NetEqualizer News: December 2015


December 2015

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we update you on our 8.4 Release, talk about what our college customers are saying, feature Part 2 of our articles on RTR best practices, and ask once more for your ideas for the 2016 Roadmap. 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

With the holiday season in full swing, I want to pause for a moment from my hectic schedule to thank you, our valued customers, for your loyalty in 2015. THANK YOU!thank_you

We here at APconnections truly appreciate your business. Thank you for helping us grow since 2003! I am lucky that I love what I do, and I really enjoy working with as many of you as I can. If you have any feedback, ideas, or questions for me, please reach out to me at art@apconnections.net. I hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter!

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!

8.4 Release Update
User Interface Enhancements

We have exciting news to share regarding our next software update – Release 8.4. Throughout 2015, we made big changes to our Real-Time Reporting (RTR) and implemented tons of useful features. In 2016, we’ll be focusing our efforts on the rest of the NetEqualizer User Interface. Here are just a few of the things you can expect:

1) Better Configuration Management
We’ve listened to your feedback and are adding in the ability to edit traffic limits and other rules without removing them, control the units (Bps, Kbps, Mbps, etc.) displayed throughout the NetEqualizer interfaces, and manage the configuration all in one place – just to name a few!

2) Secure Logout and HTTPS by default
These popular feature requests will now be standard on all units running the 8.4 Release. Users will now be able to log out from the user interface securely and all data will be sent over HTTPS to and from the NetEqualizer.

3) Manage Time and Date from the GUI
With the 8.4 Release, you’ll be able to manage all time and date features of the NetEqualizer from the user interface instead of the command line.

4) Named Pools
This is one of the most requested items and it will be a reality in the 8.4 Release. With this release, you will be able to name your Pools however you see fit.

Our time frame for General Acceptance of this release is March or 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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What Our College Customers Are Saying…

Last month, we featured Morrisville State College in New York, our newest Case Study. Since then, we have heard from several more colleges who wanted to offer their feedback.

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

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You can view all of the College & University Testimonials on our website. Here are our two most recent:

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United States Naval Academy

IT Administration – United States Naval Academy
“Faced with mounting costs of upgrades for maintenance on our existing bandwidth shaper, in 2014 we did a little research and decided to try the NetEqualizer. We are currently running 1 gigabit for the entire campus, including students and faculty. Our bandwidth utilization is maxed out for most of the day and into the evening. Without a solid bandwidth shaper in place, operations would come to crawl.

Since deploying the NetEqualizer in the Spring of 2015 we have pretty much forgotten about it (in a good way). The NetEqualizer allows us to run at full capacity without the hassles of making adjustments on a daily basis.

One of the best investments we have ever made.”

delaware_valley_univ

Delaware Valley University

Michael Davis – Executive Director of Technology Services
“Delaware Valley University shifted from a packet shaping tool to a NetEqualizer over a year ago, and it is one of the best infrastructure decisions we have made.

The NetEqualizer has allowed us to provide better service to our students without increasing bandwidth, and we hear fewer complaints than ever about bandwidth.

We are planning our next bandwidth increase, and the NetEqualizer is going to make this better than usual. Factoring in student satisfaction with the amount of time that we no longer have to spend tuning a packet shaping device has made us very happy customers.

The support and sales teams at NetEqualizer are also fantastic.”


How Can RTR Help You?
Check Out RTR Best Practices (Part 2)

RTR is great as a simple reporting tool, but it can also be much more! Below we share some helpful ways to utilize the different reports in RTR to better configure your NetEqualizer and understand your network. This is Part 2 of a two-part series – read about Part 1 last month!

1) Figure out who has used the most data over time
Usually on the NetEqualizer, we are talking about usage rates like Mbps, Kbps, etc. But, sometimes you might want to know who has downloaded or uploaded the most data over time (in MB, GB, etc.). Use Traffic History -> Top Talkers to find out!

toptalkers

2) Use the Start/Stop RTR page to view system status messages
The NetEqualizer has processes in place that will rotate old data and keep you from running out of memory. However, you can check to make sure things look good and RTR is running smoothly on the Start/Stop RTR page.

memory

3) Use the General Penalty Reports page to correlate data to the General Traffic History page
In last month’s newsletter, we showed a perfect example of what we’d expect a network to look like. Check out the graphs for Morrisville State College in their Case Study.

We always want to ensure that some Equalizing is occurring during busy times. If you don’t see many penalties during busy times, your HOGMIN value may be set too high.

