NetEqualizer News: August 2016


We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter. Highlights include Release 8.4 feedback, a preview of our new Quick Start Guide, an update on our 20 Gbps unit, and DDoS news.

 

August 2016

 

Release 8.4 feedback, and more!
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.

art photo for NL

As the end of summer nears, here at APconnections we are basking in the glow of our latest 8.4 software release. Since our last newsletter, which announced that our 8.4 Release was generally available, we have been fully focused on deploying it. Our updated 8.4 GUI has been well-received, as you can read about in this month’s newsletter.

Also this month, we officially release our latest Quick Start Guide, updated for 8.4. Stay tuned for more to come on 8.4 documentation in next month’s newsletter.

Never one to rest on our laurels, we are now focused on the future – and this month you can read about our push for 20Gbps shapers. We also are enhancing our DDoS Firewall offering, to continue to bring you state-of-the-art protection.

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 art@apconnections.net.

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

– Art Reisman (CTO)

In this Issue:

:: Release 8.4 Feedback

:: Release 8.4 Quick Start Guide

:: Is a 20Gbps NetEqualizer in Your Future?

:: More DDoS News

:: Best of Blog: Bandwidth Shaping Shake Up

Release 8.4 Feedback

Release 8.4 has been a hit!

Release 8.4 has been well received! We have had a good number of compliments so far on the new interface. Here is a sampling…


Thanks for chiming in early on holiday Sunday. We do know we can count on you guys! The new interface looks fantastic. Easy access to often used information. It’s clean, neat and modern. Well done!

Your instructions were great! The upgrade is complete… very smooth!

Still haven’t taken the time to thank you for the wonderful GUI upgrade – BIG IMPROVEMENT, THANK YOU!

The new release offers a complete overhaul of the previous user interface and enhances all of our setup and reporting screens. Here are just a few of the improvements we’ve made:

1) Bulk editing of your configuration. You can now make any number of changes to the configuration with one save!

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2) New dashboard interface. The Release 8.4 dashboard offers a new real-time report, information about your NetEqualizer and running processes, as well as quick links to setup, reporting, and maintenance screens. 

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3) Perform quick edits without restarting Equalizing. If you just need to make a minor change, you can do so without impacting your busy network!

8.4 perform_quick_edits

Contact us today to update your NetEqualizer to Release 8.4! We also love hearing feedback from those of you who have been using Release 8.4!

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

Release 8.4 Quick Start Guide

 Our new Quick Start Guide is here!

We are excited to announce that our Quick Start Guide has been updated to incorporate our recent 8.4 Release! Screenshot at Aug 22 14-27-51

This short guide contains 4 key sections to help you to set up & configure your NetEqualizer:

Step #1) Cabling the NetEqualizer into your Network
Step #2) Configuring the NetEqualizer
Step #3) Setting up Equalizing
Step #4) Validating & Backing up your Configuration

We also include three appendices, to further help with your setup:

Appendix #1) Viewing your Traffic
Appendix #2) Troubleshooting your Setup
Appendix #3) Syncing NetEqualizer to a Time Server

While used mainly to set up new equipment, this is a good reference if you want to revisit your settings. In addition, if you have not started using Real-Time Reporting (RTR), use Appendix #1 to get started.

We also recommend that you take a look at this to set your date/time and time zone (see Step #2), as well as to sync your NetEqualizer to a Time Server (see Appendix #3).

Stay tuned to our newsletter for updates on all of our 8.4 documentation releases!

Is a 20Gbps NetEqualizer in Your Future?

More Breaking News!

One of the advantages of the NetEqualizer and our underlying technology is that we do our shaping based on heuristics that can be collected quickly without requiring massive amounts of CPU resources. Traditional packet shaping technology that relies on heavy packet inspection cannot keep up with speeds over 5 Gbps without a complex set of parallel processors, which tend to drive product costs out of practical reach.

Hot on the heals of our Release 8.4, we are turning our attention toward a new class of bandwidth shaping solutions capable of handling 20 Gbps of throughput – while keeping the price tag well below anything else on the market. We will have more details in the coming months as we continue our in-house testing. Look for a formal announcement this fall, and feel free to contact us for more details before then!

airportMore DDoS News

Exciting enhancements to our DDoS Product!

More news on the DDOS front. We will be making some enhancements to our DDOS firewall this fall! Specifically, we will be adding a new feature to block/warn on external IP’s based on their total number of incoming connections. Currently our DDOS warning system triggers on the rate of data coming in from unknown external entities, however we do not have a total concurrent connection count alert specific to outside IP addresses. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks, and please email us your ideas for additional DDoS protection as you encounter any suspected issues on your network.
Best Of Blog

Bandwidth Shaping Shake Up

By Art Reisman
 
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 several companies that bet the house on it
What happened to layer 7?

Photo of the Month
 

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Remember those great roadside attractions?
This cheesy roadside attraction near Oakley Kansas off I-70 has come to end. I drove by it this summer and noticed the signage was down. The elderly operator had mentioned a few years ago that “times were not what they used to be” in the heyday of the 70’s. People were just not stopping anymore. Not only did it feature the world’s largest prairie dog as depicted in the photo, they also had a five-legged cow, a rattle snake pit, and a variety of North American animals in small cages. Although I felt bad for the animals and did not like to see them cooped up like that, I’ll miss the nostalgic charm of an era gone by.
APconnections, home of the NetEqualizer | (303) 997-1300 | Email | Website 

NetEqualizer News: January 2016


January 2016

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we introduce our new virtual NetEqualizer offering, highlight our Tech Refreshes, preview a cool new 8.4 Release feature, and discuss our DDoS Firewall option. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…
Art Reisman, CTO – APconnections

Happy New Year! I hope your 2016 is off to a good start. Here at APconnections, we are starting 2016 off with a wonderful announcement:
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We are going Virtual! This month, we discuss how we are embracing Network Function Virtualization (NFV). Read below to learn more about this exciting offering!

twitterAnd 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 art@apconnections.net. I would love to hear from you!

