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Take back Control of Your Bandwidth

on May 18, 2012

It is a well known fact that IT Administrators are one of the least recognized and appreciated roles in a company. It is certainly true that people are quick to whine and fret when something is not working, but nobody calls to say “thanks” when everything is running smooth.

One of the most common complaints that IT administrators receive is that the Internet is slow. But no one seems willing to understand is that it is not your fault that the Internet is slow. In fact, the problem is not a lack of bandwidth, but is instead caused by the existing bandwidth being used inefficiently, or by it being eaten up by high bandwidth, non-work related websites.

Take back control with GFI WebMonitor

You can stop those annoying phone calls and questions as to why the Internet is slow by using GFI WebMonitor. This software has a number of great features that allow you to control your Internet connection to ensure fair use for everybody.

So what exactly can GFI WebMonitor offer you?

1. The real-time termination of large downloads – Did the CEO call you complaining that he can’t access his stock portfolio because everything is slow? If it wasn’t slow until a while ago, you can log into GFI WebMonitor and see if someone is downloading a massive file that is hogging your bandwidth. You company’s IT policy states that large files should be downloaded after office hours. So your solution has just three simple steps: you kill the download connection using GFI WebMonitor; you call the CEO and tell him that problem is solved; then you call the user and share your thoughts about bandwidth use with them.

2. Bandwidth quotas – Before you overreact and institute a company-wide block on YouTube, take a look at why it is being accessed. If users have made YouTube their radio channel, it can quickly become a serious problem. The solution is simple: GFI WebMonitor allows you to set bandwidth quotas which give each user a daily usage limit on video streaming websites like YouTube. For greater flexibility, different quotas can even be applied to different departments.

3. Blocking of bandwidth hogging websites – Some websites are simply a waste of bandwidth. The infamous MegaUpload used to boast that it received four percent of the Internet’s traffic with 50 million daily users. Many of those were corporate users and, although it is now shut down, there are many similar websites that are being used. Even the legitimate use of ones such as the popular DropBox can be bandwidth hungry. These sites can quickly overwhelm your connection, so blocking them or implementing quotas will ensure nobody is slowing the company down by downloading tonight’s HD movie over the corporate network.

4. Block streaming media within websites – Some websites, such as sports sites and news sites, stream a considerable amount of video as part of their content. Once again, these streams can quickly overwhelm a connection. Certainly we are sure to see a spike in media website usage with the upcoming London Olympics and Euro 2012. With GFI WebMonitor you can block the stream without blocking the website itself, thereby saving vital bandwidth.

5. Bandwidth consumption alert – the above are all great features, but maybe you just want to allow people to monitor themselves. However, you still need to be able to enforce policy on those that don’t play by the rules. But what can you do? Monitor the connection constantly? GFI WebMonitor features real-time graphs that allow you to set up notifications based on specific criteria. For example, you can set the software to alert you when someone has consumed 500MB of downloads in an hour, or more than 5GB in a day as these are obviously anomalous situations. You will be advised via email and you can then handle the situation on a case-by-case basis.

6. Bandwidth dashboards and scheduled reports – GFI WebMonitor features easy-to-use bandwidth specific dashboards and bandwidth only reports. This allows you to quickly analyze usage trends, commonly visited sites, prolific users, peak usage times, projected downloads and uploads and many, many more variables to give you a complete picture of what is going on in your network.

GFI WebMonitor therefore offers you a powerful toolkit to ensure you can apply a fair Internet usage policy across your network, allowing everyone in the company to use critical Internet applications without being bogged down by useless bandwidth demands.

Have a look at what GFI WebMonitor can do to improve your network web security system, or just download a free trial and give it a spin!

 

About the Author:

David Attard has been working in various roles in the IT Industry for more than 10 years. He currently specializes in the Internet security space. He is Product Manager for GFI WebMonitor® at GFI Software™.

 
Comments
Scott Parmet May 18, 20129:53 pm

It’s a big difference between standing over their shoulder and watching everything they do and benchmarking, for example, the miles-per-gallon of your engine. If anyone tries to tell you these two behaviors are the same, you need to make it very clear that it’s your job to keep your business’s engine running.

Andy Anderson May 28, 20124:00 pm

Contrary to what others might think, a bandwidth monitor can actually save professional relationships. People don’t need to feel “watched” or “monitored” when a company uses it. It helps to manage resources without having to instigate stringent “no unnecessary web surfing” rules and have supervisors watch over the PCs of their team members all the time.

This might even reduce the use of “screen shot” programs that companies install in their workers PCs so they’d know what their people are looking at at the net. Maybe, not entirely replace those programs but limit the regularity of how often it takes snapshots. Those programs hog computer resources, too, you know.

Candice Telano May 31, 201210:25 pm

Andy is right on the money. And even if it’s really more of a human resource or management decision to install keyloggers or screenshot programs rather than the ITs, most often than not, it’s the IT personnel who gets the flack if a staff member complains of slow computer performance because of those monitoring software.

That is too bad for your IT people who take the brunt of your staff’s resentment. That’s a stressor, you know. Not only does it strain the dealings between your IT and your other personnel, it affects the mood of the office that infects other people.

I should know.

Mike November 13, 201210:26 am

This is all well and good, except for one little thing – GFI seems to have no comprehension of the term BANDWIDTH. Everything that’s been advertised as bandwidth control in this product is actually simply data allowances. There’s a big difference between a bandwidth limit and a data allowance, and allowances don’t solve slow internet issues! Imagine you have a 100Mb/s link to the internet, but at peak times your users are using bandwidth intensive applications. You could set a data usage limit as GFI now allows, to limit each of them to 10MB a day. However, they can all still transfer that 10MB at up to 100Mb/s, and then afterwards, they’re cut off. With a bandwidth limit, you could limit each user to 1Mb/s on that particular content – they can then use as much as they like, but you’ve limited how much of the 100Mb/s total bandwidth they can consume – this is similar to traffic shaping, and all big consumer ISPs do it.

 
David Attard November 14, 20121:48 pm

Quality of service or bandwidth shaping which is the feature you are mentioning is not something which is supported by GFI WebMonitor however the features implemented by the product are still sufficient to provide adequate bandwidth control to most SMBs. This feature is on the product backlog.

Mike November 14, 20124:06 pm

I’m aware GFI doesnt currently support any kind of QoS or bandwidth shaping, however the marketing implies you do, which is false advertising. Everything in the post you made, and throughout the Webmonitor application, the word “bandwidth” is used where the phrase “Download Quota” would make more sense. There is no way setting a quota allows a company to control bandwidth consumption to any great extent. What if as a school IT department, I want to allow the use of youtube, but limit each user to non-HD content? not possible – they’ll just eat their quota faster. I feel your marketing department needs to have a chat with the technical team, and if you still are not in agreement, look up the definition of “Bandwidth”

 
David Attard November 14, 20125:38 pm

Mike, I would have to disagree with your statement here. Bandwidth control is a set of features, some of which are implemented by WebMonitor, others which are yet to be developed. We don’t advertise “Quality of Service” or “Bandwidth Shaping” and hence there is no false advertising going on.

 
Mike November 15, 201211:11 am

David, thank you for your response. I would like to point you in the direction of the definition of “bandwidth control” – “Bandwidth management is the process of measuring and controlling the communications (traffic, packets) on a network link, to avoid filling the link to capacity or overfilling the link, which would result in network congestion and poor performance.” Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandwidth_control