Consult the User Guide for appropriate HOGMIN values for your network.

GeneralTrafficHistory-2

GeneralPenalty-1

If you are current on NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS), and have a question about RTR or would like a walk through, click the button below!

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It Is Not Too Late… To Give Input Into The 2016 Roadmap

For those of you that have already responded, THANK YOU. Rest assured that we have collected your feedback and added it to our Feature Request List for 2016.

If you have not yet responded, there is still time to influence our fall/winter 2016 release.

If you have a great idea for us, please let us know!

No idea is too “out there” – we want to solve your crunchiest, toughest networking issues.

Email us your idea.


Best Of The Blog

Regulate DDoS Like Pollution

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

I just read another article on DDOS attacks and how companies are being extorted. As usual I am thinking way out of the box again.

Background on the mechanics of DDOS attack

The raw tools of a DDOS attacker are made possible by the billions of computing devices sitting around the world attached to the Internet. A DDOS attacker probes constantly for computers to hack, and then once they have access to several hundred or more in their control, they can point them to any business, sending a storm of data requests jamming Internet links from the outside. Think of a million people trying to cram into the door of your apartment all at once, you would be trapped inside…

Photo Of The Month
building
Where was this picture taken?
Tell us and you could win a $25 gift card! 

This picture was taken by a staff member during a recent customer site visit in the United States. The first four (4) people to email sales@apconnections.net with the name of this building will win a $25 gift card!

The answer for last month is: United States Naval Academy Chapel

NetEqualizer News: November 2015


November 2015

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we officially release the NE5000, help you out with RTR best practices, feature a live customer NetEqualizer installation and Case Study, and ask for your assistance in our 2016 planning. 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 awaiting our first snow here in Colorado, with our first really cold night killing off the last of the garden this past week (22F/-5C). While the garden goes to sleep, we are laying plans for next year, both in the garden and with the NetEqualizer!art

There is still time to give us feedback for 2016. If you would like to contribute to the 2016 NetEqualizer Roadmap, we welcome your ideas. Call or email us with your suggestions. And, for those of you that have already responded, THANK YOU!

This month make it official – our NE5000 powerhouse solution is ready for primetime! If you are thinking of taking your NetEqualizer solution to the next level, 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!

NE5000: Official Release

We often get quizzical looks from customers when they see our price performance numbers. Now pushing 10 Gbps line speeds and the ability to shape 60,000 users, we have heard rumblings that some analysts don’t believe our product can perform at this price point. We just ignore them, as they are mostly in the pocket of our competitors anyway.

With a list price of $22,000 USD, our new NE5000 brings bandwidth control pricing back to Earth.

How do we do it?NE5000_data_sheet

Really, it’s just old-fashioned hard work! At the core of our NetEqualizer technology lies a team of computer scientists that spend their days optimizing the algorithms and techniques to ensure high reliability and performance.

We also go against the conventional wisdom of packet classification – that is our other advantage. Packet Classification is on the way out, and there is no ignoring it any longer.

If you have not had a chance to work with us before, we encourage you to check out our new high-end model and set up a WebEx with our technical team for a demo. Click the button below to contact us!

Here is a link to our NE5000 data sheet to get you started:

The NE5000 Data Sheet

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Real World RTR: Live at Morrisville State CollegeMorrisville Logo #3

When developing RTR and other NetEqualizer features, we are often using simulated data – real system testing occurs near the end of the cycle. During a recent Technical Refresh session with Rob Gaudreau of Morrisville State College, however, we got to see some exciting results from a live NetEqualizer that we wanted to share.

The first interesting graph is their General Traffic History:

GeneralTrafficHistory-1

This is a graph of bandwidth usage for the previous week. It’s great to see how predictable the traffic patterns are, and how useful RTR can be in seeing what occurred historically and how you can use that data to plan for the future.

The second interesting graph is their General Penalty History:

GeneralPenalty-1

This is a graph of the number of penalties that were occurring over the previous week – the same time period used to generate the General Traffic History graph. Notice how the penalty count directly correlates with the busy times.

Those penalties are the NetEqualizer hard at work, shaping the largest connections during congested hours of the day, and letting traffic through untouched during less busy times – all without IT administrator intervention.morrisville_case_study

Morrisville State College – Case Study
We enjoyed talking to Rob so much and hearing about his experience with NetEqualizer, that we decided to turn it into a full case study so that others could hear their story. Check it out, here:

Morrisville State College Case Study

Schedule your Technical Refresh Today!
Our Technical Refreshes have been a huge success! These walkthroughs have proven valuable to both new and experienced customers. We are always enhancing our technology and interfaces, so it’s easy to get to the point where features are new and unfamiliar.

