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How Do Businesses Scale Their Bandwidth Needs? 116

onebadmutha asks: "I'm technology admin for a very rapidly growing company. We've gone from a fractional T-1, to supplementing that with a snappy DSL line, and now we're running out of reasonable options. I've looked at routers that load-balance, but do so horribly. I've considered splitting up my network users to use several incoming DSL lines, only to be confronted with intranet accessibility issues. None of these provide the kind of redundancy and control that I'd like, and certainly not with a nice pleasant UI that doesn't cause me great grief. I've looked at Open Source router distros (like routerOS, and others) and I've looked at using the full gamut of Microsoft madness. How do other businesses solve this problem of scaling bandwidth needs, without completely unlimited budgets for redundant OC-48 runs?"
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How Do Businesses Scale Their Bandwidth Needs?

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  • Choices! (Score:5, Informative)

    by 222 ( 551054 ) * <> on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:09PM (#15432684) Homepage
    Well, at my company, we were recently faced with the same dillema.
    There are a couple of options available, though. Although my organization appears to be a bit larger than yours, we've decided to utilize a spare T1 that simply sits there for disaster recovery purposes with Policy Based Routing (We're an all Cisco network, although this can be done on a variety of platforms, including Linux..) This directs traffic from a certain IP (and possibly port, I believe) to a specific interface, so that important data (Citrix, etc) has access to our main pipes while web traffic gets the shaft, so to speak. It uses policy maps to do so; I'm relatively noobish to IOS so maybe someone else can shed some light on this.

    I'm hopefully certain you have explored QoS and are currently implementing it, but even QoS has limits.
    I'm pretty sure a combination of the 2 methods listed above should take care of you. As a network admin, I could care less if web traffic gets dropped on a cheap DSL or cable connection.

    Just my 2c, hope it helps ;)
  • Sonicwall 4060 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:18PM (#15432717)
    Our company uses a Sonicwall 4060 to load-balance two partial T1s. While it is a bit complex to set up, there's no lack of options on it. It's been extremely reliable too, I'd say its an excellent choice.
  • by packetmon ( 977047 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:25PM (#15432745) Homepage
    I currently work at a communications company (VoIP, IP, PBX, etc.) and I would suggest that before IT managers dish out money for connections, they sit and analyze traffic patterns and do some QoS, policy based routing before kicking out money for a faster connection. Many companies dish out unnecessary money for faster connections when all they have to do is creative filtering beforehand. You take out 20 audio streamers and I guarantee you some of those bottlenecks won't be an issue. I used to work in a small office with about 40 employees. I had a business cable connection with 5mb speed and ran VoIP services, Internet services, etc. without issues. I also set up some cache servers and streamlined what went and came in first, to make sure business came first no matter what. Best thing to do before ordering a faster connection is to do an analysis of the current architecture and go from there.
  • by 222 ( 551054 ) * <> on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:27PM (#15432749) Homepage
    I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing, but Multilink Encapsulation allows for multiple T1's to be seen as one interface, and I can't imagine an ISP that wouldn't support this.
    It (obviously) requires both T1's to be from the same provider, as there is configuration needed on both ends.
  • by Bios_Hakr ( 68586 ) <[xptical] [at] []> on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @01:06AM (#15433200)
    MRTG can create bandwidth charts for individual ports on most Cisco kit. Run it for 24 hours and then drill-down through the gear to find out who the abusers are.

    You could also install SNMP on the workstations themselves and track it back that way.

    Disable any unused ports and lock active ports to specific MAC addresses to stop the "laptop freeloader" from sucking bits on a rogue PC.

    Finally, start blocking all the ports for incoming and outgoing traffic. Open 443 and 80 for outgoing and then wait for people to call. Open ports on a per-user basis. Workers need department head approval. Dept heads need C*O approval.

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments