

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

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

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

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

Caching Your iOS Updates Made Easy

If you have talked to us about caching in recent months, you probably know that we are now lukewarm on open ended third party caching servers . The simple un-encrypted content of the Internet circa 2010 has been replaced by dynamically generated pages along with increased content encryption.  It’s not that the caching servers don’t work, it’s just that if they follow rules of good practice, the amount of data that a caching server can cache has diminished greatly over the last few years.

The good news is that Apple has realized the strain they are putting on Business and ISP networks when their updates come out. They have recently released an easy to implement low-cost caching solution specifically for Apple content.  In fact, one of our customers noted in a recent discussion group that they are using an old MAC mini to cache iOS updates for an entire College Campus.

Other notes on Caching Options

Akamai offers a cloud solution. Usually hosted at larger providers, but if you are buying bandwidth in bulk sometimes you can often piggyback on their savings and get a discount on cached traffic.

There is also a service offered by Netflix for larger providers.  However, last I checked you must be using 10 gigabits sustained Netflix traffic to qualify.

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