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Sunway Digital Wave tames bandwidth hogs with better flow control

ITEM: Malaysian networking and telecommunication solution provider Sunway Digital Wave (SDW) has – or rather, had – a problem with bandwidth hogs, and was in search of a solution that could not only ensure fair usage of bandwidth, but work with the SDN architecture that SDW is currently deploying. In short, SDW’s network planners and operations staff needed targeted, real-time analysis of traffic and bandwidth usage.

And they got it – via specialized flow-control technology that provides real-time fair usage and greater network visibility, analytics, control and security.

Background: SDW is the  primary network infrastructure and Internet managed services provider to Sunway Group, is one of Malaysia’s largest property-construction groups whose businesses include a hotel chain, retail malls, medical centers, office towers, real estate properties, university campuses, student accommodations, and theme parks. SDW’s mission is essentially to supply internet connectivity and managed services to all of them.

As bandwidth demand continues to grow, and as SDW’s footprint gets larger and more diverse (in terms of locations, apps and devices), SDW has been migrating to SDN to support those needs and deliver a consistent, high-quality experience.

But it has faced a fundamental challenge: the first and largest users connecting to network were consuming the lion’s share of bandwidth at the expense of newcomers, says SDW’s assistant general manager Daniel Soh.

“What we saw was a group of users would grab all the bandwidth and not let go, hogging the bandwidth from new entrance users,” he says. “The users with the highest consumption would remain and the other users didn’t get their fair share of bandwidth.  We started to get complaints about network performance, particularly from internal customers who were frustrated by slow applications and Internet access that wasn’t enabling them to do their jobs.”

After trying several orchestration, WAN optimization and DPI solutions, Soh says SDW eventually deployed software from network performance enhancement firm Saisei, whose proprietary flow-control software solution (FlowCommand) now sits in SDW’s network operations center behind its firewalls.

“Customers get what they pay for and we can deliver the bandwidth needed for a high-quality, reliable and consistent user experience,” says Soh.

According to California-based Saisei, FlowCommand guarantees that everyone has equal access to the network regardless of how many users are on it or what apps they’re using – to include YouTube traffic or P2P apps. The software identifies, monitors and controls every flow on a broadband link in real time with no impact on network performance.

SDW’s Soh says FlowCommand’s analytics allows the NOC to identify traffic details on all users, applications, and locations on the network, and provide customers proactive policy enforcement, reporting, and analytics on their applications, users and dynamic bandwidth usage.

“We can see bandwidth usage and types of traffic coming through, and can even report this back to customers on a regular basis so they can take actions as needed,” he says. “Once a customer gets up to 90% bandwidth usage, for example, we get an alert to tell us how to react to the customer and upgrade them if we need to. And we can react fast – within three to four hours.”

Soh notes that control of SDW’s bandwidth is better across the board. “We’ve improved bandwidth utilization by more than 30%, which has translated into a more than $80,000 bandwidth cost savings and delayed capex on upgrades for more than six months.”

Additional benefits include real-time network traffic forensics, faster troubleshooting and the ability to provision new broadband tiered services to residential and commercial clients in new regions outside of the Sunway Group.