NetEqualizer News: February 2017


We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter. Highlights include 8.5 Release feature previews, a customer case study, an introduction to our 20 Gbps NetEqualizer unit, and more!

 

  February 2017

 

8.5 Release – Your Additions!
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.

It is not quite spring here in Colorado. We are enjoying our typical mix of snowy days, followed by days of warmth (55-60 degrees) and sun. I must admit I am ready for warmer weather, and the spring bird migration (birding is a favorite hobby of mine). It seems like all of the U.S. is having unusual weather right now, especially California with their seemingly constant rain & flooding.

While we await for the arrival of spring, we are huddled down focused on building out the 8.5 Release. I am happy to say that our 8.5 development is now well underway. This month, we discuss additional features that we have planned for the 8.5 Release, including some that have come directly from customer input! We really do listen to your ideas, and appreciate all suggestions. We always are happy to hear from our long-time customers. This month, we share a Case Study on Hobart and William Smith Colleges, as they mark their 10 year anniversary with the NetEqualizer.

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:

:: 8.5 Release – Your Additions

:: 8.5 Release – Features Preview

:: Featured Case Study

:: 20 Gbps NetEqualizer

:: Best of Blog: Five Things to Know About Wireless Networks

8.5 Release – Your Additions

Here is what we added into the 8.5 Release – based on your feedback

We asked for input into our 8.5 Release and you responded with some great ideas – thank you!Here is what we selected for the 8.5 Release, based on three criteria:

1) popularity – how many customers recommended the feature,

2) impact – what we thought would provide the most value to all customers, and

3) alignment – what fit well with the code areas that we planned to work on for 8.5

These two features fit our criteria, and will be discussed in our Features Preview (below)

Active Connections Enhancements
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DNS Name on RTR Reports

As you can see, your voice does count! So, please keep your suggestions coming. While we cannot guarantee that your specific feature will be built, we always incorporate them into our Features Request database, and then assess for each release.

8.5 Release – Features Preview

 8.5 Release Additions (continued from January)

In January, we talked about Pool-specific RATIO and HOGMIN, and retaining RTR State upon reboot. This month we introduce several more features planned for 8.5:

1) Active Connections Enhancements

Beginning with the 8.5 Release, the Active Connections page in RTR will show you which active connections are currently being equalized. This way, you can see in real-time which IPs are getting penalized on your network. We’ll highlight these connections in the table and allow you to sort based on them.

This suggestion came from one of our university customers!

2) Domain Name System Name (DNS) on RTR Reports

Beginning with the 8.5 Release, certain RTR reports will have a hostname mode that allows you to see the DNS name (hostname from nslookup), along with the IP address. If you have an internal naming system for your organization, this can be extremely valuable in identifying problem users or connections!

This suggestion came from our K-12, university, and business customers!

As always, the 8.5 Release will be free to our customers with valid NetEqualizer Software and Support (NSS) plans.

Featured Case Study

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Longtime customer Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) recently celebrated 10 years of solid service with the NetEqualizer to help manage their Internet connectivity.

We thought it would be great to share their experience in a Case Study. Derek Lustig, Director of Network and Systems Infrastructure, and his staff, graciously agreed to help put this together with us. Thank you Derek, Christopher, and Christina for sharing your insights!

Here are some excerpts from the Case Study…

…HWS implemented the NetEqualizer solution based on its stellar reputation in the education space as well as its value, which is difficult to match in competing products….

…The NetEqualizer has been a great solution because it is extremely easy to maintain, and – when needed – it just works, says Derek Lustig of HWS.

You can click on the PDF picture to read the full Case Study, or click here to see all our Higher Education testimonials.

20 Gbps NetEqualizer

Our new high-bandwidth unit…

We are currently testing a high-end NetEqualizer with 20Gbps optics, and we have some good news! Our results have shown that we can push close to 15 Gbps with a full load (provided by our shaping simulator courtesy of Candela Technologies). If you plan to be pushing beyond 10 Gpbs in 2017 or 2018, let us know. We would love to talk to you!

If you would like to participate in a trial, let us know that as well.

We will be looking to trial our latest creation under real world conditions later this year.

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Best Of Blog

Five Things to Know About Wireless Networks

By Art Reisman

Over the last year or so, when the work day is done, I often find myself talking shop with several peers of mine who run wireless networking companies. These are the guys in the trenches. They spend their days installing wireless infrastructure in apartment buildings, hotels, and professional sports arenas to name just a few. Below I share a few tidbits intended to provide a high level picture for anybody thinking about building their own wireless network…

Photo of the Month
Saguaro Cactus

The Saguaro is an amazing cactus that can only be found in a very specific climate found in Arizona, California, and Mexico. The cactuses can live to be 150 years old, and are protected by governments that oversee this land. If you are ever in the area, they are worth checking out! The one in this picture has seen better days.