If you are current on NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS), and you are interested in a 30-minute WebEx to see the newest interfaces and learn more about RTR, click the link below!

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How Can RTR Help You? Check Out RTR Best Practices (Part 1)

RTR is great as a simple reporting tool, but it can also be much more! Below we share some helpful ways to utilize the different reports in RTR to better configure your NetEqualizer and understand your network. This is Part 1 of a two-part series – look for Part 2 next month!

1) Set up Traffic History IPs for Graphing
Use Traffic History->Manage Tracked IPs to add your internal IPs (or any other IP you care about) to the tracking system. The first step in getting the most out of RTR is telling it which IP addresses you want to track.

managetrackedips

2) Figure out your Top Users by Monitoring Real-Time Connections
Use Active Connections->View Active Connections and sort by the Wavg column to see your top bandwidth users. Use the C and DNS options below the external IP address to learn more about the connected host (C for Country Code and DNS for NS Lookup). Use the AR and T options below the internal IPs to view rules associated with the IP (AR) and its historical bandwidth usage (T).

unnamed (1)

3) See if P2P is an Issue on your Network
Use Active Connections->View Connection Counts to see the IP addresses of users with lots of concurrent connections.

This data can help you determine any P2P users on your network and can also help you establish a baseline for implementing system-wide connection count limits.

Look for outliers and then set a limit such that almost all of your users fall below it with normal network usage. You can also copy the IP of the user with the most connections, filter the Active Connections table for that user, and then view all the different external IP addresses they are connected to.

unnamed (2)

4) See What your Bandwidth Pools are Doing Right Now
Use the RTR Dashboard to view real-time pool data. Remember, all traffic falls under “Pool 0,” so even if you don’t use pools in your network, you can use this horizontal bar graph to see when your network is Equalizing (when it passes the red line).

realtimepool

If you are current on NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS), and have a question about RTR or would like a walk through, click the button below!

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Help Us Set The 2016 NetEqualizer Roadmap

We have finalized our Winter Release (8.4), but there is still time to influence our 2016 Roadmap. We will start planning our Fall Release soon, and we would love to add your ideas to the release.

If you have a great idea for us, please let us know!

No idea is too “out there” – we want to solve your crunchiest, toughest networking issues. Click on the button below to email us your idea.

If you have already responded, rest assured that we have collected your feedback and added it to our Feature Request List.


Best Of The Blog

A Cure for Electronic Theft?

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

What if we created a new electronic currency, a-la Bitcoin, with a twist. Let’s start by taking an idea from the Federal Government, and put a watermark on our personal funds – something unique that signifies who legally possesses the currency. Cattle ranchers do this with a brand so nobody steals their cattle. This has worked pretty well for a few hundred years, right?

With our new personal watermark, suppose somebody breaks into our bank, and wires all your money to some idiot in Russia. In today’s world, the only way to find that money is to follow the trail, and that takes a huge effort from a banking forensics person, working with International governments. The money may travel so fast it may not be possible to recover. Now, suppose the funds had an electronic tag that could not be altered by a criminal. For example currency in your possession has a public private encryption key, and only you can authorize a change in possession…

Photo Of The Month
picture
Where was this picture taken?
Tell us and you could win a $25 gift card.
This picture was taken by a staff member during a recent college customer site visit at a cathedral. The first four people to email sales@apconnections.net with the name of the college where this cathedral is located get a $25 gift card!

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.

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 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:

ddos

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
IMG_0997
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.

NetEqualizer News: April 2015


April 2015

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we update you on our upcoming NetEqualizer Tech Seminars and conferences, ask for your input on what are your most pressing IT problems, and preview more exciting features for our Spring Release (8.3). 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

Early April is the time of year in North America when some of the early arriving bird migrants start their journey north. artI saw a couple of common Grackles and an Eastern Phoebe this last week, as well as an Osprey – just to name a few. Spring is also the time of year when I get out on the road and start visiting customers. London and Pennsylvania are on the docket, with more to come.
art photo for NL

I really enjoy meeting with customers around the world and hearing their experiences. It’s how some of our best products and features have come to light. Whether it’s a small change to the NetEqualizer interface, or a problem that needs solving, we thrive off of these conversations. Read more about opportunities to meet with me and share your thoughts in this month’s newsletter.

