Stay Connected:

Travel Centers and CirrusWorks

Truckers rank WiFi near the top of their list of critical services provided by travel centers. In remote locations, it is expensive and sometimes impossible to provide consistently fast Internet. Traditional approaches to improving Internet speed – from rate capping to adding more bandwidth – are expensive, time-consuming and often fall short of ensuring smooth, reliable network speed.

Designed by technology executives serving the hospitality industry, the CirrusWorks Governor takes a new approach to improving guest WiFi performance. Instead of purchasing excess bandwidth or configuring complex network monitoring, the Governor uses mathematical algorithms to automatically adjust bandwidth utilization based on user demand in real time. Since the Governor adjusts bandwidth dynamically – regardless of what users are doing – it is extremely effective boosting faster WiFi for guests at travel centers.

Benefits at a Glance
  • Improves your existing bandwidth optimization
  • Automatic updates, configuration and network monitoring
  • Enhances traditional network management tools
  • Lowers cost of bandwidth and IT support

TRAVEL CENTER IMPACT AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Increasing Demand for Data from a Diverse User Base

Travel Center guests represent a highly dense, diverse and unpredictable user base. Before breakfast, business travelers tend to sync email and exchange media-rich files. After dinner, business guests continue to place large demands on the Internet link through use of VOIP and video programming like Netflix and YouTube. These activities are generating WAN circuit congestion, packet delay and ultimately poor overall service quality for time-dependent applications. For guests this translates to poor quality of service and low satisfaction ratings.

Streaming Media

Increasingly complex streaming media, CDNs and SDNs put increasing real time demands on both the gateway and the WAN circuit connecting the Travel Center to the Internet. This in turn will generate WAN circuit congestion, “ISP buffer bloat”, packet delay, drops and ultimately poor overall service quality for all users and all applications. This will subsequently show up in poor service quality.

Adoption of Cloud-Based Applications

Recently, Travel Center brands are moving their on-premise IT to datacenter and cloud based operations.  While this has obvious benefits in terms of IT strategy, data integrity and IT cost, this move will cause the real time amount of data transfer over the Internet (WAN) to climb exponentially. With all data being retrieved and stored outside the Travel Center site, traffic that was previously relegated to the local LAN, is now transported (usually securely) with high overhead to/from an off-premise data center or cloud server.

NAC

The Internet Access Gateway or Controller (IAG or NAC) is also somewhat to blame for poor user perception of the connection quality. When streaming media first appeared on the scene, the NAC needed a way to stop a single user from overrunning or grabbling all the available bandwidth. This is called rate capping. When using rate capping, all users vie for the same Internet resource at a given speed, without regard to actual throughput availability or specific user data traffic volumes. Even when rate capping is applied to tiers or groups of users, the vast peak oversubscription of the Internet bandwidth will overshadow any effects from the rate caps. As a result, all users will continue to have a negative experience.

Additionally, the circuit is assured to be poorly utilized on a second-by-second basis because of the ISP buffer bloat and discard issues. So strict rate capping doesn’t really deliver what the user population needs.

Bandwidth Increases Are Not Enough

The Travel Center IP traffic flow problem is a complex data model that must account for the asynchronous end-to-end data flows of each application and user over time. When delays, congestion and poor connectivity are experienced on the network, the traditional course of action has been to increase the bandwidth of the WAN circuit. But simply increasing bandwidth will not solve the problem. The data protocols that deliver high volume traffic to users are designed to take advantage of all the bandwidth that is believed to be available. Therefore, demand rises to meet the upgraded bandwidth offered and continues until the new circuit is also overwhelmed during peak user loads. The relief from increased bandwidth is often temporary or non-existent. Simply opening a bigger pipe does not necessarily cure congestion, but it will increase operations cost.

CirrusWorks is Different

CirrusWorks has addressed this very complex issue by designing a dynamic congestion and traffic shaping device that can be placed within Travel Center LAN and provide automatic congestion control, WAN (Internet link) optimization and enforce user prioritization. This is done in real time, without application snooping and in a user neutral fashion.

CirrusWorks Governor (CWG) is a next generation bandwidth management engine that does not require rules or policies.CirrusWorks CWG is a cloud-managed, solid-state appliance (or server) designed for minimal configuration, and installation into almost any LAN configuration. The appliance is designed expressly for deployment into end-point LAN architectures supporting public facing Internet or mixtures of corporate and BYOD traffic.

The device works in conjunction with your existing gateway, and packet screening or application aware filters. It serves the function of performance management for your LAN.

BENEFITS EXPANDED

The CirrusWorks Governor next generation bandwidth management device provides the following benefits:

  • Reduces the Need to Add Surplus Bandwidth. Adding too much bandwidth is an expensive, short-term fix that rarely solves the data congestion problem, especially during peak usage periods. CirrusWorks ensures that your available bandwidth, regardless of circuit size, is maximizing its efficiency for all users.
  • Lowers IT Costs. Limited configuration is required in most network environments, making the Governor a good choice for busy IT staff. Advanced users can customize their setup for maximum control. Since the Governor engine automates the process for you, there’s no need for training or dedicated IT staff – saving you time and money. The Governor’s self-learning algorithm even improves network performance over time, making ongoing adjustments unnecessary.
  • Automated and Dynamic. CirrusWorks improves traffic flows by making instantaneous decisions about the optimal prioritization scheme to be applied to the traffic – all in real time. By constantly making “best fit” decisions, traffic becomes normalized and tends to stay optimized – averting the rushes and surges often seen in traditional packet shaping implementations.
  • Augments Traditional Packet Shaping. The CirrusWorks Governor was designed to co-exist with other packet flow devices on your network, including routers, firewalls, gateways, content filters, traffic shapers and L2 or L3 switches. The Governor complements your network, maximizing your previous infrastructure investments, and enables effective rate-capping to ensure guests and staff get the online experience they expect.

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