APconnections Announces NetEqualizer Lifetime Buyer Protection Policy


This week, we announced the launch of the NetEqualizer Lifetime Buyer Protection Policy. In the event of an un-repairable failure of a NetEqualizer unit at any time, or in the event that it is time to retire a unit, customers will have the option to purchase a replacement unit and apply a 50-percent credit of their original unit purchase price, toward the new unit.  For current pricing see register for our price list.  This includes units that are more than three years old (the expected useful life for hardware) and in service at the time of failure.

For example, if you purchased a unit in 2003 for $4000 and were looking to replace it or upgrade with a newer model, APconnections would kick in a $2000 credit toward the replacement purchase.

The Policy will be in addition to the existing optional yearly NetEqualizer Hardware Warranty (NHW), which offers customers cost-free repairs or replacement of any malfunctioning unit while NHW is in effect (read details on NHW).

Our decision to implement the policy was a matter of customer peace-of-mind rather than necessity. While the failure rate of any NetEqualizer unit is ultimately very low, we want customers to know that we stand behind our products – even if it’s several years down the line.

To qualify,

  • users must be the original owner of the NetEqualizer unit,
  • the customer must have maintained a support contract that has been current within last 18 months , lapses of support longer than 18 months will void our replacement policy
  • the unit must have been in use on your network at the time of failure.

Shipping is not included in the discounted price. Purchasers of the one-year NetEqualizer hardware warranty (NHW) will still qualify for full replacement at no charge while under hardware warranty.  Contact us for more details by emailing sales@apconnections.net, or calling 303.997.1300 x103 (International), or 1.888.287.2492 (US Toll Free).

Note: This Policy does not apply to the NetEqualizer Lite.

APconnections Announces 50-Percent-Off Sale of New NetEqualizer-Lite


Beginning May 26, all customers purchasing a full size NetEqualizer 2000/3000 model will qualify for a 50-percent discount on the NetEqualizer-Lite. In addition, the offer will be extended to all existing NetEqualizer users who will also be entitled to the 50-percent discount on their first NetEqualizer-Lite purchase. This offer is valid until June 30, 2009. Limit two per customer.

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

Although the core technology behind the NetEqualizer has not changed, with the latest release price point, many ISPs and businesses are deploying the NetEqualizer-Lite closer to end users, often directly behind congested access points.

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

The NetEqualizer-Lite lists at $1499. In addition to the 50-percent discount, we are also currently offering volume discounts. Pricing information on all other NetEqualizer models is available online at http://www.netequalizer.com. For more information, please contact APconnections at 1-800-918-2763 or admin@apconnections.net.

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

NetEqualizer-Lite Is Now Available!


Last month, we introduced our newest release, a Power-over-Ethernet NetEqualizer. Since then, with your help, we’ve titled the new release the NetEqualizer-Lite and are already getting positive feedback from users. Here’s a little background about what led us to release the NetEqualizer-Lite…Over the years, we’d had several customers express interest in placing a NetEqualizer as close as possible to their towers in order to relieve congestion. However, in many cases, this would require both a weatherproof and low-power NetEqualizer unit – two features that were not available up to this point. However, in the midst of a growing demand for this type of technology, we spent the last few months working to meet this need and thus developed the NetEqualizer-Lite.

Here’s what you can expect from the NetEqualizerLite:

  • Power over Ethernet
  • Up to 10 megabits of shaping
  • Up to 200 users
  • Comes complete with all standard NetEqualizer features

And, early feedback on the new release has been positive. Here’s what one user recently posted on DSLReports.com:

We’ve ordered 4 of these and deployed 2 so far. They work exactly like the 1U rackmount NE2000 that we have in our NOC, only the form factor is much smaller (about 6x6x1) and they use POE or a DC power supply. I amp clamped one of the units, and it draws about 7 watts….The Netequalizer has resulted in dramatically improved service to our customers. Most of the time, our customers are seeing their full bandwidth. The only time they don’t see it now is when they’re downloading big files. And, when they don’t see full performance, its only for the brief period that the AP is approaching saturation. The available bandwidth is re-evaulated every 2 seconds, so the throttling periods are often brief. Bottom line to this is that we can deliver significantly more data through the same AP. The customers hitting web pages, checking e-mail, etc. virtually always see full bandwidth, and the hogs don’t impact these customers. Even the hogs see better performance (although that wasn’t one of my priorities). (DSLReports.com)

Pricing for the new model will be $1,200 for existing NetEqualizer users and $1,550 for non-customers purchasing their first unit. However, the price for subsequent units will be $1,200 for users and nonusers alike.