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!

2015 Technical Seminars

neteq seminar logo with border
Spring 2015 – Coming to the UK on April 23rd

We are coming across the Pond this spring! If you are in or around the United Kingdom on April 23, 2015, come join our CTO, Art Reisman, for an informative and educational session hosted by Flex Information Technology Ltd.

Art will be at the Grove Technology Park in Wantage, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom OX12 9FF the afternoon of April 23rd. You can view the details and register for the event here.

Our Technical Seminars are great because they are not marketing sessions. They are run by our CTO and are technical briefings. The seminar includes discussion on bandwidth control and also a live demonstration of the NetEqualizer technology.

So, if you have always been curious about the NetEqualizer, and would like to learn more, stop by for an afternoon! Or if you are an existing customer, and would like to meet Art to pick his brain, join us in the UK!

Please contact Paul Horseman of Flex Information Technology Ltd with any questions:

paul@flex.co.uk
-or-
+44 (0)333 101 7313

Summer or Fall 2015 – Location TBD

We are currently starting to plan our Summer/Fall 2015 Tech Seminar. For this seminar, we are looking stateside. If you are in the United States and would like to be considered as a host site, let us know by contacting us at:

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


What is Your Better Mouse Trap?

As always, we are looking to expand our product line in ways that are useful to our customers. Our DDoS Monitoring and DDoS Firewall are a perfect example of an urgent need that came up last month, with several customers being caught off guard by attacks. We responded with a timely interim release, by integrating some existing technology from our IPS device into the NetEqualizer.

We are also interested in new ideas that will help make the life of an IT administrator easier. We want to help you to solve your most pressing IT problems, so please take a moment and think of what your better mouse trap would be, and tell us!

Even if you don’t think it is possible, just throw it out there! Your ideas are invaluable in helping us to create the next generation networking solutions.

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Annual edACCESS Conference

edaccess

June 24, 2015

We are looking forward to visiting with a few our customers at the annual edACCESS Conference hosted by Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. We will stop by for Vendor Day on Wednesday, June 24th.

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 model.

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.”

If you cannot attend this conference, but are in the area of South Central Pennsylvania, please let us know and perhaps we can stop by as we will be on the East Coast for a few days after the conference.

We are looking forward to seeing you there!

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Expanded RTR: Spring Release (8.3) Update

Anticipated Release Date: May 2015

Wow! I got a chance to kick the tires on our 8.3 Release last week. My favorite new RTR report now gives you the ability to see real-time bar charts showing actual bandwidth usage on a per Pool basis (you can also see the Top IP or IP subnet users).

And the real icing on the cake was the red warning colors on the bar chart whenever a pool went into Equalizing, essentially a nice graphical indicator that the NetEqualizer is doing it’s job on your main screen. Here is a screenshot of this feature:

Pools

We’ve also added in a number of other exciting features! These include, but are not limited to:

1) Historical Penalty Reporting – see how many penalties were enforced at a given point in time on your NetEqualizer.

2) Connection Count Reporting – see connection counts by IP. Use this to find possible P2P issues on your network.

3) Export Data from RTR – export data from the RTR databases in CSV format to keep a history longer than 4 weeks or just analyze the data as you wish.

4) Active Penalties – see all connections that are currently being Equalized, as well as what type of penalty they are receiving.

For more details on Release 8.3 features, check out our March 2015 Newsletter.

The coding for Release 8.3 is now complete, and we are moving it into our testing process. We are currently anticipating a May 2015 release, and will announce it in the May 2015 Newsletter.

Once 8.3 reaches GA, these features will be free to customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS). You will need to upgrade first to version 8.0+. If you are not current with NSS, contact us today!

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Best Of The Blog

The Technology Differences between a Web Filter and a Traffic Shaper

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

First, a couple of definitions, so we are all on the same page:

A Web Filter is basically a type of specialized firewall with a configurable list of URLs. Using a Web Filter, a Network Administrator can completely block specific web sites, or block complete categories of sites, such as pornography.

A Traffic Shaper is typically deployed to change the priority of certain kinds of traffic. It is used where blocking traffic completely is not required, or is not an acceptable practice. For example, the mission of a typical Traffic Shaper might be to allow users to get into their Facebook accounts, and to limit their bandwidth so as to not overshadow other more important activities. With a Traffic Shaper, the idea is to limit (shape) the total amount of data traffic for a given category.

