NetEqualizer News: December 2014


December 2014

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we discuss our recent K-12 Schools award, introduce IPv6 shaping for NetEqualizer, and remind everyone of 2015 pricing changes. 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

As we close out 2014, I smile as I think of what this year has taught me, both professionally and art_smallpersonally. Professionally, I now know that IPv6 really will be a reality in 2015, as you will read more about below. I have also learned that sometimes surprises are good – as we share with you that we received an unanticipated (but very welcome!) award from District Administration (a K-12 Schools publication) this month.

And personally, I learned that at my age I need to make sure to hydrate before a long run!

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!

We Are Honored! NetEqualizer is a K-12 School Top 100 Product in 2014

We have always known that the NetEqualizer is great (you have too!), but it is wonderful when it is validated by an independent publication. Recently we learned that we were honored in the December 2014 edition of District Administration, a publication geared to K-12 School leadership.

NetEqualizer made the 2014 list of Top 100 Products for K-12 Schools! DA_top100_2014v2

The December 2014 Cover Story is the annual Top 100 Products, viewable in the District Administration online edition. According to the article, there were 2,400 unique nominations for the Top 100 this year, up from 1,800 in 2013. Winners were selected by the editorial board based on quality and quantity of the testimonials submitted from readers.

So, a big THANK YOU to the readers that submitted us for inclusion in the Top 100! We would not have received this honor without you. We truly appreciate you taking the time to say nice things about us, especially as we rely heavily on word of mouth to get our story out to our customers. If you would like to see our listing, we are on the bottom of page 52.

As we have not advertised in this publication in the past, and did not solicit inclusion for this award in any way, this took us completely (and happily) by surprise.

As Lauren Williams of District Administration mentions in her introduction to the winners, “This annual award alerts superintendents and other senior school leaders to the best products their colleagues around the country are using to help their districts excel.”

If you have not seen the winners, take a look, you might find a product that is a good fit for your K-12 School.


2015 Pricing Coming Soon

As we close out 2014, just a reminder that we are still writing quotes using our 2014 pricing, and the quotes are good for 90 days. If you are thinking of trading-in your current NetEqualizer, upgrading your license level, or getting another NetEqualizer, now is a good time to get a quote from us.

We will be using 2014 pricing through January, and all current quotes using the pricing will be honored for 90 days from the date the quote was originally given.

Look for a preview of our 2015 Pricing in our January Newsletter. Our 2015 Pricing will be effective February 1st, 2015.


Ready or Not, Here Comes IPv6!

Just this past month, we have seen several customers begin to see 10% or more IPV6 traffic on their networks when they turned on their IPv4/IPv6 dual stack.

As you may know, today IPv6 traffic is viewable under the Management & Reporting menus. To see any IPv6 traffic that you have on your network, select View Current Activity -> View Active Connections -> Active IPv6 Connections.

However, as IPv6 has historically been a small percentage of overall network traffic, we have not focused our engineering resources to-date on adding IPv6 shaping.

That is about to change! To address the increase in IPv6 traffic, we plan on putting out a winter release with a dual stack of our own. Our goal is to have code ready for an initial beta test in early February.

Our engineering team has come up with a cool way to handle dual address schemes. The NetEqualizer dual stack will map IPv6 addresses into unused IPv4 addresses – so that you will be able to track, shape, and equalize IPv6 on a standard NetEqualizer.

If you are interested in hearing more, please contact us:

sales@apconnections.net
-or-
303-997-1300


Best Of The Blog

Case Study: A Simple Solution to Relieve Congestion on Your MPLS Network

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

We recently installed a NetEqualizer for a national healthcare company connecting hundreds of hospitals and clinics to a central location. We were able to solve all their congestion issues on their MPLS network, while saving them tens of thousands of dollars over other solutions. The centralized NetEqualizer solution is so elegant and simple that large IT departments, who are often wined and dined by vendors with expensive WAN optimization solutions, have hard time believing that we can solve their WAN issues at a fraction of the cost. In the coming weeks, we will release a detailed case study featuring this customer.

For now, here is the original blog article that explains our spoke and hub technology…

The problem:
A customer has a hub and spoke MPLS network where remote sites get their public Internet and corporate data by coming in on a spoke to a central site. Although the network at the host site has plenty of bandwidth, the spokes have a fixed allocation over the MPLS and are experiencing contention issues (e.g. slow response times to corporate sales data, etc.)…

Photo Of The Month
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Landon Donovan
Landon Donovan is widely considered to be the best soccer player to ever come out of the United States. He has played for multiple national and international clubs. On August 7, 2014, Donovan announced that he would be retiring at the end of the 2014 Major League Soccer season; the season ended with the Galaxy winning their fourth MLS Cup of the Donovan era on Sunday December 7, 2014. This photo was taken by one of our staff members at a game last summer.