For more information about the new release, contact us at admin@apconnections.net or 1-800-918-2763.

NetEqualizer White Paper Comparison with Traditional Layer-7 (Deep Packet Inspection Products)


Updated with new reference material May 4th 2009

How NetEqualizer compares to Packeteer, Allot, Cymphonics, Exinda

We often get asked how NetEqualizer compares to Packeteer, Allot, Cymphonics, Exinda and a plethora of other well-known companies that do layer 7 application shaping (packet shaping). After several years of these questions, and discussing different aspects with former and current application shaping IT administrators, we’ve developed a response that should clarify the differences between NetEqualizers behavior based approach and the rest of the pack.

We thought of putting our response into a short, bullet-by-bullet table format, but then decided that since this decision often involves tens of thousands of dollars, 15 minutes of education on the subject with content to support the bullet chart was in order. If you want to see just the bullet chart, you can skip to the end now, but if you’re looking to have the question answered as objectively as possible, please take a few minutes to read on

In the following sections, we will cover specifically when and where application shaping (deep packet inspection) is used, how it can be used to your advantage, and also when it may not be a good option for what you are trying to accomplish. We will also discuss how the NetEqualizer and its behavior-based shaping fits into the landscape of application shaping, and how in some cases the NetEqualizer is a much better alternative.

First off, let’s discuss the accuracy of application shaping. To do this, we need to review the basic mechanics of how it works.

Application shaping is defined as the ability to identify traffic on your network by type and then set customized policies to control the flow rates for each particular type. For example, Citrix, AIM, Youtube, and BearShare are all applications that can be uniquely identified.

As you are likely aware, all traffic on the Internet travels around in what is called an IP packet. An IP packet can very simply be thought of as a string of characters moving from computer A to computer B. The string of characters is called the “payload,” much like the freight inside a railroad car. On the outside of this payload is the address where it is being sent. On the inside is the data/payload that is being transmitted. These two elements, the address and the payload, comprise the complete IP packet. In the case of different applications on the Internet, we would expect to see different kinds of payloads.

At the heart of all current application shaping products is special software that examines the content of Internet packets as they pass through the packet shaper. Through various pattern matching techniques, the packet shaper determines in real time what type of application a particular flow is. It then proceeds to take action to possibly restrict or allow the data based on a rule set designed by the system administrator.

For example, the popular peer-to-peer application Kazaa actually has the ASCII characters “Kazaa” appear in the payload, and hence a packet shaper can use this keyword to identify a Kazaa application. Seems simple enough, but suppose that somebody was downloading a Word document discussing the virtues of peer-to-peer and the title had the character string “Kazaa” in it. Well, it is very likely that this download would be identified as Kazaa and hence misclassified. After all, downloading a Word document from a Web server is not the same thing as the file sharing application Kazaa.

The other issue that constantly brings the accuracy of application shaping under fire is that some application writers find it in their best interest not be classified. In a mini arms race that plays out everyday across the world, some application developers are constantly changing their signature and some have gone as far as to encrypt their data entirely.

Yes, it is possible for the makers of application shapers to counter each move, and that is exactly what the top companies do, but it can take a heroic effort to keep pace. The constant engineering and upgrading required has an escalating cost factor. In the case of encrypted applications, the amount of CPU power required for decryption is quite intensive and impractical and other methods will be needed to identify encrypted p2p.

But, this is not to say that application shaping doesn’t work in all cases or provide some value. So, let’s break down where it has potential and where it may bring false promises. First off, the realities of what really happens when you deploy and depend on this technology need to be discussed.