From a technology standpoint, building a Web Filter is a much easier proposition than creating a Traffic Shaper. This is not to demean the value or effort that goes into creating a good Web Filter. When I say “easier,” I mean this from a core technology point of view. Building a good Web Filter product is not so much a technology challenge, but more of a data management issue.

A Web Filter worth its salt must be aware of potentially millions of various websites that are ever-changing. To manage these sites, a Web Filter product must be constantly getting updated. The product company supporting the Web Filter must search the Web, constantly indexing new web sites and their contents, and then passing this information into the Web Filter product. The work is ongoing, but not necessarily daunting in terms of technology prowess. The actual blocking of a Web site is simply a matter of comparing a requested URL against the list of forbidden web sites and blocking the request (dropping the packets)…

Photo Of The Month
IMG_0706
Tribute to Jack Miller
By Art Reisman
I had the honor to meet my neighbor Jack Miller and listen to his life stories over the past few years. Jack has the unique distinction of serving two WWII tours in North Africa. After the first tour, he was discharged to take care of his farm after the death of his mother, but then, through a clerical mix-up, he was shipped back, only this time he was taken POW by the Germans.I spent many summer evenings sitting on his front porch listening to his stories. My favorite one was set at a time when the Germans were in retreat, and his battalion was marching across Germany, extremely hungry and low on rations. He described walking past German farms with grazing cattle, and I asked him why they did not just take the cows and eat them. Without hesitation, Jack’s reply was “Why, those cows belonged to the German people.”

People like Jack were cut from a different mold.

We lost Jack at the age of 92 last November.

Rest in Peace, Jack.

NetEqualizer News: March 2015


March 2015

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we announce the NE5000 (our Next Generation NetEqualizer solution), highlight our recent 8.2 Release (DDoS Monitoring and IPv6 Shaping), preview our upcoming 8.3 Release (Expanded RTR), and update you on NetEqualizer Tech 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

As we move closer to spring, I am ready for a thaw. artHere in the U.S., most of the country has been locked in snow and ice this winter. We are all ready for warm weather! As I think about warmer days, I start thinking about growing new things, and am happy to announce that as we continue to grow our capabilities, we are also building out advanced hardware platforms. This month we announce our Next Generation NetEqualizer!

We also continue to grow our next release (8.3), in which we are building out additional reporting (RTR) capabilities. Our goal is to have all of the new features released by late spring. And finally, our 8.2 DDoS Monitor, Firewall, and IPv6 equalizing release is now Generally Available.

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!

Announcing the Next Generation NetEqualizer! The NE5000 is Now Available

The next generation NetEqualizer is here!

Introducing the NE5000 – our top-of-the-line powerhouse solution for larger organizations.

neteq

The NE5000 comes standard with bi-directional 10 Gbps fiber (40 Gbps fiber optional), and it can shape bandwidth for up to 50,000 concurrent users.

There are also a few exciting additions to the NE5000 not seen in previous models.

• First, we included built-in redundancy so that the device fails open.
• Second, we included built-in power redundancy as well so that the unit will never experience sudden outages.
• And third, we included a built-in management port to make network integration and management even easier.

Take a look at our price list for pricing information, or contact us if you have questions!

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8.2 Release is Now Generally Available!

Our 8.2 Release is now generally available! This release includes two primary new features:

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Monitoring

We are hearing that many of our customers need help with the onslaught of DDoS attacks on their networks. As the NetEqualizer is implemented near the network perimeter, and has visibility to all incoming and outgoing traffic, we are able to analyze traffic behavior and report on suspected DDoS attacks. Once identified as suspected DDoS, the NetEqualizer can then be used to block further traffic as needed.

IPv6 Bandwidth Shaping

For several years we have provided visibility to IPv6 traffic flowing through the NetEqualizer, to give you a view into how much IPv6 is on your network. We now feel that IPv6 has gained enough momentum to be a noticeable percentage on our customers’ networks. Therefore, as of 8.2 we are offering equalizing for IPv6 traffic. This will ensure that your full network gets the benefit of improved QoS during peak periods, for both IPv4 and IPv6 traffic.

The 8.2 update is simple and easy to install. We recommend upgrading as soon as possible in order to be properly prepared should a DDoS attack happen to you.

You can read more about these features in our release notes here. Our User Guide has also been updated with more information about how these features work.

These features are free to customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support who are running version 8.0+. If you are not current with NSS, contact us today!

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Update on 2015 Tech Seminars and Conferences

Throughout 2015, we’ll be using our Newsletter to update you on Tech Seminars that NetEqualizer is hosting, as well as conferences we’ll be attending. Stay tuned!