APconnections, home of the NetEqualizer | (303) 997-1300 | Email | Website 

NetEqualizer News: November 2016


We hope you enjoy this month’s NetEqualizer Newsletter. Highlights include a 8.5 Release feature preview, customer testimonials, and more!

 

  November 2016

 

8.5 Release Planning is Underway!
Greetings! Enjoy another issue of NetEqualizer News.

As we start into the holiday season here in the U.S., I am thankful for many things. First, I want to THANK YOU, our customers, for making this all worthwhile.

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In my conversations with customers & prospects, I hear over & over how much our behavior-based shaping (aka equalizing) saves you time, money, and headaches. Thank you for validating all our efforts here at APconnections!

I am also thankful that the Presidential Election is over in the U.S., as I am tired of seeing political TV advertisements, which seem to be on every 10 minutes.

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:

:: 8.5 Release Features Preview

:: We Want Your Suggestions for the 8.5 Release!

:: Is Anyone Out There Still Suffering From DDoS Attacks?

:: Featured Customer Testimonials

:: Best of Blog: Using NetEqualizer to Ensure Clean, Clear QoS for VOIP Calls

8.5 Release Features Preview

We are staring to plan our 8.5 Release!

We have started putting together initial plans for our late spring software update – 8.5 Release. We have some exciting features in mind! Here is a preview of several features that will be included:

Cloud Reporting

Have you ever wanted to access reporting data for longer than 4 weeks? The reason for the current NetEqualizer limit is that we can only store so much data on the device itself.unnamed-2

Our new Cloud Reporting offering will allow you to store historical NetEqualizer data for an extended period of time. You’ll be able to seamlessly pull this data from the Cloud and display the results on your NetEqualizer, or use it for other reporting and archiving purposes.

Read-only Login Account (customer feature request)

The NetEqualizer has always used basic HTTP authentication for it’s one account, but that is about to change! The next release will have a more standard login page with two roles – the current administrator role as well as a NEW read-only account role. The read-only account will let non-technical staff log in and view reports as well as a few other features.fsdf

NetEqualizer Logout (customer feature request)

We will support web application sessions with both log in & log out. Today we offer login but in 8.5 users will also be able to securely log their session out once they are finished using the GUI.

We are very excited about enhancing our recent 8.4 Release user interface with these changes. Stay tuned to the newsletter for updates on 8.5 features, release dates, and more!

We Want Your Suggestions for the 8.5 Release!

 We want your help! Last call for suggestions for our 8.5 Release.

Now is your last chance for 8.5 Release feature requests!

Many of our best features come from customer requests. For example, for all of you that wanted to have a read-only account for NetEqualizer administration, you’ll be happy to know that we have included it in our upcoming 8.5 Release. Our NetEqualizer Logout is also based on a customer suggestion.

For those suggested features that don’t make the cut, it is not because we did not like them (we like all the suggestions), but we have to filter on features that apply to a large set of our customers. We also keep track of all feature requests, so if yours does not make it into 8.5, it may be scheduled in a future release.

We only know what features you are interested in if you speak up! We have no way of knowing if a feature is popular or not unless we hear from you. So please, think deep and tell us what features would make the NetEqualizer tool more valuable to you!

Here are some questions you can ask yourself or your IT team to come up with ideas:

  1. What feature could I use to help us troubleshoot network problems, perhaps something you need to see in our reports?
  2. What feature would further help optimize our bandwidth resource, perhaps your wireless network has unique challenges?
  3. What security concerns do you have? Anything in the DDoS arena?
  4. What feature could be added to make setup and maintenance more efficient?

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Is Anyone Out There Still Suffering from DDoS Attacks?

What have your experiences been?

Perhaps the Russians have given up on hacking? We are not sure, but we certainly have seen a big drop off in DDoS help requests to our support team – so much so that we have put our DDoS firewall enhancement plans on hold.

We were working on a feature request to block foreign IP’s by connection count as one of our DDoS triggers. It would work something like this:

A NetEqualizer customer sets a white list for public IP’s to let through (not blocked). Any other public IP hitting the network with more than X active connections would trigger an alert or possibly a block based on your preference.

We need to know if such a feature, or another DDoS approach would be better, based on your experience.

Let us know what you have been seeing as far as DDoS attacks on your network!