In 2016, We Are Going Virtual!

As most of you know, Network Function Virtualization (NFV) has become a viable choice for many networking components. We now believe it is time to consider VM for bandwidth shaping, and are excited to announce that we will offer a NetEqualizer solution (NetEqualizer-VM) that runs on a virtual machine in 2016!

Our first offering, planned for early Q2 2016, will be targeted and tested for 100 Megabit links with 1,000 or fewer customers.

Note: There will always be reliability risks of sharing a hardware platform with other applications, hence we are starting with a relatively small footprint.

Also, in some areas of the world shipping our NetEqualizer hardware is complicated by complex trade policies, and tariffs. Thus, a Virtual offer will shorten the delivery time and reduce the mechanical overhead of hardware shipment.

Right now we are still working out all the details on NetEqualizer-VM pricing and what VMs will be supported.

If you are interested in learning more or participating in the Beta when available, please contact us!

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Start The New Year With A Tech Refresh!

Our NetEqualizer Tech Refreshes are a great way to start off the new year! These short, 30 minute WebEx sessions can provide great value to you and your team and help you get the most out of your NetEqualizer. Here are just a few of the benefits:

1) Learn about new releases – we are constantly evolving and enhancing our product. Tech Refreshes can help quickly get you up-to-speed on what is new!

2) Quickly educate a new employee – our Tech Refreshes make training a new staff member on NetEqualizer a breeze!

3) Ask questions and review your configuration – use this time to make sure that your unit is optimally configured, and ask any questions you’ve been curious about with your NetEqualizer!

Schedule your Tech Refresh today by clicking the link below.

Tech Refreshes are free to all customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS).

We also offer onsite training for you and your team in full day seminars – contact us for availability and pricing.

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8.4 Release Coming Soon!
User Interface Enhancements

In last month’s newsletter, we talked about changes coming to the regular NetEqualizer GUI. Over the next couple of months, we’ll highlight some of those changes here.

One of the changes we are most excited about is the ability to edit the configuration on the fly. See a screenshot of the Configure Hard Limits Interface below:

This makes even complex configuration changes and setup quick and easy! You’ll now be able to add, edit, and remove hard limits, pools, pool members, priority hosts, and more all from one place.

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As you can see, we are also changing the look and feel to match that of RTR. Check back next month for updates on more exciting changes!

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

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

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NetEqualizer DDoS Firewall In Action873a321d-b492-4f3f-9766-1b79c2231cc7

Just a reminder that our DDoS Firewall Option (DFW) is now installed at several locations, and is making a difference by heading off incoming DDoS attacks, even as you read this!

If you suspect you are being hit with sporadic or persistent DDoS attacks, the DDoS firewall option may be well worth the $3500 installation and consulting fee.

You can read more about DDoS on our blog here.

If you have any questions or would simply like to learn more, contact us!

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Best Of The Blog

Ten Ways To Make Your Life As An Internet Provider Easier

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

From ISPs and WISPs to networks in libraries, businesses, and universities, Internet use is on the rise. Yet, as the demand for Internet access continues to grow around the world, so do both the opportunities and challenges for service providers.

Just as quickly as your user-base grows, the obstacles facing providers begin to emerge.

From competition to unhappy customers, the venture that once seemed certain to succeed can quickly test the will of even the most battle-hardened and tech-savvy business owners and network administrators. However, for all types of Internet providers, there are ways to make the process smoother…

Photo Of The Month
IMG_2445
What is this mountain range?
Tell us and you could win a $25 gift card!
This picture was taken by a staff member during a recent trip. The first four (4) people to email sales@apconnections.net with the name of this mountain range will win a $25 gift card!
The answer for last month is: The Iowa State Court House in Des Moines, IA

NetEqualizer News: October 2015


October 2015

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we preview more Release 8.4 features, preview our NE5000 unit, ask you to Imagine If what future features would help you, and update you on our DDoS tool. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…
Art Reisman, CTO – APconnections

Cool temperatures, crisp weather all mean one thing – fall has arrived in the U.S.! I am enjoying the change of season, and love the cold weather. art

Speaking of temperature, this month we talk about our NE5000 – which will have extra fans to keep it cool as well as built-in failover. You can read more about the NE5000 below. We also update you on the upcoming 8.4 Release, planned to rollout this winter. We give you a chance to influence future releases, in our Imagine If section. Also, we continue to see our DDoS tools make a difference for our customers, you can read more below…

twitterAnd 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 art@apconnections.net. I would love to hear from you!

Release 8.4: Preview

We have been working hard on Release 8.4 and are excited to release the new features! Here are a couple of our favorites:

See an nslookup of a host directly below the IP address in RTR – This is a feature often requested by our customers with networks where an IP address translates to a hostname. For administrators with these networks, you’ll now be able to quickly see the hostname associated with an IP in every screen within RTR!

