Blog

BitTorrent and Its Impact on Network Performance

Posted by Rick Sternitzke on Feb 27, 2017 9:44:29 AM

Bit Torrent is a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) transfer protocol that allows for multiple source locations on an Internet to offer parts or pieces of an overall file download – all aimed at a single destination. It is multiple source, single destination by design. The following link is a good explanation of how the Bit Torrent Protocol works: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BitTorrent

When we think of Bit Torrent in-action, we think of illegal movie downloads. And there is still some of that large-scale, illegal file transfer going on. The traditional way to stop that activity was to employ an in-line packet screening device that used heuristic algorithms to determine that a client was engaged in P2P and that some or all of the sites were on the gray or black list. But that technology could not keep up with the constantly changing myriad of protocol variants, anonymous relay sites, local peers, etc. So most organizations gave up trying to stop illegal P2P because the economics of catching the few did not warrant the high cost of the sophisticated deep packet inspection filters. By 2012, most of the lawsuits had been dismissed, and most of the illegal activity settled into a pattern that most ISPs and service providers would just live with.

Now the bigger problem is legal P2P. The following is a small sample of companies and products that all use elements of a torrent or similar P2P loader/sharing technology:

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Topics: Technical Specs, bittorrent, hospitality technology, bandwidth management, network management, network performance

How to help travelers stay connected on the road, and stay on property longer, with great WiFi

Posted by CirrusWorks on Jul 21, 2016 3:36:30 PM

The trucking industry is growing, according to a report produced by Road Scholar Transport, driven by interstate commerce and the global supply chain. This means that a growing number of truckers and traveling guests will continue to seek out and rely on Travel Centers as a place to rest, refill and connect with home.

Unfortunately, WiFi in these remote locations can quickly become congested, with too many users competing for too little bandwidth. Before you know it, the Internet has slowed to a crawl and guests are completely frustrated. They can’t connect with home, relax with a movie or even log-on for work. They complain and quickly move on to their next stop, leaving the Travel Center short on loyalty and long on lost revenue.

Travel Center Managers are getting the picture. Fast, reliable WiFi is more than an IT expense – it’s a customer marketing investment that drives satisfaction, loyalty and on-site retail sales by keeping happy, engaged users on property longer.

For Sapp Bros. in Omaha, Nebraska, IT Manager John Miller needed a smart solution to improve the guest WiFi experience, especially during heightened times of WiFi network congestion. He leaned on the innovative new technology of "The Governor™" by CirrusWorks to help manage the busy networks and protect guests, staff and visitors from “bandwidth hogs.” Mr. Miller explained that "The Governor™ uses software to replace costly configuration and management protocols, making it measurably easier, cheaper and more effective to install and control Internet congestion."

The importance of high quality Internet connections on the road has never been more evident. For Sapp Bros. Travel Centers, fast and reliable WiFi is as important as clean facilities, fresh coffee and friendly service. Great WiFi keeps folks connected to friends and family while away for work, and helps them stay productive on the road.

To learn more about CirrusWorks and how the Governor improved guest Wi-Fi for Sapp Bros., please read our press release and watch our 2-minute video.

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Topics: WAN Optimization and Bandwidth Management, Travel Centers, News

How to tame the Internet hogs at college dorms

Posted by CirrusWorks on Jun 15, 2016 8:00:00 AM

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 20 million students are expected to attend American colleges and universities in 2016. Pearson states that 90% of students are using a laptop or smartphone on a regular basis. Further, MarketingCharts says each student owns an average of 7 tech devices, making campus Wi-Fi congestion inevitable. This is especially true during peak hours. There is nothing more frustrating to students then returning to their campus dorm room to find that they can hardly check class assignments or their Instagram feed because the Wi-Fi has slowed to a crawl. With more and more devices competing for bandwidth, the problem of crowded Wi-Fi networks in the dorms is directly affecting students’ ability to work, play and study online, and colleges have taken notice.