Case Study: A Simple Solution to Relieve Congestion on Your MPLS Network


Summary: In the last few months, we have set up several NetEqualizer systems on hub and spoke MPLS networks. Our solution is very cost effective because it differs from many TOS/Compression-based WAN optimization products that require multiple pieces of hardware.  Normally, for WAN optimization, a device is placed at the HUB and a partner device is placed at each remote location. With the NetEqualizer technology, we have been able to simply and elegantly solve contention issues with a single device at the central hub.

The problem:

A customer has a hub and spoke MPLS network where remote sites get their public Internet and corporate data by coming in on a spoke to a central site.  Although the network at the host site has plenty of bandwidth, the spokes have a fixed allocation over the MPLS and are experiencing contention issues (e.g. slow response times to corporate sales data, etc.).

The solution:

By placing a NetEqualizer at a central location, so that all the remote spokes come in through the NetEqualizer, we are able to sense when a remote spoke has reached its contention level. We then perform prioritization on all the competing applications and user streams coming in over the congested link.

Why it works:

QoS and priority is really quite simple: it is always the case where some large selfish application is dominating a shared link. The NetEqualizer is able to spot these selfish applications and scale them back using a technique called Equalizing. QoS and priority are just a matter of taking away bandwidth from somebody else. See our related article: QOS is a matter of sacrifice.

Okay, but how does it really work?

How does NetEqualizer solve the congested MPLS link issue?

The NetEqualizer solution, which is completely compatible with MPLS, works by taking advantage of the natural inclination of applications to back off when artificially restrained. We’ll get back to this key point in a moment.

NetEqualizer will adjust selfish application streams by adding latency, forcing them to back off and allow potentially starved data applications to establish communications – thus eliminating any disruption.

Once you have determined the peak capacity of an MPLS spoke (if you don’t know for sure it can be determined empirically through busy hour observation), you then tell the centralized NetEqualizer the throughput of the spoke through its defined subnet range or VLAN identification tag. This tells the NetEqualizer to kick into gear when that upper limit on the spoke is reached.

Once configured, the NetEqualizer constantly (every second) measures the total aggregate bandwidth throughput traversing every spoke on your network. If it senses the upper limit is being reached, NetEqualizer will then isolate the dominating flows and encourage them to back off.

Each connection between a user on your network and the Internet constitutes a traffic flow. Flows vary widely from short dynamic bursts, which occur, for example, when searching a small Web site, to large persistent flows, as when performing peer-to-peer file sharing or downloading a large file.

By keeping track of every flow going through each MPLS spoke, the NetEqualizer can make a determination of which ones are getting an unequal share of bandwidth and thus crowding out flows from weaker applications.

NetEqualizer determines detrimental flows from normal ones by taking the following questions into consideration:

  1. How persistent is the flow?
  2. How many active flows are there?
  3. How long has the flow been active?
  4. How much total congestion is currently on the link?
  5. How much bandwidth is the flow using relative to the link size?

Once the answers to these questions are known, NetEqualizer will adjust offending flows by adding latency, forcing them to back off and allow potentially starved applications to establish communications – thus eliminating any disruption. Selfish Applications with more aggressive bandwidth needs will be throttled back during peak contention. This is done automatically by the NetEqualizer, without requiring any additional programming by administrators.

The key to making this happen over an MPLS link relies on the fact that if you slow a down a selfish application it will back off. This can be done via the NetEqualizer without any changes to the topology of your MPLS network, since the throttling is done independent of the network.

Questions and Answers

How do you know congestion is caused by a heavy stream?

We have years of experience optimizing networks with this technology. It is safe to say that on any congested network, roughly five percent of users are responsible for 80 percent of Internet traffic. This seems to be a law of Internet usage.2

Can certain applications be given priority?

NetEqualizer can give priority by IP address, for video streams, and in its default mode it naturally gives priority to VoIP, thus addressing a common need for commercial operators.

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2Randy Barrett, “Putting the Squeeze on Internet Hogs: How Operators Deal with Their Greediest Users.” Multichannel News. 7 Mar. 2007. Retrieved 1 Aug. 2007 http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6439454.html

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