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Featured Testimonials

What our customers are saying…

We take great pride in ensuring our customers are happy with their NetEqualizer! You can find all of our customer testimonials on our website under the “Customers” menu.

Here are just a few testimonials that we’ve received in 2016:

Reed Collegeunnamed-6

“We’ve had NetEqualizers on campus at Reed for several years and continue to be very happy with the product. We have a very small staff and don’t have time to “tune” a device like a Packetshaper. Instead the NetEqualizer is protocol agnostic in the way it shapes traffic for most users but also allows us to quickly prioritize some traffic if necessary.

Over the years the NetEqualizer has saved us countless hours of staff time. We did lose some visibility into what is happening on our border network but our IDS/IPS replaced that functionality. NetEqualizer is an excellent product.”Gary Schlickeiser – Director of Technology Infrastructure Services

Thanks Gary for your kind words!

Edmonton Regional Airport Authorityunnamed-7

“We presently use two NE3000 units for Internet traffic control and monitoring in a redundant setup. At present we have a maximum of 600 Mbps Internet throughput, with over 300 IP addresses in use in some 120+ address Pools.

The NetEqualizer is a very useful tool for us for monitoring and setting speeds for our many users. Most of the feeds come straight off our Campus network, which is spread over a seven kilometer distance from one end of the airdrome to the other. We also feed a number of circuits to customers using ADSL equipment in the older areas where fiber is not yet available. Everything runs though the “live” NE3000!

Controllability and monitoring is key for our customers, as they pay for the speed they are asking for. With the RTR Dashboard, we continually monitor overall usage peaks to make sure we provide enough bandwidth but, more importantly, to our individual customers. Many customers are not sure of how much bandwidth they need, so using the Neteq we can simply change their speed and watch the individual IP and/or Pool usage to monitor. This becomes especially useful now as many customers, including ourselves, use IP telephony to remote sites; so we need to maintain critical bandwidth availability for this purpose. That way when they or we have conference calls for example, no one is getting choppy conversations. All easily monitored and adjusted with the Dashboard and Traffic Management features.

We also have used the Neteq firewall feature to stop certain attack threats and customer infected pcs or servers from spewing email or other reported outbound attacks, not a fun thing but it happens.

Overall a very critical tool for our success in providing internet to users and it has worked very well for the past 8 or more years!”Willy Damgaard – Network and Telecom Analyst

Thanks Willy! We are happy to help.

Cooperative Light & Powerunnamed-8

“Our company is an electric utility and we have a subsidiary WISP with about 1,000 unlicensed fixed wireless customers. We purchased our first NetEqualizer about a year ago to replace our fair access policy server from another company. The server we replaced allowed burst then sustained bandwidth so we weren’t sure if “equalizing” would work, but it works extremely well as advertised.

The NetEqualizer is stable and actually requires very little maintenance after initial configuration. In our case, we wanted to limit the upper end of what a customer could use (max burst). We were able to set that parameter in our wireless CPE’s. Then we set the equalizing pools for the size of our APs. The NetEqualizer can do a burst then sustained then burst at equal intervals, but to our surprise we actually didn’t need to use it.

We also purchased the DDoS Firewall and that is working nicely as well for quick identification of attacks. Perhaps the most important thing to note is the support is excellent. From sales to engineering the team is very responsive and knowledgeable. We were so impressed that we actually purchased a second NetEqualizer to handle the rest of our network. This company is A+.”Kevin Olson – Communication Manager

Thanks Kevin!

It is wonderful to hear such glowing feedback from one of our newer customers! If you would like to share your feedback on the NetEqualizer, to be highlighted in a future NetEqualizer News, click here to send us an email.

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Best Of Blog

Using NetEqualizer to Ensure Clean, Clear QoS for VoIP Calls

By Art Reisman
 
Last week I talked to several ISP’s (Note: these were blind calls, not from our customers) that were having issues with end customers calling and complaining that their web browsing and VOIP calls were suffering. The funny thing is that the congestion was not the fault of the ISP, but the fault of the local connection being saturated with video. For example, if the ISP delivers a 10 meg circuit, and the customer starts two Netflix sessions, they would clog their own circuit.
Those conversations reminded me of an article I wrote back in 2010 that explains how the NetEqualizer can alleviate this type of congestion for VoIP. Here it is…

Photo of the Month
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Hiking Near Caribou Ranch
It’s been unseasonably warm in Colorado this fall. We’ve been taking advantage of this by hiking in the mountains amidst the changing leaf colors. 
APconnections, home of the NetEqualizer | (303) 997-1300 | Email | Website 

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.

ddos

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.

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