For the thousands of college deans across the United States, the challenge to accommodate the upswing in mobile device usage by providing more bandwidth to each student will only become more complicated: Cisco predicts that mobile traffic will grow tenfold by the year 2019.

So, what is the solution? It’s not just more bandwidth and more infrastructure. It’s making better use of existing network resources through intelligent bandwidth management.

Traditional methods for traffic shaping, rate capping users or prioritizing applications have been around for years, but those antiquated tools require expensive configuration, and most are completely useless on encrypted data.

CirrusWorks’ approach to bandwidth management is radically different – we use mathematical algorithms to determine the most efficient allocation of bandwidth to users on a crowded network. It is fully automated, and dynamically adapts to changing conditions in microseconds. In most dorms in which CirrusWorks is installed, the software is apportioning bandwidth among thousands of simultaneous devices so that no one user encumbers the population at large.

At CirrusWorks, we are continuously developing ways to improve the user experience on busy dorm networks - from the student pulling an all-nighter to the Millennial uploading her latest Instagram photo, to the guys in the dorm rec room streaming Netflix. CirrusWorks delivers simple, intelligent and highly effective bandwidth optimization to maximize Internet capacity on busy Wi-Fi networks. It doesn’t create more bandwidth, but helps you get more from what you’ve got.

To learn more about CirrusWorks and how we are helping colleges with bandwidth optimization, download our higher education solution brief here.

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Topics: WAN Optimization and Bandwidth Management, Rate Capping and Bandwidth Management, Education, Adding More Bandwidth

Marietta College Solves Student WiFi Problems Caused by Insatiable Demand for Bandwidth

Posted by CirrusWorks on Apr 19, 2016 12:26:09 PM

 

Marietta College Solves Student WiFi Problems Caused by Insatiable Demand for Bandwidth

 

 

MARIETTA, Ohio, April 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Tired of throwing money at more bandwidth every year with no measurable improvement, the network operations team at Marietta College set out to find a bandwidth management tool that could specifically address the problem of network saturation during peak usage periods. Like many campuses, students are overwhelming the public-facing WiFi network with myriad devices, applications and "heavy" data demands. At any given moment, hundreds of concurrent users compete for limited bandwidth capacity, congesting the network and diminishing the Quality of Experience (QoE) for the vast majority of students online.

 

The challenge was sorting through all of the technologies, and price points, available to network administrators. Most multi-function platforms address many monitoring, management and security issues, but few were purpose-built to solve the bandwidth congestion problems facing busy college WiFi networks. What is more, virtually none of them fully operate on end-to-end encrypted traffic!

 

Until they discovered CirrusWorks. Built by network operators to specifically address the data congestion issues caused by streaming, gaming and otherwise uncontrollable encrypted traffic, CirrusWorks has developed a unique bandwidth optimization platform that dynamically assesses and allocates bandwidth among multiple competing users on a network in real time, without static rule sets, complicated prioritization schemes or intrusive Deep Packet Inspection (DPI).

 

"We feel like we're able to come up for air," says Mike Robinson, Network Administrator of Marietta College. "Many products aim to do a lot more functions, but we needed immediate relief of our Internet congestion problems caused by overwhelming student demand for bandwidth during peak usage periods."

Continue reading on PRNewswire.Com

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CirrusWorks Partners w/ Boys & Girls Clubs of VA Peninsula

Posted by CirrusWorks on Apr 14, 2016 11:12:43 PM

 

CirrusWorks, Inc. Partners With Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula to Improve Internet Performance for Digital Learning

 

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., April 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- CirrusWorks, Inc. has joined forces with Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula ("BGCVP") in an initiative to improve the local chapter's Internet performance. The innovative technology supports the Club's mission to assist the community's youth to succeed in the digital age.