Accuracy and False Positives

As of early 2003, we had a top engineer and executive join APConnections direct from a company that offered application shaping as one of their many value-added technologies. He had first hand knowledge from working with hundreds of customers who were big supporters of application shaping:

The application shaper his company offered could identify 90 percent of the spectrum of applications, which means they left 10 percent as unclassified. So, right off the bat, 10 percent of the traffic is unknown by the traffic shaper. Is this traffic important? Is it garbage that you can ignore? Well, there is no way to know with out any intelligence, so you are forced to let it go by without any restriction. Or, you could put one general rule over all of the traffic – perhaps limiting it to 1 megabit per second max, for example. Essentially, if your intention was 100-percent understanding and control of your network traffic, right out the gate you must compromise this standard.

In fairness, this 90-percent identification actually is an amazing number with regard to accuracy when you understand how daunting application shaping is. Regardless, there is still room for improvement.

So, that covers the admitted problem of unclassifiable traffic, but how accurate can a packet shaper be with the traffic it does claim to classify? Does it make mistakes? There really isn’t any reliable data on how often an application shaper will misidentify an application. To our knowledge, there is no independent consumer reporting company that has ever created a lab capable of generating several thousand different applications types with a mix of random traffic, and then took this mix and identified how often traffic was misclassified. Yes, there are trivial tests done one application at a time, but misclassification becomes more likely with real-world complex and diverse application mixes.

From our own testing of application technology freely available on the Internet, we discovered false positives can occur up to 25 percent of the time. A random FTP file download can be classified as something more specific. Obviously commercial packet shapers do not rely on the free technology in open source and they actually may improve on it. So, if we had to estimate based on our experience, perhaps 5 percent of Internet traffic will likely get misclassified. This brings our overall accuracy down to 85 percent (combining the traffic they don’t claim to classify with an estimated error rate for the traffic they do classify).

Constantly Evolving Traffic

Our sources say (mentioned above) that 70 percent of their customers that purchased application shaping equipment were using the equipment primarily as a reporting tool after one year. This means that they had stopped keeping up with shaping policies altogether and were just looking at the reports to understand their network (nothing proactive to change the traffic).

This is an interesting fact. From what we have seen, many people are just unable, or unwilling, to put in the time necessary to continuously update and change their application rules to keep up with the evolving traffic. The reason for the constant changing of rules is that with traditional application shaping you are dealing with a cunning and wise foe. For example, if you notice that there is a large contingent of users using Bittorrent and you put a rule in to quash that traffic, within perhaps days, those users will have moved on to something new: perhaps a new application or encrypted p2p. If you do not go back and reanalyze and reprogram your rule set, your packet shaper slowly becomes ineffective.

And finally lest we not forget that application shaping is considered by some to be a a violation of Net Neutrality.

When is application shaping the right solution?

There is a large set of businesses that use application shaping quite successfully along with other technologies. This area is WAN optimization. Thus far, we have discussed the issues with using an application shaper on the wide open Internet where the types and variations of traffic are unbounded. However, in a corporate environment with a finite set and type of traffic between offices, an application shaper can be set up and used with fantastic results.

There is also the political side to application shaping. It is human nature to want to see and control what takes place in your environment. Finding the best tool available to actually show what is on your network, and the ability to contain it, plays well with just about any CIO or IT director on the planet. An industry leading packet shaper brings visibility to your network and a pie chart showing 300 different kinds of traffic. Whether or not the tool is practical or accurate over time isn’t often brought into the buying decision. The decision to buy can usually be “intuitively” justified. By intuitively, we mean that it is easier to get approval for a tool that is simple to conceptually understand by a busy executive looking for a quick-fix solution.

As the cost of bandwidth continues to fall, the question becomes how much a CIO should spend to analyze a network. This is especially true when you consider that as the Internet expands, the complexity of shaping applications grows. As bandwidth prices drop, the cost of implementing such a product is either flat or increasing. In cases such as this, it often does not make sense to purchase a $15,000 bandwidth shaper to stave off a bandwidth upgrade that might cost an additional $200 a month.