Here is what we currently have planned for the near future:

NetEqualizer Tech Seminar

We are currently exploring sites for a Tech Seminar in the UK during the summer or fall 2015. As of this newsletter, nothing is neteq seminar logo with borderfinalized. If you would like to host a tech seminar, we are also open to visiting a domestic site here in the U.S. or Canada, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.

edACCESS Conference

edACCESS provides support and networking for information technology staff at secondary schools and small colleges. Most members come from schools with under 1,000 students.edaccess

We will be joining in the edACCESS conference at Mercersburg Academy on June 24, 2015 for Vendor Day! Feel free to stop by and pick up some NetEqualizer bling!

If you have questions on either the NetEqualizer Tech Seminar or the edACCESS conference, contact us!

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8.3 Release (Expanded RTR) Arriving in Late Spring

Over the last few months we’ve continued to invest heavily in expanding our Real-Time Reporting (RTR) to make it even more robust. In late spring of this year, our 8.3 Release will be generally available.

The 8.3 Release includes many features our customers have asked for in the past to help improve their reporting experience. Here are just a few of the exciting new features:

Real-Time Pool and VLAN Dashboard

The current version of RTR has a real-time dashboard which shows current bandwidth usage. In Release 8.3, however, we’ve enhanced the dashboard to include both real-time pool and real-time VLAN bar graphs showing current usage. You can also easily see when your pools and/or VLANs are Equalizing.

Pools

Summary IP Reports

One of the most popular features in ntop, our previous reports offering, was the Summary Hosts Report, which highlighted how much bandwidth a particular IP address had used over a certain time period. In Release 8.3, we’ve added our own summary IP reports into RTR! Summary IP Reports is even better, as it will enable you to run custom database queries against all of the stored historical data to find exactly what you need. We will also include a handful of sample summary reports for common queries.

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Historical Penalty Graphs

In Release 8.3, you’ll be able to see how the NetEqualizer has penalized traffic over time. RTR will now include graphs for tracking how many penalties are being enforced each minute. We’ll then store the data for up to four weeks. And, just like our other graphs, you’ll be able to export the data for retention if you so choose. This has been one of our most commonly requested features, and now it’s here!

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Once 8.3 reaches GA, these features will be free to customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support who are running version 8.0+ If you are not current with NSS, contact us today!

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Best Of The Blog

10 Things to Consider when Choosing a Bandwidth Shaper

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

This article is intended as an objective guide for anyone trying to narrow down their options in the bandwidth controller market. Organizations today have a plethora of product options to choose from. To further complicate your choices, not only are there specialized bandwidth controllers, you’ll also find that most Firewall and Router products today contain some form of bandwidth shaping and QoS features.

What follows is an all-encompassing list of questions that will help you to quickly organize your priorities with regards to choosing a bandwidth shaper.

1) What is the Cost of Increasing your Bandwidth?

Although this question may be a bit obvious, it must be asked. We assume that anybody in the market for a bandwidth controller also has the option of increasing their bandwidth. The costs of purchasing and operating a bandwidth controller should ultimately be compared with the cost of increasing bandwidth on your network.

2) How much Savings should you expect from your Bandwidth Controller?

A good bandwidth controller in many situations can increase your carrying capacity by up to 50 percent. However, beware, some technologies designed to optimize your network can create labor overhead in maintenance hours. Labor costs with some solutions can far exceed the cost of adding bandwidth…

Photo Of The Month
snowshoe
Snowshoeing in Snowy Colorado
The snow this year broke records all over the U.S.! February was the snowiest February on record for Colorado. This is a picture of Boulder County Open Space, which is like a park, as everyone can use it for recreation. It is shared by a farmer to graze cows in the spring & summer. Here, one of our staff takes advantage of a snowy day to snowshoe.
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NetEqualizer News: November 2014


November 2014

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we discuss features for our 2015 NetEqualizer Releases, announce a last call for trading in old NE2000’s and Lite units, introduce our NetEqualizer Holiday Giving Campaign, and share a technical tip on how to export data from NetEqualizer’s Dynamic Real-Time Reporting (RTR). 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

The holiday season is almost underway in the United States. Before I get caught up in thefancy thank-you

whirlwind of activities that seems to happen at this time of year, I’d like to pause and give thanks for all the blessings in my life. As we end our 11th year, I continue to be thankful for all of our loyal customers.

