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Comcast/Sandvine Traffic Managment System Evolves
'Fairshare 2.0' can tackle more users, more quickly...
by Karl Bode 04:29PM Thursday Jul 23 2009
Sandvine Corporation, whose traffic shaping hardware sat at the heart of Comcast's P2P throttling controversy, was considered one of the tech-sector's hottest companies in 2007. However, things went south in 2008, when Comcast was investigated by the FCC for implementing traffic management technology that throttled all customers' upstream bandwidth by using TCP packet forgery. But Sandvine and Comcast adapted, deploying new "Fairshare" traffic management gear by Sandvine that was "protocol agnostic."

Instead of treating all customers the same, Sandvine's new solution was able to specifically target only heavy users, throttling back a user's connection only if their node was congested -- and the specific user was a major reason why. The new Fairshare technology was deployed by Comcast earlier this year, and given we've seen virtually no complaints -- it seems like a minimally-intrusive upgrade. Sandvine now says they've unveiled Fairshare version 2.0, which is capable of handling more users, more quickly. The feature list:
• Advanced reporting capabilities that support network capacity planning
•Improved congestion detection capabilities to help maintain network quality of experience
•Platform scalability to one million subscribers per server, reducing the overall cost of ownership
•An array of customizable policy options to meet network capabilities and business objectives
•Policy options including subscriber-centric approaches, application-centric approaches or, most powerfully, combinations of both
Sandvine says they've deployed the technology with at least four large cable, DSL and wireless operators, but isn't naming them. The one carrier we know that does use Sandvine gear (Comcast) may already have Fairshare 2.0 deployed across their network. The fact that none of you even noticed is a fairly good sign we've made progress from last year at this time, when Comcast was embroiled in a massive network nerd controversy for forging packets.

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