A look at NetEqualizer

* NetEqualizer from APConnections

With all the talk of compression and caching in the application acceleration and WAN optimization markets, one vendor may be getting overlooked.

APConnections, the Lafayette, Colo., maker of NetEqualizer appliances and software, entered the traffic management and WAN optimization market in 2003. The company offers an automated tool to mitigate bandwidth on WAN links, says company co-founder, CEO and President Art Reisman. He says rather than using compression and caching techniques, NetEqualizer analyzes connections and then doles out bandwidth to them based on preset rules.

"We look at every connection on the network and compare it to the overall trunk size to determine how to eliminate congestion on the links," Reisman explains. One of the other benefits, he says, is that NetEqualizer can prevent peer-to-peer traffic from slowing down higher-priority application traffic, without completely shutting down peer-to-peer connections.

"Most of our customers don't want to use a heavy hand with employees or students at college campuses when it comes to peer-to-peer traffic. We offer the option to slow it down, and not necessarily entirely kill it over network connections," Reisman says.

NetEqualizer, once available as software only, is now packaged as an appliance that installs between a corporate firewall and switch. The product recognizes and classifies traffic to help customers understand the top talkers on their connections and their relevance to the business. It then slows down the "big users" and gives specified types of traffic lower priority. For instance, if an end user has more than 20 connections, then the end user is most likely engaging some type of peer-to-peer traffic. At that point, NetEqualizer kicks in preset policies to automatically re-allocate bandwidth from the less important applications to more business critical applications.

"The result is that you don't need an operator watching traffic all the time to be sure applications are getting the bandwidth they need," Reisman concludes.

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