We’ve enhanced our messaging within RTR to help guide usage – This includes enhancements to error messages and status messages to make RTR even easier for you to use!

Look for more announcements on Release 8.4, currently planned for Dec/Jan timeframe, in upcoming newsletters.

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DDoS In The Field

One of the challenges when creating a security tool is validating that it works when it really matters.

We have heard, via anonymous sources, that many of the high-dollar solutions out there create bloated, rotting piles of information, whose only purpose is to look impressive due to their voluminous output. These tools cover everything, leaving the customer to decide what to do; which is usually nothing or some misguided task.

These non-specific tools are about as useful as a weather forecast that predicts everything all the time. Rain, snow, wind, hot, cold, for everyday of the year. If you predict everything you can’t be wrong?

On the other hand, the reports from the field coming in for our DDoS tool are:

Yes, it works.
Yes, it is simple to use.
Yes, it takes action when appropriate.

We have confirmation that our DDoS tool, combined with our shaping algorithms, has kept some very large institutions up and running while under very heavy, sophisticated DDoS attacks.

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The reason is simple:

We first look at the pattern of incoming packets in a normal situation. When the pattern reaches a watermark that is clearly beyond normal, we block those incoming circuits.

If needed, we can also take a softer approach, so the attacker is not aware we are throttling them. This is needed because in some situations outright blocking will alert the attacker you are on to them and cause the attacker to double-down.

When under DDoS attack you don’t need reports; you need immediate action. If you would like to discuss our solution in more detail feel free to contact us!

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NE5000: Almost Ready for Primetime!
& Exciting Test Lab Results

Just a few minor tweaks and presto! Our new NE5000 will be ready to go! The test lab box is humming along with 125,000 connections per second, and pushing a sustained 8.5 Gbps up and 8.5 Gbps down without a hiccup.

neteq

There is nothing else out there on the market with that kind of shaping power close to our price point. The Layer 7 and deep packet inspection technologies are just way too CPU intensive to keep up with our price/performance curve. So what has happened since we last talked about our NE5000?

1. We revamped the Fiber Cards offered with it to take advantage of multiple CPU’s handling and processing interrupts. This boosted our speed and processing to go near line speed on 10Gig without sacrificing any shaping features.
2. Even the search features in the GUI connection table are lightning quick – running a table size of 250,000 entries!
3. It still comes standard with a DUAL power supply.
4. Failover Internal Fiber ports – there is nothing external to wire.
5. And the best part is… we lowered the list price from $30,000 to $20,000!

Now, you don’t have to create a new budget to get the security of a solid bandwidth shaper at those line speeds. Contact us if you are interested in a new unit or upgrading.

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Imagine If…
What Would Help You?

As a networking tool vendor we cannot possibly figure out what is needed in the marketplace without the help of our customers! Many of our best features came directly from you!

Winter break is a time when we experiment with new exciting features and product ideas. If you get a chance, take a moment to think of that killer app that would help you, the IT administrator, with your job.

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Imagine If…

There are no rules here! Feel free to be creative! Imagine a robot that goes around and does your job. What are some of the things you would want that robot to do?

Should we adopt your idea, we would also be open to sharing licensing and revenue. Please contact us with your thoughts!

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Best Of The Blog

White Paper: A Simple Guide to Network Capacity Planning

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

Oh, how times have changed. I noticed this article from 2010 was getting some recent traffic in our blog. If you read it carefully you’ll see that our basic advice for capacity planning is still relevant. Only, I had to laugh at the specific examples and numbers we used as they are woefully out-of-date.

After many years of consulting and supporting the networking world with WAN optimization devices, we have sensed a lingering fear among Network Administrators who wonder if their capacity is within the normal range.

So the question remains:

How much bandwidth can you survive with before you impact morale or productivity?

The formal term we use to describe the number of users sharing a network link to the Internet is contention ratio. This term is defined as 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. If sharing the bandwidth on the trunk equally and simultaneously, each user could sustain a constant feed of 100 kbps, which is exactly 1/10 of the overall bandwidth…

Photo Of The Month
UNH
New England, United States
The six states that make up New England (Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island) are beautiful in the fall. The temperatures get a little cooler and the leaves start to change color. This picture was taken on the campus of the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH.

NetEqualizer News: September 2015


September 2015

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we spotlight the NetEqualizer Installation Process, walk through the updated Viewing Traffic section of our NetEqualizer Quick Start Guide, discuss our expanded DDoS Firewall, and show off our new NetEqualizer 8.3 User Guide. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…
Art Reisman, CTO – APconnections

We are almost officially in the fall season in the Northern Hemisphere, and I am enjoying harvesting all my tomatoes, and sadly, very few (and small) pumpkins! Some really good news, though, is that I think my fencing successfully thwarted a raccoon or skunk that was attacking my garden. art

Speaking of attacks, this month I have an update on our DDoS Monitor & Firewall modules. We also are ready to harvest updated 8.3 Documentation, which can educate you on our new features. And finally, we are excited to spotlight our Installation Process, which you can take advantage of for any new NetEqualizer or trade-in!

twitterAnd 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 art@apconnections.net. I would love to hear from you!

Spotlight on: The NetEqualizer Installation Process

We recently added a process for all new and trade-in NetEqualizer sales that we are very excited about – the NetEqualizer Installation Process!

This process assigns you an Installation Engineer at the time of sale or trade-in. The sole purpose of the installation engineer is to ensure that you get your NetEqualizer set up correctly and that any questions you might have are answered.

