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Network flow control company Saisei released software that divides bandwidth equally among users in places ranging from offices to sports stadiums, so everyone has at least enough for most Internet activities.
Net-Neutrality-in-a-Virtual-Box, introduced this week, is a slimmed-down version of Saisei's flagship FlowCommand. Despite the name, the latest network flow control software has nothing to do with the Federal Communications Commission's adoption in February of a fair Internet usage mandate.
The software carves up bandwidth into equal portions for all users. The egalitarian approach prevents a few people streaming video from bringing everyone else's Internet connection to a crawl.
"This basically makes it really easy for a network admin to guarantee that everyone gets an equal share of bandwidth," said Shamus McGillicuddy, analyst for Enterprise Management Associates.
New software controls bandwidth flows
Saisei's products can provide Internet connectivity to a few dozen office workers or thousands of people in sports stadiums and universities. The latest software is limited to handing out equal portions of bandwidth. Building multiple tiers so one group of people gets a larger share than others will require licensing FlowCommand.
Saisei's technology in general identifies, monitors and controls bandwidth flows through the many Internet links in a network. Each flow can carry a data, voice or video session.
The software examines 40 different Layer 2-7 metrics to identify flows and enables network engineers to allocate bandwidth for each one, so no session gets interrupted.
Saisei's latest product not for everyone
How much bandwidth users get depends on the overall size of the pipe. Providing the same amount of bandwidth to everyone might be good enough for most people, but inadequate for those seeking the highest-quality video streaming.
The latest product won't be of much use to companies that need to dedicate more bandwidth, for example, for voice over IP.
"Not all traffic has the same requirements," Gartner analyst Joe Skorupa said. "Also, guaranteeing equal bandwidth is different than guaranteeing no session loss due to congestion."
In December, Saisei announced integration between FlowCommand and Hewlett-Packard's OpenFlow controller. HP's switching technology provides network managers with a single place to identify problems in bandwidth flows.
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