Bandwidth management becomes critical

Von Russell Bennett

We all know how important timely delivery of communications packets, such as e-mail, is for organizations to be competitive in today"s fast-paced world.

However, with the size of these transmissions steadily increasing, and the addition of new communications services being delivered over the same IP backbone, ensuring that this data has the bandwidth available for it to be reliably transmitted is increasingly becoming a key focus area for organizations across the globe.

This technology is particularly suited to the SA landscape, where simply throwing more bandwidth at the problem by adding bigger pipes is a costly exercise, with more and more organizations realizing that optimizing the usage of existing IP pipes is more cost-effective, and that with the right solution in place, it also brings new levels of visibility to the traffic passing over the infrastructure and its value to the business.

Technology Concepts Bandwidth Manager

South African Internet company, Technology Concepts Pty. Ltd. (TC), recognized this need some three years ago, and ever since has been offering a home-grown bandwidth management solution to SA customers looking to improve their WAN utilization.

"The need for more WAN headroom to reliably deliver critical communications packets across your business IP network became absolutely clear last year, as e-mails with richer data attached became ever more prevalent. We are currently seeing more and more organizations consolidating business applications onto central servers, and will soon see even more bandwidth-intensive applications like VoIP putting even more pressure on existing IP networks," comments TC MD, Wayne de Nobrega.

TC approaches bandwidth management with a focus on data prioritization, and developed the TC Bandwidth Manager, which has recently been updated to its second version. This product is deployed as a network-attached appliance, the implementation of which utilizes a custom Linux kernel to monitor and disseminate available bandwidth to network users, based on the priority of the communication to the business.

Continues De Nobrega: "In this version we focused on ease-of-use, and have included great new components like real-time bandwidth monitoring. TC Bandwidth Manager has also been developed on the understanding that it is interactive communications which really need prioritization, as well as real-time communications, to have a significant positive impact on productivity."

This organization provides a complete, remotely managed bandwidth optimization service, or will instruct customers" IT staff on managing the solution themselves. Prices are Rand-based and therefore very competitive, and scale according to the size of the pipe being managed.

Peribit PeriSphere

For those requiring an end-to-end bandwidth solution, one is available from veteran in the field, Peribit Networks Inc. Says Shane Buckley, president at Peribit: "Implementing a system like our PeriSphere architecture addresses a number of the top concerns for CIOs at the moment. It resolves QoS issues, addresses TCP layer problems, and ensures that there is enough bandwidth available by utilizing existing WAN links more efficiently."

The PeriSphere integrated architecture begins with a linear compression technique called Molecular Sequence Reduction (MSR) to compress data being transmitted, therefore saving the bandwidth required to deliver this data in an uncompressed format. PeriSphere goes on to deliver reduced latency through Packet Flow Acceleration, enhances QoS via dynamic load balancing, and provides network administrators with improved network visibility through granular traffic analysis.

SRS 5.0, the latest version of the software running on the Peribit devices, aims to provide this vision of "making the WAN perform like a global LAN", and to bring welcome enhancements, such as IPSec encryption, policy-based multipath routing, and automated deployment. Overlooking the entire infrastructure is a central management console, which is able to manage 2000 SR connections at a per device level.

Explains Buckley: "The trend towards consolidation of the communications architecture onto a single IP framework is driving all areas of networking towards centralization, including bandwidth management. In such an environment, the WAN becomes the bottleneck, resulting in longer connection times, longer response times, and exponential degradation of business-critical application performance. This is where PeriSphere steps in, and provides an end-to-end solution to these problems, all managed from a central location."

Technology Concepts and Peribit Networks bandwidth solutions share a common goal - making the most efficient use of existing capacity through built-in intelligence to deliver productivity gains and enable advanced network functionality like supporting a DR and back-up system.

And, as bandwidth needs continue to grow, and more services are added to the IP stack, managing this critical resource is fast becoming a necessity, lest it become unnecessarily costly.