We can be as involved or hands-off as you would like us to be.

What we can do for you:95eddc45-a83d-4581-8768-51480d718587

Review a Diagnostic:
Send us a diagnostic of your recently set up NetEqualizer so that our Support Team can analyze it for misconfigurations or other problems.

Review Traffic Limit settings:60b7a936-f0fb-4b75-bd85-6f31fcb180a9
Many customers want to use Pools, Hard Limits, and Priority Hosts. We can help by reviewing your traffic limiting strategy and providing best practice recommendations.

Review your install over a WebEx:
We can schedule a time to go over your system using the WebEx screen-sharing utility. During this time we can look at live traffic, review settings, or answer any other questions that might come up.a66e4c89-c606-4011-96f7-b74e85d5b0e9

Connect remotely to your NetEqualizer:
If your NetEqualizer is available remotely, we would be happy to log in and do any required support tasks or settings adjustments.

Answer questions via phone or email:
If you just have a quick question regarding our product, feel free to email our Support Team or your Installation Engineer any time!

How you benefit:

There are many benefits that this service provides to both technical and non-technical customers. For example:

  • You can proactively prevent problems by letting us review your setup for potential issues.
  • You can optimize your NetEqualizer for your network so that your users have a great experience online. Every environment is different and we can help with the most efficient settings.
  • You can learn more about our product, technology, and features. This will allow you to more effectively administer the device.

The NetEqualizer Installation Process is free to anyone who purchases a new NetEqualizer or trades in an old unit for a new one.

What if I just need to learn about the latest NetEqualizer releases?

You need a Tech Refresh! All customers that have valid NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS) are eligible for additional training and help, via our Technical Refresh. Contact our Support Team to schedule a Tech Refresh today.

To find out more about our new Installation Process, contact us!

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8.3 Quick Start Guide –
Viewing Traffic

Earlier this month, we enhanced our Quick Start Guide to talk in more detail about how to view traffic going through the NetEqualizer using our reporting tool (Dynamic RTR).bb536892-85a9-4e08-9647-4103f03ef363

Here is a preview of what we added to the Quick Start Guide. To check out all the changes, see the full version of the guide here (starting on page 12).

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View Current Traffic
Use the Active Connections menu and sub-menus to look at what is happening on the NetEqualizer right now.

Seeing traffic successfully pass through your device after the initial set up is a
great sign things are working properly!

View Historical Traffic
But, once that is up and running, you’ll want to set up reporting so that you can see what’s been happening on your network historically.

In order to get the most from the NetEqualizer reporting tool, you’ll want to follow these steps:

1) Start RTR
This is required for tracking data historically.

2) Add IPs to Track
InRTR, add IP addresses you want to save traffic history for to Manage Traffic History -> Manage Tracked IPs. Most of the time, this will be all your local subnets.

3) View History
Use the Traffic History menu and sub-menus to look at what has happened on the NetEqualizer in the past.

If you’d like a Tech Refresh to walk through any of the reporting features, including the enhanced ability to view traffic, and are current on NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS), contact us today!

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DDoS Firewall Expanded –
Notes from the Field

As a special bonus in our DDoS Firewall, we found out during implementation that we can also program our firewall scripts to identify an internal virus or hijacked computer.

If you are interested in more visibility in detecting an outside attack or virus-laden computer within your network, feel free to contact us for a quick consulting session, and we’ll see if we can customize a firewall and notification system for you!

The DDoS Firewall is an add-on module to the NetEqualizer. Please contact us to learn about pricing for your environment.

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8.3 User Guide Now Available!

We have talked a lot in past newsletters about the 8.3 Release and all the new and exciting features we’ve added.

Starting today, all of those new features are now described in detail in our 8.3 User Guide! This document is a great resource for ensuring RTR is set up correctly and also to provide assistance in answering any questions you might have.

Learn more about these exciting new features:

1) Top Talkers Report – this has been one of the most requested graphs and was a popular feature of our previous reporting tool, ntop. You can use this feature to see which IP addresses have used the most bandwidth over time.

toptalkers

2) General Penalty Report – we are bringing this one back from the first version of RTR! You can see both IPs that are currently being penalized, as well as a historical count of penalties that have occurred over time.

penalties

3) Connection Count Report – NetEqualizer controls P2P traffic by using connection count limits on IP addresses. However, figuring out what limit to set for your network depends on how it’s used. You can use the new Connection Count Report to see how many connections individual IP addresses have, and thus set your connection limit to the appropriate level.

connectioncounts

You can read more about all of the features of the 8.3 Release here, in our updated User Guide. If you have any questions, contact us!

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Best Of The Blog

Death to Deep Packet Inspection?

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on how I was able to watch YouTube while on a United flight, bypassing their layer 7 filtering techniques. Following up today, I was not surprised to see a few other articles on the subject popping up recently…

Photo Of The Month
Bobcat Caught on Wildlife Cam
The bobcat is a cat which first appeared nearly 1.8 million years ago. Containing 12 subspecies, it ranges from southern Canada to central Mexico – including much of the United States. This one was recently captured on a staff member’s wildlife camera.

