I just got an eval PacketShaper 2500 for a few days from my local Bluecoat SE (Bluecoat bought them a few months ago). I actually used to work with these boxes just about everyday a few years back. I worked for a company that built apartment complexes for college students at a lot of major universities across the country. We acted as the ISP for the students, and these complexes would house 500-1000 students. These kids went EVERYWHERE on the Internet. There were so many different types of traffic flowing around on those networks, and there was A LOT of it. Students were constantly complaining about the slowness of there Internet connection. Every day I was getting calls with someone griping. So the company would spend a little more money and I would bond another T-1 to the two or three we had. We would see improvement for MAYBE a day (two if we were lucky), then that pipe would fill up.
So we decided to bust out with the Packeteer boxes. I would put in a box, and we would see every type of traffic imaginable within about an hour. Back then Napster and Kazaa were the big bad boys. These kids would kick off 10-20 downloads before they went to class and just let them run all day. Multiply that by at least 100 students, and that traffic would just consume the pipe completely. When that happened, the poor students just trying to surf the web for actual schoolwork would suffer horribly.
So when we started cutting that traffic off at the knees (either killing it entirely or making the bandwidth limit so low that it wasn’t worth it), things changed dramatically. All of a sudden people were able to surf the web. They could still download their music, but it would take a little longer (who cares if it is downloading while you are in class). Everything just improved, and the calls almost completely stopped. Of course, you always had the spoiled brat who complained because his DSL or cable at home was always fast and his online game never suffered there. It was always fun trying to explain to some punk getting a degree in underwater basket weaving that he didn’t have 900 other people trying to download porn and music on his DSL at home. What was more fun was explaining that I didn’t give a crap if Elf Quest was fast or slow and that he should probably be doing homework instead of screwing around with games. But I digress…
Anyway, good stuff. Click on the picture below to see some of the traffic on my little network (some purposefully generated by me).