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Controlling Recreational Peer-to-Peer Traffic on Corporate Networks

Preserve Internet performance and control your costs

Category: Internet

Date: , 10:00

Company: Exinda Networks

Recreational Internet applications such as BitTorrent, Skype and MySpace are growing in popularity. Unfortunately, these recreational applications are negatively impacting corporations by congesting networks, stealing network bandwidth and causing business applications to perform poorly. Applying application acceleration and quality of service at Layer 3 does nothing to alleviate this issue. Companies need a way to detect and control recreational peer-to-peer (P2P) Internet traffic that is slipping past corporate firewalls. The most effective WAN optimization solutions have the ability to detect and suppress recreational P2P to preserve application performance and control Internet communications costs.

Controlling Recreational Peer-to-Peer Traffic on Corporate NetworksA White Paper from Exinda NetworksUntitled Documentwww.exinda.com   Exinda Networks White Paper                       Executive SummaryRecreational Internet applications such as BitTorrent, Skype and MySpace are growing in popularity. Unfortunately, these recreational applications are negatively impacting corporations by congesting networks, stealing network bandwidth and causing business applications to perform poorly. Applying application acceleration and quality of service at Layer 3 does nothing to alleviate this issue. Companies need a way to detect and control recreational peer-to-peer (P2P) Internet traffic that is slipping past corporate firewalls. The most effective WAN optimization solutions have the ability to detect and suppress recreational P2P to preserve application performance and control Internet communications costs. Recreational Applications Impacting Business Application Performance Recreational traffic has grown in popularity over the past few years. It is estimated that 70 percent or more of broadband bandwidth is consumed by downloads of music, games, video, and other content.* The Internet has become the tool for downloading and sharing video clips, audio files, photos and messaging. Some of the more commonly used applications are BitTorrent, Skype, QQ, Kazaa, Napster, Limewire and Morpheus. Another recent development is the common use of social networks. Not a day goes by that we don t receive several invitations to join LinkedIn or MySpace or get poked on Facebook. While these applications provide great entertainment and help people stay connected, their widespread recreational use has become an issue for companies. While it is difficult to get a precise figure on the amount of recreational traffic on corporate networks, a survey by Ashton, Metzler & Associates** from January, 2007 reveals that it is quite high. The survey suggests that streaming video and Internet radio are the most popular occurring on corporate networks 75% and 73% respectively. Type of Recreational Internet TrafficOccurrence of Recreational Internet TrafficStreaming Video75%Internet Radio/Streaming Radio 73%Instant Messaging    73%File Sharing (P2P)63%Online Gaming58%Controlling Recreational Peer-to-Peer Traffic on Corporate NetworksSurvey from Application Delivery Handbook by Ashton, Metzler & Associates1Untitled Documentwww.exinda.com   Exinda Networks White Paper                       These statistics are likely much higher for several reasons:" Many corporations have no visibility into the types of applications running on the network." The number of P2P applications has grown since the survey   was conducted.Employers spend 759 billion per year on salaries for which real work was expected, but not actually performed, as cited in a survey conducted by America Online and Salary.com in June, 2005. The study revealed that Web surfing at work for recreational purposes was cited as the number one time waster by 44.7 percent of more than 10,000 people polled.According to an article in Telecommunications International,*** more than half of all Internet traffic could be P2P derived. This type of traffic won t be going away any time soon. Therefore, companies must learn to control it. Recreational use of the Internet at work has far reaching implications beyond just the cost of employees not doing their work. These recreational applications drive enormous volumes of traffic over companies Internet links. This high volume of traffic increases communication costs by requiring bigger WAN and LAN links. It also increases congestion and delays for legitimate enterprise traffic. For example, while one employee is downloading an MP3 file, the entire branch office workforce may suffer from a customer interfacing application running terribly slowly. Aside from the application performance and cost issues, companies need to control P2P traffic because of its questionable content. The network is an important corporate asset that shouldn t be used as the transport medium for delivering illegal content, content that violates copyrights or pornography.WAN Optimization Technology Helps Detect & Control P2P TrafficSome WAN optimization products can help companies detect and control recreational traffic instead of simply optimizing all network traffic. The best WAN optimization appliances discover all the different types of traffic on the network, including P2P, and supply easy to read reports that reveal the top applications, URLs and hosts on the network.Once the various types of traffic are identified, a good WAN optimization appliance should allow you to set network policy to classify and prioritize business applications while blocking or slowing recreational P2P traffic. Web-based and streaming traffic are relatively simple to detect. But as previously mentioned, P2P traffic can be difficult to fnd. The most effective WAN optimization products use heuristics to detect P2P traffic. Heuristics is not an exact science. Therefore, some encrypted P2P traffic will not be immediately detected and classified correctly by WAN optimization appliances using heuristics. For example, in a production network it usually takes up to 24 hours after a WAN optimization appliance is installed to detect and classify encrypted P2P traffic using heuristics. However, once the encrypted P2P is detected, it can be accurately classified almost all the time. Non-encrypted traffic can be classified accurately 100 percent of the time. 2Untitled Documentwww.exinda.com   Exinda Networks White Paper                       ConclusionRecreational network use and P2P file sharing will continue to grow over time. Therefore, companies must find a way to manage it. WAN optimization technology combined with the detection and suppression of recreational traffic is one effective solution. Exinda Networks has a highly accurate solution for properly managing recreational traffic, including P2P fle sharing. An investment in this technology will pay large dividends by ensuring predictable application performance and containing recurring Internet communication costs. Footnotes* Zhenxiang Chen, Haiyang Wang, Lizhi Peng, Bo Yang, Yuehui Chen, A Novel Method of P2P Hosts Detection Based on Flexible Neural Tree, October, 2006, Volume 2, pages 556-561. ** Metzler, Jim, The Handbook of Application Delivery, Ashton, Metzler and Associates, January, 2007.*** McClelland, Stephen, Solving the P2P challenge: you can t measure it, you can t control it, and you don t make money from it. What will service providers do in the face of a tidal wave of peer-to-peer traffic demand? , Telecommunications International, December, 2004. 3

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