What about the reporting aspects of an application shaper? Even if it can only accurately report 90 percent of the actual traffic, isn’t this useful data in itself?

Yes and no. Obviously analyzing 90 percent of the data on your network might be useful, but if you really look at what is going on, it is hard to feel like you have control or understanding of something that is so dynamic and changing. By the time you get a handle on what is happening, the system has likely changed. Unless you can take action in real time, the network usage trends (on a wide open Internet trunk) will vary from day to day.1 It turns out that the most useful information you can determine regarding your network is an overall usage patter for each individual. The goof-off employee/user will stick out like a sore thumb when you look at a simple usage report since the amount of data transferred can be 10-times the average for everybody else. The behavior is the indicator here, but the specific data types and applications will change from day to day and week to week

How does the NetEqualizer differ and what are its advantages and weaknesses?

First, we’ll summarize equalizing and behavior-based shaping. Overall, it is a simple concept. Equalizing is the art form of looking at the usage patterns on the network, and then when things get congested, robbing from the rich to give to the poor. Rather than writing hundreds of rules to specify allocations to specific traffic as in traditional application shaping, you can simply assume that large downloads are bad, short quick traffic is good, and be done with it.

This behavior-based approach usually mirrors what you would end up doing if you could see and identify all of the traffic on your network, but doesn’t require the labor and cost of classifying everything. Applications such as Web surfing, IM, short downloads, and voice all naturally receive higher priority while large downloads and p2p receive lower priority. This behavior-based shaping does not need to be updated constantly as applications change.

Trusting a heuristic solution such as NetEqualizer is not always an easy step. Oftentimes, customers are concerned with accidentally throttling important traffic that might not fit the NetEqualizer model, such as video. Although there are exceptions, it is rare for the network operator not to know about these potential issues in advance, and there are generally relatively few to consider. In fact, the only exception that we run into is video, and the NetEqualizer has a low level routine that easily allows you to give overriding priority to a specific server on your network, hence solving the problem.

Another key element in behavior-based shaping is connections. Equalizing takes care of instances of congestion caused by single-source bandwidth hogs. However, the other main cause of Internet gridlock (as well as bringing down routers and access points) is p2p and its propensity to open hundreds or perhaps thousands of connections to different sources on the Internet. Over the years, the NetEqualizer engineers have developed very specific algorithms to spot connection abuse and avert its side effects.

This overview, along with the summary table below, should give you a good idea of where the NetEqualizer stands in relation to packet shaping.

Summary Table

Application based shaping

  • good for static links where traffic patterns are constant

  • good for intuitive presentations makes sense and easy to explain to non technical people
  • detailed reporting by application type
  • not the best fit for wide open Internet trunks
    • costly to maintain in terms of licensing

    • high initial cost

    • constant labor to tune with changing application spectrum

    • expect approximately 15 percent of traffic to be unclassified

  • only a static snapshot of a changing spectrum may not be useful
  • false positives may show data incorrectly no easy way to confirm accuracy
  • violates Net Neutrality

Equalizing

  • not the best for dedicated WAN trunks

  • the most cost effective for shared Internet trunks
  • little or no recurring cost or labor
  • low entry cost
  • conceptual takes some getting used to
  • basic reporting by behavior used to stop abuse
  • handles encrypted p2p without modifications or upgrades
  • Supports Net Neutrality

1 The exception is a corporate WAN link with relatively static usage patterns.

Note: Since we first published this article, deep packet inspection also known as layer 7 shaping has taken some serious industry hits with respect to US based ISPs

Related articles:

Why is NetEqualizer the low price leader in bandwidth control

When is deep packet inspection a good thing?

NetEqualizer offers deep packet inspection comprimise.

Internet users attempt to thwart Deep Packet Inspection using encryption.

Why the controversy over deep Packet inspection?

World wide web founder denounces deep packet inspection

Does your ISP block Web Crawling?


By Art Reisman

Art Reisman CTO www.netequalizer.com

Editor’s note: Art Reisman is the CTO of APconnections. APconnections designs and manufactures the popular NetEqualizer bandwidth shaper.