"We were introduced to CirrusWorks through Boys & Girls Clubs of Danville, VA" shared Hal Smith, Deputy Director and COO.  "We were intrigued with how the technology improved Internet performance for club members and administrative staff, particularly during peak usage periods when kids are utilizing multiple online learning tools."

"Our local Clubs are fortunate to have the generosity of Cox Communications to provide Internet access," furthered Hal.  "What CirrusWorks helps us achieve is a more efficient use of that Internet capacity, further enabling club members to do online homework assignments, prepare for Standards of Learning (SoL) tests, and prepare college applications during the brief, very busy time that they are in the Club's computer lab."

"CirrusWorks is proud to partner with the local Boys & Girls Club chapter in support of their Club Kids technology initiatives and to assist the Club's Administration in all the great work they do for the local community," said David Giannini, Chief Executive Officer, CirrusWorks, Inc. "Boys & Girls Clubs is an exceptional organization whose mission includes helping today's youth succeed in the digital world."

Continue Reading On PRNewswire

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“A Bigger Door..." Who Are They Kidding? Here's Why Simply Adding More Bandwidth is Never Enough

Posted by CirrusWorks on Mar 7, 2016 2:43:15 PM

“A Bigger Door..." Who Are They Kidding? Here's Why Simply Adding More Bandwidth is Never EnoughOriginally Published on October 13th, 2015

Busy Wifi networks are flooded with bandwidth-hungry devices. Mobile connectivity, cloud migration and video streaming are crushing local network capacity, leading to lag, latency and Internet congestion.

Of course carriers would love everyone to simply buy a “bigger door” (more capacity). But what they don’t tell you is that you’ll be back where you started before you are half way through your upgraded service commitment!

Why is simply adding more bandwidth never enough? Here are three basic reasons:

  • Web-connected applications are hogs – on busy WiFi networks, it’s every device for itself, literally. Without proper management, there is no fair queuing, so traffic is handled on a first come, first serve basis, leading to Internet congestion;
  • Devices are multiplying like rabbits; we now carry upwards of 5 devices per person, all pushing and pulling data to the Internet, 24/7;
  • We’re only human - our data consumption is insatiable, eating as much bandwidth as we can grab at the expense of everyone else.

As devices and traffic explode in volume, users “tap out” the link, congesting the Internet circuit. In short – data throughput rates are increasing far faster than capacity. Without intelligent bandwidth management, Internet quality suffers.

Carriers will tell you that bigger is better. At CirrusWorks, we believe that smarter is better.

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SD WAN and The CirrusWorks Governor

Posted by Rick Sternitzke on Feb 22, 2016 3:34:49 PM

SD WAN is the hot topic in wide-area enterprise networking today. In particular, SD WAN brings the promise of reduced enterprise network configuration complexity, application QoS and routing, and better MPLS and broadband WAN cost containment.

Enterprises adopting a hybrid SD WAN strategy now have several new remotely configured gateway hardware choices as well as add-in software modules to legacy routing equipment.

But application-centric routing does not solve 100% of the SD WAN technical issues. There are still volumetric issues that persist and cause poor WAN response times over the MPLS, commodity broadband and often over both transport mediums.

 

MPLS Link Flooding – It’s Still Volume vs. Critical Applications

Even after installation of SD WAN routing equipment, private applications running in aggregate over narrow band MPLS can cause poor performance impacts on mission critical transactional applications.

As examples, think about point-of-sale (POS) or accounting applications running over an MPLS that shares a transport infrastructure over which a private Microsoft network is running. System updates, PC file syncing and email can all cause negative performance impacts to your mission critical applications.

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Everything on IP

Posted by Rick Sternitzke on Feb 22, 2016 1:28:36 PM

The Internet of Everything – Disconnected

Whether its smartphones and computers or cars and refrigerators, we live in a world where our appliances are becoming increasingly Internet enabled. At the forefront of this push towards 24/7 connectedness is the hospitality industry. More than any other provider of guest-facing Internet, hotels see hundreds if not thousands of devices daily in the form of smartwatches, tablets, laptops, game systems, smartphones, plus hotel infrastructure and appliances, all of which are fighting for available bandwidth to perform critical functions.

