Saisei has introduced virtual appliance software that it's calling "Net-Neutrality-in-a-Virtual-Box." The software enables network operators to allocate the exact same bandwidth to every user, regardless of what application they're running.
The software is designed for service providers facing the pending net neutrality regulations, as well as enterprises looking to improve customer service for hotels, colleges, passenger planes and any other facility that provides public Internet access. (See FCC Adopts Title II Rules .)
Net-Neutrality-in-a-Virtual-Box is a simplified version of Saisei 's FlowCommand network management software. Saisei claims FlowCommand can double network capacity without dropping or stalling user application sessions. By blocking all network traffic by default, and then letting individual flows through on a policy-managed basis, Saisei claims it can help network operators drastically increase efficiency. (See Saisei Boldly Claims to Double Net Capacity.)
FlowCommand, introduced in September, is a complex product, originally designed for service providers who have the skills and tools to manage that complexity. Saisei later decided to target enterprise customers, who aren't equipped to deal with that level of complex network management. "It's not as bad as the enterprise fear of the optical guys, but it's very complicated," says Jeff Paine, Saisei VP of marketing and business development. That's where Net-Neutrality-in-a-Virtual-Box comes in -- that software is preconfigured and ready to go.
Net-Neutrality-in-a-Virtual-Box could be particularly useful to the many enterprises that are effectively service providers -- hotels providing Internet access to rooms, airlines to passengers, and colleges to dorm rooms and public areas. The challenge for these companies is to avoid individual users flooding the network. "If I'm just doing a Skype call or voice, and the gamers next door start firing up their PSPs, they suck all the bandwidth out of the air, quite literally," Paine says.
The product runs on a KVM or VMware virtual machine or bare-metal server. The software assigns every network packet to a flow, and every flow to a host representing an individual user. Every host gets the same bandwidth regardless of the application. "Even if you have an app that generates 500 or 1,000 flows versus a neighbor just doing email, you both get the same bandwidth," Paine says.
And Net-Neutrality-in-a-Virtual-Box can easily be configured to give some users a little more bandwidth -- for example, hotel guests in premier rooms, Paine says.
Saisei is considering other preconfigured versions of FlowCommand for other usage scenarios, Paine says.
Net-Neutrality-in-a-Virtual-Box is available now, with prices starting at $10,000.