About one year ago I got the idea to see if I could build a Web Crawler (robot) with the Specific mission of finding references to our brand name on the Internet.

I admit to being a complete amateur to the art of writing a Web Crawler, and certainly it might make more sense to  do Google search on “NetEqualizer” , but I wanted to see if any occurances were  out there,  in Cyber space, that Google ignored or missed.

If you are a hack and want to try this for yourself, I have included my beta Web Crawler source code below.

Back on topic, Does your ISP block Web Crawling?

First a little background on how my Web Crawler works.

1) It takes a seed , a set of web pages to start on

2) It systematically reads those seed Web Pages looking for URL’s amongst them

3) When it finds a URL, it reads it as text, looking for additional URLS within the text.

4) It ranks URLs as Interesting if it finds certain keywords ( a List I created) in the Text of the new URL

5) The more Interesting a URL the more likely it is to get read and so forth.

6) If no keywords are found at all on the searched page it tosses it out as not to be searched. (I think better check this)

7) Ultimately it will stop when it finds “NetEqualizer” or loops a whole bunch of times without finding any new keywords whichever comes first

So you can imagine when this thing is running it is sucking bandwidth as fast as it can read pages, and also hitting random web pages more than humanly possible, after all it is a crawler.

I only ran this script two or three times in its present form because each time I ran it within an hour or so my Internet service would crash and stop altogether. It may just be coincidence that I was having problems with my line at the time as within the next month I did have to have the external cable to the pole replaced by my provider. So honestly I am not postive if my Provider shut me down, but I think so.

At the time, I had not really given it much thought, but if my provider had any watch dog type big brother metric keeping tabs on me, surely this thing would have set off a code Red at the main office. I would assume that residential Internet accounts that start scanning the web at high speed are considered infected with a virus ? Is there a formal clause that by my provider that says they can shut me down if I write a crawler ? I don’t know , as I did not push the issue.

Below is the code. It did start with a perl program written by somebody else, but critical pieces seemed to be omitted (Specific Perl calls on the original) so I had stripped it way down and then built it back up to crawl. I honestly have no idea where I got the original code from as it was over a year ago. Apologies for not giving credit.

See also a generic flow diagram of a Web Crawler.

Sorry about the formatting in the blog.

Use at your won risk etc.

#!/usr/bin/perl -w
##
# spider.pl Set tabstops to 3.
#
$| = 1;

if(scalar(@ARGV) < 2){
print “Usage: $0 <fully-qualified- seed URL> <search-phrase> <keywords>\n”;
exit 1;
}

# Initialize.
%URLqueue = ();
chop($client_host=`hostname`);
$been = 0;
$search_phrase = $ARGV[1];
if (scalar(@ARGV) > 2 ) {
$kicker1 = $ARGV[2]; }
if (scalar (@ARGV) > 3 ) {
$kicker2 = $ARGV[3];
}
if(scalar (@ARGV) > 4 ) {
$kicker3 = $ARGV[4]; }

# Load the queue with the first URL to hit.
$URLqueue{$ARGV[0]} = 0;

# While there’s a URL in our queue which we haven’t looked at …
$total_sites=0;
while ($total_sites < 10000)
{
$x= `echo total sites loop $total_sites >> visited `;
# Progress report.
if ($total_sites > 1000) { exit 1; }
for ( $sites=0; $sites < 200; ) # keep looping hundred times in this beta version
{
$x= `echo sites loop $sites >> visited `;
while(($key,$value) = each(%URLqueue)){
if ( $URLqueue{$key} < 0 ){ if ($URLqueue{$key} == -1)
{ delete $URLqueue{$key}; } # garbage collection
next; } # already been there
if ($sites > 50 && $value < 1 ) {$sites ++; next; }
if ($sites > 100 && $value < 2 ) {$sites ++ ;next;}
if ($sites > 50)
{
$x=`echo primo sites $sites value $value site $key`;
}
($protocol, $rest) = $key =~ m|^([^:/]*):(.*)$|;

