Managing Bandwidth Allocation and Consumption

Product Profile: Elron Software’s Bandwidth Optimizer

Most companies use the Internet to establish a Web presence, communicate through e-mail, do research and disseminate information, among other reasons. With more employees getting access to the Internet and connecting at the same time, competition for the available bandwidth is a growing concern. There is a need for a tool that can assist the network administrators by monitoring, managing and allocating bandwidth resources.

One solution is Bandwidth Optimizer from Elron Software. The software application not only monitors, analyzes and controls Internet connections, but it also helps network administrators create bandwidth usage policies and enforce them based on the requirements and priorities of a given organization. With the continuous monitoring of Internet connections and the setting of usage policies, low-priority traffic can be restricted, ensuring bandwidth for higher-priority traffic.

System requirements for the application include Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Workstation or Server with Service Pack 3 installed, a Pentium 166 or faster processor with a minimum of 64 MB RAM, up to 500 MB of disk space for database storage and 15 MB of disk space for software storage. Two network interface cards are also required for traffic shaping and monitoring.

Bandwidth Optimizer uses a Dynamic Traffic Control (DTC), which employs two traffic shaping techniques: queuing and TCP rate control. Based on the characteristics of the traffic being controlled, DTC determines when, how long and by how much to resize the TCP windows. Bandwidth usage policy rules can be created based on criteria that could include source IP address, destination IP address, priority band, service or application type, port, time of day or grants/limits on allowed bandwidth. The product is administered through a Web-based interface.

One company that used the tool to manage and control its network bandwidth was CGA Investment Management Inc., a New York-based financial services company. "Our Internet pipe would get slow, and our users wanted to know what was going on," says Ross Aseron, manager of information systems at CGA. After evaluating the bandwidth management tools in the market, Aseron selected Bandwidth Optimizer. "We tried the trial version. It seemed to work well and was fairly easy to install," he adds.

Bandwidth Optimizer’s reporting and graphing capabilities offer several real-time data views and can show statistics on bandwidth usage, congestion and retransmittals on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. Aseron says the product’s reporting abilities are a key feature. "I can get quick reports on my bandwidth, and I can make quick adjustments to the actual bandwidth allocation," he explains.

In CGA’s experience, product support has been excellent, "What problems I’ve had, Elron has taken cared of quickly," Aseron adds. Some of the improvements he would like to see in Bandwidth Optimizer include more comprehensive documentation, a detailed description of its various reports and the addition of a training CD.

Bandwidth Optimizer 2.0
Elron Software
Cambridge, Mass.
(800) 406-5828

www.elronsoftware.com
Price: $1,950 per 64 Kbps connection