NetEqualizer News: August 2015


August 2015

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we preview our 8.4 Winter Release plans, highlight several recent testimonials from K-12 schools, talk about a DDoS attack thwarted by NetEqualizer, announce our new social media presence on Twitter, and discuss Demo Site updates. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…
Art Reisman, CTO – APconnections

It is hard to believe it, but summer is almost over – at least for all the students going back to school or college in late August here in the U.S.! artIn honor of back-to-school, this month we share some of our latest testimonials from schools – see what they are saying about the NetEqualizer! We also highlight a real-life experience of how we helped one of our school customers catch a DDoS botnet. And, if you want to school yourself in something new, you can view our latest 8.3 reports, now available on our Demo Site.

And although it is still warm, we are starting to plan for winter – read about our Winter Release plans below, and let us know what you think!

twitterWe are excited to announce that NetEqualizer is 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 art@apconnections.net. I would love to hear from you!

NetEqualizer is now on Twitter!

We are excited to announce that NetEqualizer has joined Twitter!twitter

If you would like to follow us, our handle is @NetEqualizer.

Just like our popular NetEqualizer News blog, @NetEqualizer will be geared toward topics around network optimization and Internet security.

We will tweet out insights on subjects from the latest in network security, traffic shaping, QoS, and net neutrality, as well as commentary on the state of Internet politics.

If this sounds interesting to you, follow us and share our account with others!


Let’s Go Back to School!
What K-12 schools are saying about NetEqualizer

Did you know NetEqualizer is a K-12 School Top 100 Product? K-12 school IT administrators love NetEqualizer! So much so that many have agreed to provide testimonials for us to post on our website.

Here are some of the recent ones we added:

The Lawrenceville School

lawrenceville

“We’ve been a NetEqualizer customer for several years and I want you to know how pleased we are with it. Unlike our previous bandwidth management product which required constant tending and updates, the NetEqualizer works exactly as advertised: plug it in and forget it. Our Internet connections run smoothly regardless of the kind or amount of traffic thrown at it. Thanks again!”

Mark Costello – Network Engineer

Miss Hall’s School

misshalls

“We have been extremely happy with our NetEqualizer. Gone are the bottlenecks that used to occur when all of our students were on the Internet at the same time. The NetEqualizer handles all of the bandwidth management, keeping our users happy, and has been completely hassle-free for our admins.”

Matt Pocock – Director of Technology

The Athenian School

athenian

“NetEqualizer is one of very few products that lives up to its promise. After initial configuration it simply does manage traffic in defined pools/objects. There is no complex application based rules or management required. It is a fantastic product that makes the life of a school network manager easier.”

Matt Binder – Director of Information Systems

Contact us if you would like your quote added to our testimonials page – even if you are not in the education space! We love hearing from all our customers about how we’ve helped them control congestion on their networks.

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NetEqualizer Demo Site Has 8.3 Reporting
Updated with 8.3 Reporting

The NetEqualizer Demo Site now has the latest release (8.3) applied! This means that all of the exciting new features we’ve been discussing in our newsletter over the last few months are available to see for both new and existing customers.pdg

If you’d like to check out the new 8.3 features for yourself, you can do so here.

We’ve also updated our Product Demo Guide to reflect some of the changes we’ve made to the site.

If you have any questions about the latest release or would like to schedule a Technical Refresh to go over the new features, please feel free to contact us!

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DDoS Gets Real

Think DDoS attacks only happen to other organizations? Sadly, no one is immune. The NetEqualizer is often placed in a unique position in a network such that it can provide real-time intelligence as to whether or not a DDoS attack is occurring. See recent articles regarding DDoS in our blog.

We’ve already heard stories from customers about how they’ve used the NetEqualizer to thwart DDoS attacks but we’ve never actually witnessed one in person – until last week. During a Tech Refresh call with one of our K-12 customers, the training engineer noticed abnormal traffic initiated from the outside to one of the school’s database servers. The IP looked suspicious and when geolocated, turned out to be from Hong Kong. The engineer then looked up the IP address in the active connections table and discovered it was hammering port 22 (SSH). This could have been a multitude of things including the beginning of a DDoS attack or a brute force attempt at connecting to the server. The school administrator immediately took action and blocked the IP.

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While the NetEqualizer is excellent and controlling bandwidth congestion, don’t forget that its data can also be helpful in diagnosing other network-related issues, including DDoS!

See our recent blog article about discovering this attack, here.

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8.4 Winter Release Plans

We are excited to announce that our Winter Release (8.4) is underway! 8.4 is targeted for the November through January 2016 timeframe

This release will focus on several key areas in the NetEqualizer GUI: Pool Enhancements, DDoS Alerts, and Built-in Configuration & Scripts, which we will discuss below.

Pool Enhancements
Many of you are familiar with our concept of shared limits, which we call “Pools.” Pools are a great way to allocate bandwidth (not reserved) to a group of IPs or subnets. Pools are used by many NetEqualizer customers who need to provide bandwidth to groups of users on their networks.

We find that Pools align with various concepts for different customer types:

1) Access Points (Internet Providers)
2) Buildings (Colleges or Schools)
3) Groups (Libraries – patrons/staff, Schools – staff/students/wireless guests)

As Pools have grown in popularity over the years, we now are focusing on making them easy to use. To do this we are going to add the ability to name your pools (so that you can better keep track of them), view subnets within your pools (so that you can better see which pool a user belongs to), and the ability to edit pools on the fly (so that you no longer have to remove and re-add them when you need to make a change).

DDoS Alerts
Adding to our existing email alert capability, we are now going to build in alerts for suspected DDoS traffic picked up by our DDoS Monitor. While checking the DDoS periodically will still be important, the alerts will give you piece of mind that your network is always being monitored for abnormal traffic.