# If the protocol is http, fetch the page and process it.
if ( !defined ($protocol)) {next;}
if($protocol eq “http”){
$URLqueue{$key}=-1 ; # mark as visited
$sites++;
$total_sites++;
# Split out the hostname, port and document.
# ($server_host, $port, $document) =
# $rest =~ m|^//([^:/]*):*([0-9]*)/*([^:]*)$|;
print “getting $key \n”;
$x = `cd /tmp; wget -nd -Q 10000 –timeout=2 –tries=1 $key` ;
print “done wget \n”;
$x= `echo $key >> ./visited`;
$page_text = `cat /tmp/* 2> /dev/null`;
$x=`rm /tmp/* 2> /dev/null`;

$page_text =~ tr/\r\n//d;
$page_text =~ s|<!–[^>]*–>||g;
# Report if our search string is found here.
$kick=0;
if($page_text =~ m|$search_phrase|i){
print “found phrase $key $search_phrase ,total sites $total_sites \n”;
exit ;
}
if ( defined $kicker1) {
if($page_text =~ m|$kicker1|i){
#rank this page higher if it has this key word
$x= `echo found kicker $key $kicker1 total sites $total_sites >> visited`;
$kick++;
}
}
if ( defined $kicker2 ) {
if($page_text =~ m|$kicker2|i){
# rank this page higher if it has this key word
$x= `echo found kicker $key $kicker2 ,total sites $sites >> visited`;
$kick++;
}
}
if (defined $kicker3 ) {
if($page_text =~ m|$kicker3|i){
# rank this page higher if it has this key word
print “found kicker $key $kicker3 ,total sites $sites \n”;
$kick++;
}
}
else
{
delete $URLqueue{$key}; # not http
}

# Find anchors in the HTML and update our list of URLs..
(@anchors) = $page_text =~ m|<A[^>]*HREF\s*=\s*”([^
“>]*)”|gi;
foreach $anchor (@anchors){

$newURL = &fqURL($key, $anchor);

if ( exists $URLqueue{$newURL} )
{
$URLqueue{$newURL}= $URLqueue{$newURL} -1;
#don’t garbage collect low numbers
print “duplicate $newURL \n”;
}
else
{
print “new anchor $newURL \n”;
if ($kick > 0 ) {
$x=`echo kick $kick $key $newURL >> ./anchors`; }
$URLqueue{$newURL} =$kick; #new url added to queu
}
}
} #end of while URLqueue
} # end of sites
} #end of total sites
}

sub fqURL
{
local($thisURL, $anchor) = @_;
local($has_proto, $has_lead_slash, $currprot, $currhost, $newURL);

# Strip anything following a number sign ‘#’, because its
# just a reference to a position within a page.
$anchor =~ s|^.*#[^#]*$|$1|;

# Examine anchor to see what parts of the URL are specified.
$has_proto = 0;
$has_lead_slash=0;
$has_proto = 1 if($anchor =~ m|^[^/:]+:|);
$has_lead_slash = 1 if ($anchor =~ m|^/|);

if($has_proto == 1){

# If protocol specified, assume anchor is fully qualified.
$newURL = $anchor;

}
elsif($has_lead_slash == 1){

# If document has a leading slash, it just needs protocol and host.
($currprot, $currhost) = $thisURL =~ m|^([^:/]*):/+([^:/]*)|;
$newURL = $currprot . “://” . $currhost . $anchor;

}
else{

# Anchor must be just relative pathname, so append it to current URL.
($newURL) = $thisURL =~ m|^(.*)/[^/]*$|;
$newURL .= “/” if (! ($newURL =~ m|/$|));
$newURL .= $anchor;

}
return $newURL;
}
The disclaimers:

Use this code at your own risk. I am not even sure if it follows the moral and ethic standards that the major players who crawl the web for living abide by; but since I was only doing this as a weekend experiment I did not worry too much about the standard.

In other words it is experimental and not for commerical use. Do not walk away and leave it running unattended lest you get censured and black listed from the Internet.

Finally a Bandwidth Control appliance for under $1500


Lafayette Colorado April 9th 2009

APconnections today Announced a small business bandwidth control device that  lists at $1499. (for single unit orders)

This new offer  handles up to 10 megabits and 100 users with room to spare for some expansion. It comes complete with all the standard features of the NetEqualizer, but in a smaller  low power format  with Power over Ethernet.