THANK YOU for putting your faith and trust in APconnections, we truly appreciate your business!

APconnections also likes to give back to those in need. You can read all about our NetEqualizer Holiday Giving Campaign below.

2015 NetEqualizer Release Plans

We have started planning out our 2015 releases. We are aiming for two releases in 2015:

8.2 – Extended RTRpenalties

Our first release (8.2) will be in the late spring/early summer timeframe. We continue our commitment to robust real-time reporting (RTR) by adding reports to extend our capabilities. 8.2 – Extended RTR is currently planned to include Penalty Graphs, Bandwidth Use by IP Graphs, a Pools Dashboard, Data Export Menus, and an enhanced Active Connections Table.

8.x – Cloud Reporting

As announced in our October Newsletter, we plan to offer data storage in a cloud environment. Cloud Reporting will give you access to longer periods of data, to help with your troubleshooting, capacity planning, and trend analysis needs. Look for more information in the coming months as we start to architect our solution.

We listen to you, and have taken into account feedback provided by those of you that have upgraded to 8.1 in our release planning. As always, if you have feature requests or suggestions, please contact us!

Once 8.2 reaches GA, these features will be free to customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support who are running version 8.1. If you are not current with NSS, or have not upgraded to 8.1, contact us today!

sales@apconnections.net

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303-997-1300


Last Call! Trade in Your Older NE2000 or Lite Unit

As we have announced previously in this Newsletter, we are discontinuing support for older NE2000s (any NE2000 purchased prior to August 2011) and the Lite series as of 12/31/2014.

We are moving our NE2000 and Lite license levels onto the NE3000 platform, which can support running our 64-bit software, and is better positioned for the future (more memory, more processing power, etc.).

If you have not already traded in your older NE2000 or Lite unit, we recommend that you do so at this time. As part of our Lifetime Buyer’s Guarantee, we offer a generous trade-in credit of 50% of the original unit price toward a new unit. While you will still be able to trade-in older NE2000’s and Lite units in the future, this is our Last Call because time is running out on Support (NSS) for these units.

Not sure if your NE2000 is an older unit? Call or email us and we will look it up for you.

sales@apconnections.net

-or-

303-997-1300


NetEqualizer Holiday Giving Campaign

Join APconnections in giving back to worthy causes during this holiday season. For every new NetEqualizer that our customers purchase between now and 12/31/2014, APconnections will donate $25 to one of our selected charities.

It is that simple! Just buy the NetEqualizer that you were planning to get anyway in 2015, and you get to help us to do good for others, through the great work of these deserving charities!

To keep this simple, we have selected several charities, and will split the donation amongst them. Our charities for the NetEqualizer Holiday Giving Campaign are:

1) Toys for Tots: The mission for Toys for Tots is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

tft

2) The Hunger Project: The Hunger Project is a global, non-profit, strategic organization committed to the sustainable end of world hunger.

29DRt83

3) Doctors Without Borders: Doctors Without Borders works in nearly 70 countries providing medical aid to those most in need regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation.

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Technical Tip: How to Export Your Data

Did you know there is a hidden feature in Release 8.1? Even though the menu option is not visible, it is possible to export the data in your reporting databases to csv files. You can export data for the previous 24 hours or data for the previous 4 weeks. What you do with it is up to you! Import it into Excel for easy graphing, save it locally for longer-term reporting, export data for a specific time period to analyze bandwidth-related issues, and more!export

Please note that the data is returned with Unix timestamps and is in bytes/second. Data for the 24 hour database is sampled every minute and data for the 4 week database is sampled every hour. To export your data, simply change the parameter “page” in the url to “export-data”. So, your URL would be something like:

[neteqIP]/newgui/RTR/index.php?page=export-data

If you need assistance with data export and are current on NSS, contact us at:

support@apconnections.net

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303-997-1300

Please note that General Penalty Data is not available or exportable at this time.


Best Of The Blog

More Lies and Deceit From Your ISP

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

Back in 2007, I wrote an article for PC Magazine about all the shenanigans that ISPs use to throttle bandwidth. The article set a record for online comments for one day, and the editor was happy. I recall, at that time, I felt like a lone wolf trying to point out these practices. Finally some redemption, this morning, the FTC is flexing it’s muscle and is now taking on AT&T for false claims with respect to unlimited data…

Photo Of The Month
santa
Interactive Robotic Santa
One of our staff members’ recently stumbled upon an Internet-controllable robotic Santa in his neighborhood. The Santa is viewable via web cam and can speak text entered into the website. It can also play music and dance. Santa was relatively quiet until recently when the URL went viral and Santa was speaking non-stop! Email us for a link to check out the Santacam – but beware that Santa has a gift for gab and no content filter.