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For an example of why this is important, see the article titled “DDoS Gets Real” in this month’s newsletter.

Built-in Configuration & Scripts
Another feature of 8.4 will be the incorporation of some of our most popular custom configuration scripts that historically have only been available via our online help or our support team.

We will now have interfaces for setting up HTTPS on your NetEqualizer as well as the ability to have time-of-day configurations (configurations that change based on different needs throughout the day).

The goal with these features is to reduce work for customers, streamline workflow, and enhance our user interface with some of our most popular scripts that are not yet represented via the GUI.

If you have an idea for a GUI enhancement aligned with Pools, DDoS or Built-in Configuration & Scripts that you would like to be considered for 8.4, please let us know!

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These features are free to all customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support. If you are not current with NSS, contact us today!


Best Of The Blog

How Does Your ISP Actually Enforce Your Internet Speed?

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

Every once in a while I’ll post something on Reddit just to see the response. A couple of weeks ago I posted a link to this article and it generated about 3,000 hits over the course of a day.

This was even after I got a nasty note from the moderator saying I posted it in the wrong place. It was kind of ironic that 3,000 people were interested, maybe they click on anything that blinks?

I don’t know. Many of these articles you see on our blog are the result of technical conversations with customers. I’ll spend a good deal of mental energy explaining a concept and when appropriate I’ll take my notes and turn into an information article. Hence this blog post was born, I never imagined it would have such broad appeal.

Have you ever wondered how your ISP manages to control the speed of your connection? If so, you might find the following article enlightening. Below, we’ll discuss the various trade-offs used to control and break out bandwidth rate limits and the associated side effects of using those techniques.

Dropping Packets (Cisco term “traffic policing”)

One of the simplest methods for a bandwidth controller to enforce a rate cap is by dropping packets. When using the packet-dropping method, the bandwidth controlling device will count the total number of bytes that cross a link during a second. If the target rate is exceeded during any single second, the bandwidth controller will drop packets for the remainder of that second. For example, if the bandwidth limit is 1 megabit, and the bandwidth controller counts 1 million bits gone by in 1/2 a second, it will then drop packets for the remainder of the second. The counter will then reset for the next second. From most evidence we have observed, rate caps enforced by many ISPs use the drop packet method, as it is the least expensive method supported on most basic routers…

Photo Of The Month
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North Arapaho Peak

North Arapaho Peak is the king of the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area in the Rocky Mountains just west of our home near Boulder, CO. Not only is it the tallest in the area (13,508 ft), it is also the most difficult non-technical climb.

The route involves an easy hike up to the summit of South Arapaho Peak – and the cruxes of the climb are five unique points along the ridge that connects the two mountains. The 0.75 mile ridge takes nearly an hour to complete in one direction and has significant exposure to falling below. This picture is from the ridge, looking down on Arapaho Glacier – a protected area that serves as the watershed for the City of Boulder.

NetEqualizer News: July 2015


July 2015

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we highlight exciting 8.3 Release features, talk about our experience at edAccess’s Vendor Day, encourage you to sign up for a Tech Refresh, spotlight our Hotel & Resorts offering, and update you on the NetEqualizer DDoS monitoring and prevention tool. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…
Art Reisman, CTO – APconnections

Now that summer arthas officially arrived, we are ready for the heat in Colorado. It has been unusually rainy and cloudy here in July so far, and I would like more sunshine please!

Speaking of heat, this month we turn the heat up on several of our new features in 8.3, which are spotlighted below. 8.3 has been G/A since early June, in case you missed it. We also want you to take a Summer Course, no tests involved, and update you on Art’s latest visit back to school, namely the edAccess Conference. And finally, if you need relief from the heat of potential DDoS attacks, you have come to the right place. Our DDoS Monitor and Firewall can help! Read more below.

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

Spotlight: 8.3 Release Hot New Features

8.3 has been G/A since early June, and we have been receiving a lot of positive feedback on the new RTR reports. If you have not yet requested 8.3, what are you waiting for? Click here to request an upgrade to 8.3 from our support team.

This month, we are highlighting two features available in 8.3 – Historical and Active Penalty Tracking. We also talk our activated Management Port, a feature available on all new NetEqualizers!

One of the best features in the 8.3 release is increased visibility into how your NetEqualizer is penalizing traffic. We’ve added interfaces to the 8.3 release that allow you to see both the number of penalties enforced on your network historically, as well as all of the current connections that are being penalized.

Historical Penalty Tracking

The General Penalty Reports page under the Traffic History menu shows the number of penalties enforced on your network at a given point in time. This allows you to see when connections on your network were being Equalized.

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Active Penalty Tracking

The View Active Penalties page under the Active Connections menu shows which connections are currently being Equalized along with their current state (New, Increased, or Decreased). This allows you to diagnose any performance issues and also gives you a real time look at how the penalties are being enforced and who they are being enforced on.

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Management Port Enabled by Default on all NEW NetEqualizers

We strive to make setting up the NetEqualizer as simple as possible. In this spirit, last year we moved all new NetEqualizers to a four port model, and started using colored port plugs to help our customers identify the ports. Two ports (eth0 and eth1) are used for network traffic, a 3rd port (eth2) is used as a management port, and the 4th port is a spare. We use four colors: 1) blue (WAN), 2) orange (LAN), 3) clear (Management Port) and 4) black (unused).

