Thursday, September 2, 2010

Does the Education Market need Bandwidth Management?

Source: Allot Communications
The education market was one of the first verticals to adopt bandwidth management. Many vendors is this space - Packeteer (now Bluecoat) and Allot Communications sold QoS/Bandwidth management solutions for universities and other education institutes in the US, Europe and AsiaPac to protect their internet links against "bandwidth hungry applications" (i.e. P2P file sharing applications). Just recently, Procera announced that "Higher Education Keeps Moving to Procera Networks" (here) claiming "new customer wins with 31 universities in the second quarter of 2010".

While we do see signs that P2P traffic takes smaller share of bandwidth (see "Cisco - It is All About Video, and Less About P2P"- here), traffic management problems did not disappear and ISPs, Carriers and mobile operators are deploying large scale traffic management solutions. As education networks are very similar in their subscribers' usage patterns to the public network, they probably need to take similar approach. See an example - "IPad - A Traffic Management Problem for Universities" - here.

For this reason I was surprised to see that the JANET, the UK Education and Research Network decided to withdrawn its "BMAS" - Bandwidth Management Advisory Service saying that:

"For a number of years the Bandwidth Management Advisory Service (BMAS) has provided free advice and  guidance to JANET user organisations, helping them to maximise the efficiency of their bandwidth resources including both the JANET connection and inter-site links. Over the last year or two, the need for and the usage of this service has been decreasing. As a result of this, the service was withdrawn on 1st August 2010". JANET published in the past a document "Good Practice Guide for Bandwidth Management" - here.

While it is possible that P2P may not be the reason to deploy bandwidth management solutions, there are many other reasons which should be considered, such as QoS/QoE needs of voice and video applications, P2P uploads etc. 

Anyway, I see that Allot and Procera will participate in the EDUCAUSE 2010 exhibit.

1 comment:

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