NetEqualizer News: September 2014


September 2014

Greetings!

Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News! This month, we dedicate the newsletter to our new Enhanced Dynamic Real-Time Reporting (RTR), which is now generally available! 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

September is the start of the harvest season, and this year once again we are ready with a new release at harvest time. Along with my giant pumpkins (see picture below), we think you will agree that our 8.1 Release – Enhanced Dynamic Real-Time Reporting (RTR) is also a bountiful harvest. Our Enhanced Dynamic RTR is easy to use, but in case you need guidance, we have also updated our User Guide. art_canoe_picture

I am excited to say that our reporting now offers four weeks of historical data. I now feel that it rivals (and exceeds) what we offered via our 3rd party reporting tool, ntop. Thus, it is time to sunset ntop. So as of 8.1, you will no longer see ntop in our GUI.

Finally, if you would like a walk through on our new reporting, to help you get up-to-speed on all the features that we offer, call or email and ask for a “Tech Refresh” call with us.

We love it when we hear back from you – so let us know what you think of the new RTR! Email me directly at art@apconnections.net. I would love to hear from you!

8.1 Release is Generally Available!

8.1 adds exciting features to our Dynamic Real-Time Reports, including the ability to graphically view traffic at this moment and up to a four week period. We have also expanded your view to include the ability to graph by selected Pools, IP addresses, subnets, VLANs, along with your entire network. And, you can see all of this in the units that make the most sense for you (Mbps, MBps, Kbps, KBps). We have also added the NetEqualizer Log and Active Connections into our RTR Menu, to give you access to everything you need from one convenient place.

You can use 8.1 key features on your network to:

If this sounds interesting to you, and you would like to upgrade to 8.1, please contact our Support Team to get started! You can reach Support at:

support@apconnections.net

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303-997-1300 x102

Please note that as of this release we are officially deprecating ntop. The new RTR tool provides much of the core ntop functionality without all the processing overhead.

Also, some features discussed in previous newsletters such as Penalty Reporting will be released in a future offering, along with a more interactive Dashboard. Protocol Tracking is still available as an experimental offering. Please contact us at the email above if you are interested in enabling this feature.

These features are free to customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support who are running version 7.5+. If you are not current with NSS, contact us today!

sales@apconnections.net

-or-

303-997-1300


NetEqualizer 8.1 User Guide

Our User Guide has been updated to highlight the new reporting capabilities available in 8.1. Check it out here.

You can read all about Dynamic RTR under the Monitoring and Reporting section, starting on page 44. With the embedded screenshots, we think this guide is a nice way to see what the new reporting release offers.

If you have not checked out our User Guide in awhile, you can also take a look at other sections that cover advanced configuration, such as Redundancy & Failover and our Appendices.


Schedule a Tech Refresh Call

We want to make sure that you are getting the most out of your NetEqualizer, as we are sure you do too! For customers that have been using the NetEqualizer awhile, sometimes with staffing changes over the years, and our new software releases, your collective “NetEqualizer know-how” diminishes.

We would like to help you quickly get up-to-speed on all the features & functions of the NetEqualizer that are new to you, or you might have forgotten.

For customers current on NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS), we would be happy to schedule up to a 1 hour NetEqualizer “Tech Refresh” call with you and your team.

We will set up a webex session to screen-share with you, and walk through the NetEqualizer technology, both old and new.

Contact us at:

sales@apconnections.net

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303-997-1300

if you are interested in a “Tech Refresh.”


Best Of The Blog

Surviving iOS Updates

By Art Reisman – CTO – APconnections

The birds outside my office window are restless. I can see the strain in the Comcast cable wires as they droop, heavy with the burden of additional bits, weighing them down like a freak ice storm. It is time, once again, for Apple to update every device in the Universe with their latest iOS update.

Assuming you are responsible for a Network with a limited Internet pipe, and you are staring down 100 or more users, about to hit the accept button for their update, what can you do to prevent your user network from being gridlocked…

Photo Of The Month
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Pumpkins!
Giant pumpkins like the one above are a Colorado staple in the fall. You see them all over town – on porches for decorations, carved into Jack-O’-Lanterns, or made into delicious pies.
Posted in Newsletters. Tags: . 1 Comment »
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