Prior to 8.3, only a subset of our customers used the Management Port, typically those on VLANs. As of 8.3, we standardized everything so that our NetEqualizer code automatically enables the Management Port, and ALL customers will use this to configure new NetEqualizers. While not a huge change, we think this will make setup just a little bit easier for everyone.

Please note that this feature is only available on new NetEqualizers.

You can read more about all of the features of the 8.3 Release here in the 8.3 Software Update. If you would like to upgrade to 8.3, just click on the button below to send a request to Support.

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These features are free to all customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support. If you are not current with NSS, contact us today!


We Had a Blast at edAccess!

Art recently joined the edAccess Conference in Mercersberg, PA on June 24th for Vendor Day. It was a great event and was well-attended by small schools and colleges (members come from schools with an FTE of under 1,000 students).edaccess

Art got to visit with quite a few current NetEqualizer customers, as you can see in the picture below:

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Art is on the left of the picture and is shown along with representatives from Williston Northampton School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Blair Academy, Mt. St. Mary Academy, Merceyhurst University, Peddie School, and Groton School.

Art would like to personally thank everyone for a great event…

I’d like to thank John Johnson from Williston Northampton School, Rainelle Dixon from Mercersberg Academy and the entire edAccess steering committee for being such wonderful hosts to the vendors. Mercersburg is such a lovely campus and my drive through central Pennsylvania was also relaxing and fun, I took some time on my return stopping at the various waysides, and even took in a game, featuring the Single A Crosscutters of Williamsport.

Thanks Again!

To learn more about NetEqualizer and how we help educational institutions of all sizes, click below.

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Take a Summer Course! Sign Up for a Tech Refresh

Remember those days? If you ever took a summer course, you know that the key was to keep it short, so that you could get back outside. Our NetEqualizer Technical Refresh is short! – only a 30 minute discussion with you and your fellow team members to help get caught up on new NetEqualizer functionality or answer any other questions you have.

The Tech Refresh is great for both new and longtime customers because we are constantly enhancing our product to give you the most value in managing and shaping bandwidth.

To schedule your Tech Refresh, contact us today!

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Tech Refreshes are free to all customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support. If you are not current with NSS, contact us today!


Spotlight: GX2 – NetEqualizer Hotel & Resort Industry Wi-Fi Partner

NetEqualizer’s Wi-Fi management partner for the hotel and resort industry, GX2 (formerly Global Gossip), recently attended the HITEC 2015 Conference in Austin, Texas, and brought along the NetEqualizer. According to their website, HITEC is the world’s largest hospitality conference.hmsio

Visitors to GX2’s booth and luncheon were able to review the NetEqualizer offering, and also walk away with some trade show bling (a foam NetEqualizer soccer ball!).

Here is a screenshot of the GX2 application used in the managed Wi-Fi service offering:

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As we have reported here in the past, GX2 utilizes the NetEqualizer as part of their Wi-Fi offering supporting our National Parks. So, if you have a summer vacation planned at Yellowstone, Mammoth, Mount Rushmore, Zion, Crater Lake, or the Grand Canyon, to name a few, chances are you are experiencing the benefits of NetEqualizer’s traffic shaping.

If you are already on our technology, you have part of the solution already in place. If you have ever wanted to learn more about a managed service Wi-Fi solution for the Hotel & Resort industry, you can read about our joint offering (HMSIO).

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NetEqualizer DDoS Tool Gaining Momentum

We keep getting reports of ongoing Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks from our customers, and are glad to hear the NetEqualizer is helping in many cases. If you are interested in chatting about using the NetEqualizer as a DDoS prevention tool please contact us to set up a time to chat.

Note: We do have a consulting charge for custom activation of firewall rules, but the initial consult is free.

The 8.3 Release includes our DDoS Monitor at no extra charge! In addition, our new DDoS Firewall tool (DFW) can be purchased as an add-on module for an additional fee.

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The new DDoS Monitor shows you some basic metrics on the outside intrusion hit rate into your network. It can be used to spot anomalies which would indicate a likely DDoS attack in progress. The DDoS Firewall tools helps to actually thwart the attack.

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Best Of The Blog

Is Your Bandwidth Controller Obsolete Technology?

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

Although not free yet, bandwidth contracts have been dropping in cost faster than a bad stock during a recession. With cheaper bandwidth costs, the question often arises on whether or not an enterprise can do without their trusty bandwidth controller.

Below, we have compiled a list of factors that will determine whether or not Bandwidth Controllers stick around for a while, or go the route of the analog modem, a relic of when people received their Internet from AOL and dial up…

Photo Of The Month
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Cinque Terre, Italy
This picture was taken by one of our staff while walking the trail that connects the five towns of the Cinque Terre on the coast of Italy. These towns are built into the sides of the tall hills that meet the sea. The trek between each town is a manageable 2 miles and provides picturesque views of the water and surrounding forests.

NetEqualizer News: June 2015


June 2015

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we announce the 8.3 Release – Expanded RTR, introduce our End of Spring Sale, update you on our DDoS monitoring and prevention technology, and preview our upcoming seminars and conferences. As always, feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested in NetEqualizer News.

A message from Art…
Art Reisman, CTO – APconnections

Spring has been interesting in Colorado this year – artif you like to set records for the most rain in 20 years, that is! Luckily, one of my favorite TV channels is The Weather Channel, so I have been enjoying all the storms… With spring coming to an end soon, I look forward to warmer summer weather.

