Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we discuss AD integration into NetEqualizer, our upcoming Educause conference, the new NetEqualizer Dashboard feature, and the history of P2P blocking. 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
In February, our thoughts turn to love and friendship. Valentine’s Day is coming up this week, a great day to celebrate those in your life that you love. So this month we celebrate you, our customers!
This Newsletter is our valentine to you! As candy is fattening, we are instead fattening up your mind. Our gifts to you include an opportunity to participate in our AD Beta Test, a chance to learn more about the history of P2P, and the opportunity to pick up some bling at Educause!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
In This Issue:
:: AD Integration Update and Beta Testing
AD Integration Update and Beta Testing
We are well underway with beta testing our new and exciting NetEqualizer feature – Active Directory integration. The feature is being broken down into two release phases:
In the first phase, we’ll allow administrators to see the Active Directory username associated with the IP Address in the connection table (assuming the user used Active Directory to authenticate). We’ll also allow you to sort the table by username and IP for quick analysis of a specific username.
This screenshot shows how usernames will be displayed in the connection table:
In the second phase, which will be released in the summer of 2013, we’ll allow administrators to set rate limits by username as well as give priority to certain users. This way, users don’t have to be part of a certain subnet to gain priority access.
If your organization uses Active Directory for user authentication, you have had a NetEqualizer for at least one year, and you’d be willing to assist us in our testing, let us know by sending an email to:
Stay tuned to NetEqualizer News for more updates and GA release details!
And get a cool NetEqualizer pen!
We are conducting a Poster Session on Wednesday, 2/13 at the West/Southwest Educause Regional Conference in Austin, Texas.
If you are at the conference, stop by to see us! If you do, and mention this Newsletter, we will give you a fabulous NetEqualizer pen!
Here is our abstract for the conference:
Maximizing Your Internet Resource: Why Behavior-Based QoS Is the Future of Bandwidth Shaping
Higher education is tasked to do more with less, particularly when managing a scarce resource like bandwidth. Behavior-based QoS, an affordable bandwidth shaping technology, is coming to the forefront. It’s also gaining mindshare as a superior bandwidth shaping technology, as encrypted traffic thwarts deep packet inspection. This poster will delve into the differences between DPI and behavior-based QoS, explaining where each is best suited for networks. Learn how to reduce P2P and HEOA/RIAA requests on your campus and see behavior-based QoS in action.
We will offer a live online demonstration of our affordable NetEqualizer:
We hope to see you there!
Don’t Forget to Upgrade to 6.0!
With a brief tutorial on our Dashboard
If you have not already upgraded your NetEqualizer to Software Update 6.0, now is the perfect time! We have discussed the new upgrade in depth in previous newsletters and blog posts, so this month we thought we’d show you how to take advantage of our new Dashboard features!
If you have not explored it, here is what you can expect to see:
– You can immediately tell which key processes are running, through our green (on)/red (off) icons. This helps you to make sure that everything is running as expected.
Remember, new software updates (including all the features described above) are available for free to customers with valid NetEqualizer Software & Support (NSS).
If you are not current with NSS, contact us today!
toll-free U.S. (888-287-2492),
worldwide (303) 997-1300 x. 103
A Brief History of Peer to Peer File Sharing and the Attempts to Block It
By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections
The following history is based on my notes and observations as both a user of peer to peer, and as a network engineer tasked with cleaning it up.
Round One, Napster, Centralized Server, Circa 2002
Napster was a centralized service, unlike the peer to peer behemoths of today there was never any question of where the copyrighted material was being stored and pirated from. Even though Napster did not condone pirated music and movies on their site, the courts decided by allowing copyrighted material to exist on their servers, they were in violation of copyright law. Napster’s days of free love were soon over…
Photo Of The Month
Photo by Casey Sanders
A Slower Pace
When people picture the state of Texas, most think of vast ranches, cattle, and cactus. While much of the state does resemble this type of landscape, the northeastern part is actually heavily wooded and contains many lakes. Life in this rural area of the country moves a bit slower than our high-speed, high-tech lives in Metro Denver, Colorado. Sometimes it is cathartic to put all the work aside for a bit and just stare off into the woods.
Comcast Suit: Was Blocking P2P Worth the Final Cost?December 29, 2009 — netequalizer
By Art Reisman
CTO of APconnections
Makers of the plug-and-play bandwidth control and traffic shaping appliance NetEqualizer
Comcast recently settled a class action suit in the state of Pennsylvania regarding its practice of selectively blocking of P2P. So far, the first case was settled for 16 million dollars with more cases on the docket yet to come. To recap, Comcast and other large ISPs invested in technology to thwart P2P, denied involvment when first accused, got spanked by the FCC, and now Comcast is looking to settle various class action suits.
When Comcast’s practices were established, P2P usage was sky-rocketing with no end in sight and the need to block some of it was required in order to preserve reasonable speeds for all users. Given that there was no specific law or ruling on the book, it seemed like mucking with P2P to alleviate gridlock was a rational business decision. This decision made even more sense considering that DSL providers were stealing disgruntled customers. With this said, Comcast wasn’t alone in the practice — all of the larger providers were doing it, throttling P2P to some extent to ensure good response times for all of their customers.
Yet, with the lawsuits mounting, it appears on face value that things backfired a bit for Comcast. Or did they?
We can work out some very rough estimates as the final cost trade-off. Here goes:
I am going to guess that before this plays out completely, settlements will run close to $50 million or more. To put that in perspective, Comcast shows a 2008 profit of close to $3 billion. Therefore, $50 million is hardly a dent to their stock holders. But, in order to play this out, we must ask what the ramifications would have been to not blocking P2P back when all of this began and P2P was a more serious bandwidth threat (Today, while P2P has declined, YouTube and online video are now the primary bandwidth hogs).
We’ll start with the customer. The cost of getting a new customer is usually calculated at around 6 months of service or approximately $300. So, to make things simple, we’ll assume the net cost of a losing a customer is roughly $300. In addition, there are also the support costs related to congested networks that can easily run $300 per customer incident.
The other more subtle cost of P2P is that the methods used to deter P2P traffic were designed to keep traffic on the Comcast network. You see, ISPs pay for exchanging data when they hand off to other networks, and by limiting the amount of data exchanged, they can save money. I did some cursory research on the costs involved with exchanging data and did not come up with anything concrete, so I’ll assume a P2P customer can cost you $5 per month.
So, lets put the numbers together to get an idea of how much potential financial damage P2P was causing back in 2007 (again, I must qualify that these are based on estimates and not fact. Comments and corrections are welcome).
So, very conservatively for 2007 and 2008, incremental costs related to unmitigated P2P could have easily run a total of $600 million right off the bottom line.
Therefore, while these calculations are approximations, in retrospect it was likely financially well worth the risk for Comcast to mitigate the effects of unchecked P2P. Of course, the public relations costs are much harder to quantify.