The average guest is indifferent to the immense load that all these devices put on hotel networks, and rightly so. They anticipate a reliable network connection and expect it to work, regardless of whether they’re traveling for business or leisure. Hotels are aware of this growing burden on their networks and have been for some time, yet it continues to be a challenge in hospitality to get guests online and keep them connected at reasonable costs and with reasonable quality of connection. This presents an obvious question with a complex answer: why are hotels still struggling to deliver a reliable, reasonable connection to guests? To answer that question, we must first step back and consider the foundations of today’s network infrastructure.

Converged Competition

For almost 25 years, IT professionals have been trying to collapse and converge their WAN circuits and costs to a singular circuit (or primary circuit and backup data path). In the early days of the commercial Internet, the mantra was “IP on Everything”. This quote is attributable to Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the commercial Internet. Vint’s dream has largely been realized. As of 2016, it would be difficult to find any commercial application development that uses a message transport system other than IP.

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CirrusWorks, Inc. Technology Added to immixGroup IT Infrastructure/Cloud Computing Portfolios

Posted by CirrusWorks on Feb 18, 2016 2:19:38 PM

FALLS CHURCH, Va., Feb. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- CirrusWorks, Inc. announced today that it has entered into an agreement with immixGroup, an Arrow Electronics company, to offer its Governor™ bandwidth optimization tool on immixGroup's contract vehicles.  The Governor™ is a next generation bandwidth management engine that does not require rules, policies or deep packet inspection. The solid-state appliance is designed for zero-configuration installation into almost any LAN configuration, enhancing Internet performance in a fully encrypted network environment.

"As local, state and federal agencies are rapidly adopting cloud migration strategies, they need a network performance tool to ensure optimal bandwidth capacity for their public Internet traffic," said David Giannini, CEO of CirrusWorks, "and that bandwidth optimization tool must fully comply with their security, management and control requirements."

The CirrusWorks Governor™ automatically adjusts bandwidth utilization based on user demand in real time, regardless of what users are doing or how data is encrypted. "The Governor™ is extremely effective in unpredictable, high traffic network environments," said Giannini, "maximizing your investment in bandwidth, LAN infrastructure and network support costs, and ensuring fast and reliable Internet performance for all users, all the time." ...Read More at Newswire.Com

 

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CirrusWorks, Inc. Partners with Boys & Girls Clubs of Danville Area to Improve Internet Performance for Online Training Programs

Posted by CirrusWorks on Feb 1, 2016 4:42:54 PM

 

CirrusWorks, Inc. Partners With Boys & Girls Clubs of Danville Area to Improve Internet Performance for Online Training Programs

 

 

Danville, VA, February 1, 2016 (Newswire.com) - CirrusWorks, Inc. has joined forces with the Boys and Girls Club of Danville, VA (BGCDA) in an initiative to improve the local club’s Internet performance for online training programs. The strategic partnership supports the Club’s mission to assist the community’s youth to succeed in the digital age.

 

"Every day at approximately 2:00pm the Internet would slow to a painful grind when the students arrived at our facility” shared Faith Stamps, Executive Director.  “This was frustrating for students who utilize the Club’s computer lab for homework assignments, VA Standards of Learning exercises and preparing their college applications.”  Simply adding more capacity was impossible due to budgetary restraints, so Faith reached out to her community for alternatives.

 

Enter CirrusWorks, a Danville, VA technology company that is backed by local investment fund The Launch Place.  Their flagship product, The Governor™, installs in minutes, requires no configuration, and automatically adapts to changing network conditions without maintenance or support. The Governor™ fit her budget and was easily manageable by the Club’s limited IT resources...

 

Continue Reading on Newswire.Com

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