Demand for this new offer came from two sources

1) There was huge demand for an affordable traffic shaping device to  help small business run their VOIP concurrent with their data traffic over their internet link.

2) There was also a need  for a low end unit, with POE,  for the WISP market .

In  a large wireless network, congestion often occurs at tower locations.  With a low cost POE version of the NetEqualizer,  wireless providers can  now afford to have advanced bandwidth control at or near their Access distribution points.

According to Joe DeSopo from NetEqualizer, “About half of wireless network slowness comes from p2p (bittorrent)  and video users overloading the access points. We have had great success with our  NE2000 series  but the price point of $2500 was a bit too high to duplicate all over the network.”

For a small or medium sized office with a hosted VOIP PBX solution the NetEqualizer works like a genie in a bottle. It is one of the few products on the market that can provide QOS for voip over an Internet link. And now, with volume pricing approaching $1000,  it will help revolutions the way offices use their Internet connection.

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

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

Related Articles

When is Deep Packet Inspection a Good Thing?


Commentary

Update September 2011

Seems some shareholders  of a company who over promised layer 7 technology are not happy.

By Eli Riles

As many of our customers are aware, we publicly stated back in October 2008 that we officially had switched all of our bandwidth control solutions over to behavior-based shaping. Consequently, we  also completely disavowed Deep Packet Inspection in a move that has Ars Technica described as “vendor throws deep packet inspection under the bus.”

In the last few weeks, there has been a barrage of attacks on Deep Packet Inspection, and then a volley of PR supporting it from those implementing the practice.

I had been sitting on an action item to write something in defense of DPI, and then this morning I came across a pro-DPI blog post in the New York Times. The following excerpt is in reference to using DPI to give priority to certain types of traffic such as gaming:

“Some customers will value what they see as low priority as high priority,” he said. I asked Mr. Scott what he thought about the approach of Plusnet, which lets consumers pay more if they want higher priority given to their game traffic and downloads. Surprisingly, he had no complaints.

“If you said to me, the consumer, ‘You can choose what applications to prioritize and which to deprioritize, and, oh, by the way, prices will change as a result of how you do this,’ I don’t have a problem with that,” he said.

The key to this excerpt is the phrase, “IF YOU ASK THE CONSUMER WHAT THEY WANT.” This implies permission. If you use DPI as an opt-in , above-board technology, then obviously there is nothing wrong with it. The threat to privacy is only an issue if you use DPI without consumer knowledge. It should not be up to the provider to decide appropriate use of DPI,  regardless of good intent.

The quickest way to deflate the objections  of the DPI opposition is to allow consumers to choose. If you subscribe to a provider that allows you to have higher priority for certain application, and it is in their literature, then by proxy you have granted permission to monitor your traffic. I can still see the Net Neutrality purist unhappy with any differential service, but realistically I think there is a middle ground.

I read an article the other day where a defender of DPI practices (sorry no reference) pointed out how spam filtering is widely accepted and must use DPI techniques to be effective. The part the defender again failed to highlight was that most spam filtering is done as an opt-in with permission. For example, the last time I checked my Gmail account, it gave the option to turn the spam filter off.

In sum, we are fully in support of DPI technology when the customer is made aware of its use and has a choice to opt out. However, any use of DPI done unknowingly and behind the scenes is bound to create controversy and may even be illegal. The exception would be a court order for a legal wiretap. Therefore, the Deep Packet Inspection debate isn’t necessarily a black and white case of two mutually exclusive extremes of right and wrong. If done candidly, DPI can be beneficial to both the Internet user and provider.

See also what is deep packet inspection.

Eli Riles, a consultant for APconnections (Netequalizer), is a retired insurance agent from New York. He is a self-taught expert in network infrastructure. He spends half the year traveling and visiting remote corners of the earth. The other half of the year you’ll find him in his computer labs testing and tinkering with the latest network technology.

For questions or comments, please contact him at eliriles@yahoo.com.

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