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

8.3 Release is G/A

We are very excited to announce that our 8.3 Release – Expanded RTR is now generally available!

The beta tests for the 8.3 Release have gone very well, and we are ready to release the new reporting features to everyone! Here is a comment from one of our beta customers:

“One of the things that really got my attention on the new 8.3 Release was the ability to see, in real-time, the traffic on all my subnets on one screen. I simply created a pool for all the subnets in my network, and I can instantly see the saturation in the dynamic bar charts that update once a second. I know instantly which segments are saturated by glancing at my monitor screen.”

This release expands our current reporting features to include even more useful information, graphs, and tables. Here are just a few of the new additions you’ll find in the 8.3 Release:

1) Top Talkers Report – this has been one of the most requested graphs and was a popular feature of our previous reporting tool, ntop. You can use this feature to see which IP addresses have used the most bandwidth over time.

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2) General Penalty Report – we are bringing this one back from the first version of RTR! You can see both IPs that are currently being penalized, as well as a historical count of penalties that have occurred over time.

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3) Connection Count Report – NetEqualizer controls P2P traffic by using connection count limits on IP addresses. However, figuring out what limit to set for your network depends on how it’s used. You can use the new Connection Count Report to see how many connections individual IP addresses have, and thus set your connection limit to the appropriate level.

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You can read more about all of the features of the 8.3 Release here in the 8.3 Software Update. If you would like to upgrade to 8.3, just click on the button below to send a request to Support.

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These features are free to all customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support. If you are not current with NSS, contact us today!


Spring for a Lease in our End of Spring Sale

Our Leasing Program continues to be a popular choice for customers that want to use a NetEqualizer with no long-term leasecommitment, and also want to spread out their costs over each month instead of incurring one upfront expense. If you have ever considered leasing a NetEqualizer, now is the time!

To celebrate two years of the NetEqualizer Leasing Program, all new NetEqualizer Leases started before August 31st, 2015 will get 50% off the 1st month fee.

This offer is subject to availability, and customers must qualify to participate in our Leasing Program.

We also are excited to announce that we have added fiber connectivity to our leasing program, in both the 1Gbps and 10Gbps levels. And, to provide more flexibility in financing for our larger customers, we are now offering an Enterprise-Level Lease, for customers with more than 10,000 end users.

If you are interested in learning more, you can read the details of our Leasing Program here, or contact us below.

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DDoS Update

The 8.3 Release also includes our recent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Monitor at no extra charge! In addition, our new DDoS Firewall tool (DFW) can be purchased as an add-on module for an additional fee.

Here are some tips from our security experts for how to handle DDoS attacks, or stop them in the first place:
• Lock out unexpected geographies – Most businesses do not need global availability for their websites.
• If an attack occurs, look for fraud – Sometimes DDoS attacks can be smokescreens for other breaches.
• Route traffic through a system like CloudFlare – Their vast network can help thwart bandwidth overloads.
• Have a plan – Build DDoS into your Disaster Recovery Plan, and know who to call when an attack occurs.

The NetEqualizer can help you have a plan.

The new DDoS Monitor, which comes standard, shows you some basic metrics on the outside intrusion hit rate into your network. It can be used to spot anomalies which would indicate a likely DDoS attack in progress.

See our detailed blog article on the subject for how this technology works. Here is a screenshot of the DDoS Monitor dashboard:

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If you decide you need something more proactive to mitigate a DDoS attack, we have a solution for you! For a one time charge of $3,500, which includes one hour of training and consulting, we install our DDoS Firewall (DFW) feature, which can be configured to block standard DDoS attacks.

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NetEqualizer Tech Seminars and Conferences

Our CTO, Art Reisman, will be on-site at Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania during edACCESS Vendor Day, June 24th.edaccess

If you have ever been curious about the NetEqualizer, and want to learn more, stop by to talk to Art. We also look forward to visiting with customers as well, so please come by and say hello. You might even get some free NetEqualizer bling from Art!

If you cannot attend the edACCESS conference, but are in the area of South Central Pennsylvania, and would like to meet with Art, email him at:

art@apconnections.net

Art will be in the area for a few days after the conference as well.

How do you tell if edACCESS is right for you? Their mission is to provide support and networking for information technology staff at secondary schools and small colleges. Most edACCESS members come from schools with an FTE of under 1,000 students. So, if that sounds like you, consider attending the 2015 edACCESS Conference.

If you have never been to an edACCESS Conference, you might not know that they are purposely run small (100 attendees maximum) and that they use the peer conference mode.

Here is what they say on the edACCESS website:

“Each edACCESS conference is small, responsive, and participant-driven. Small, because edACCESS conferences are limited to one hundred attendees. Responsive, because half the conference is spent discussing topics chosen by attendees through a careful first-day process. Participant-driven, because we believe that, collectively, we are the experts.”

We hope to see you there!

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Best Of The Blog

The Facts and Myths of Network Latency

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

There are many good references that explain how some applications such as VoIP are sensitive to network latency, but there is also some confusion as to what latency actually is as well as perhaps some misinformation about the causes.

In the article below, we’ll separate the facts from the myths and also provide some practical analogies to help paint a clear picture of latency and what may be behind it…

Photo Of The Month
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Brighton Beach, UK
This picture was taken by one of our staff on Brighton Beach, UK during our recent Tech Seminar. Brighton Beach features Brighton Pier, which is a pleasure pier that opened in 1899. Here, the ride operators are shown taking a break from work.
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