FAQ Index
1. What is AstroFlow Bandwidth Management ?
2. Why should I use AstroFlow ?
3. Where should AstroFlow be installed on my network ?
4. Does my network need to be changed to run AstroFlow ?
5. Does AstroFlow control both incoming and outgoing traffic ?
6. Can both ISPs and enterprises benefit from using AstroFlow ?
7. How many classes and filters can I create ?
8. What about failover ?
9. Is AstroFlow hardware or software ?
10. How do I get AstroFlow ?
11. How much does AstroFlow Cost ?
12. How does the AstroFlow licensing policy work ?
13. What is a licence key ?
14. What if my network card breaks ?
15. How do I purchase AstroFlow ?
16. Is AstroFlow available as an Appliance ?
17. What about support ?


 AstroFlow Frequently Asked Questions


 What is AstroFlow Bandwidth Management ?
AstroFlow is a linux-based bandwidth management solution that ensures high-quality network services, regulating an IP networks' bandwidth usage. It enables you to control the bandwidth and priorities assigned to specific protocols, ports and hosts. AstroFlow allows you to monitor traffic and obtain detailed traffic statistics on your network.
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 Why should I use AstroFlow ?
AstroFlow enables you to control a critical resource, your network. Network traffic is unpredictable, an unmanaged IP network handles traffic on a FIFO (first-in, first-out) basis. Controlled network behavior is critical, AstroFlow ensures your mission-critical applications are given priority when they need it. AstroFlow prevents congestion at routers by buffering network traffic before releasing it to routers thus ensuring that the traffic flow never exceeds the bucket size capacity of your routers. AstroFlow thus prevents dropping of packets and only does so as an absolute last resort.

AstroFlow provides significant cost savings:

a. You can fully optimise your network therefore saving costs on expensive WAN links.
b. Your organisation's efficiency is increased.
c. You can guarantee mission-critical applications get priority.
d. At a fraction of the cost of other bandwidth management products, AstroFlow     provides a comprehensive set of tools to achieve the same goals.

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 Where should AstroFlow be installed on my network ?

It should be installed directly in front of your network's default gateway or between two networks so that the traffic has to flow through AstroFlow, this is typically directly before your core router.

AstroFlow uses a transparent bridge system so no reconfiguring of your network is necessary.

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 Does my network need to be changed to run AstroFlow ?
No. AstroFlow uses transparent bridging to pass traffic, you do not need to modify your network in any way or reconfigure your routing tables.
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 Does AstroFlow control both incoming and outgoing traffic ?
It controls both, AstroFlow manages traffic in both incoming and outgoing directions and these are independently controlled by the administrator.
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 Can both ISPs and enterprises benefit from using AstroFlow ?
Yes, network managers of ISPs, Web-hosting facilities, IP telcos, and end-user organizations will all benefit by using AstroFlow. ISPs can offer value-added services that act as key differentiators, such as providing several service classes for which customers can be charged accordingly.

By installing AstroFlow on their networks' major links and known congestion points, large corporations will receive immediate benefits in terms of guaranteed bandwidth for mission-critical applications, increased network efficiency, reduced congestion, and detailed network usage statistics and reporting.

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 How many classes and filters can I create ?
There is virtually no limit to the number of classes, sub-classes and filters you can create. The only thing to remember here, is if you are going to use AstroFlow on a large network with many classes and filters, you will need to compensate by installing it on an adequately powerful server.
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 What about failover ?
Yes you have the option to set AstroFlow up for failover in the following way. You will have to choose a primary AstroFlow server and in the System Maintenance > Failover menu item set it up to be a primary server. We have made AstroFlow recognize user ID 0 (zero) as the primary server and any other servers would then be 1, 2 and so on depending on how many you would have running in parallel.

You could then save your configuration on your primary AstroFlow server and restore it on your secondary server and enable bandwidth management on both. All traffic will flow through the primary server until (if) something goes wrong, at this stage the secondary server will automatically take over with no interference at all, when the primary server comes up again it will resume full operation.
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 Is AstroFlow hardware or software ?
AstroFlow is a software bandwidth management solution that is built on the 2.4 Linux kernel. We have written our own customised distribution that is not based on any other linux distribution. AstroFlow is installed via a bootable CD and completely takes over the hardware it is installed on by a completely customised Linux-based operating system
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 How do I get AstroFlow ?
Download the ISO image from here. Write it to a CD and boot from the CD to install.
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 How much does AstroFlow Cost ?

AstroFlow is available for different bandwidth configurations and is priced according to the amount of bandwidth you need to manage. It is possible to upgrade your copy of AstroFlow to higher data rates at any time - you will simply pay the difference between your current version price, and your required bandwidth price.

You can see the pricing structure here.

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 How does the AstroFlow licensing policy work ?
AstroFlow is licence per server according to the amount of bandwidth you need to manage. A licence key is issued specific to the hardware that AstroFlow is running on. This key will not work if any of the hardware is changed and a new key will need to be issued.
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 What is a licence key ?

A licence key is a string of characters that you would obtain from Netsoft after generating a licence file and sending it to Netsoft. This licence file is generated according to the specific hardware that AstroFlow is installed on and thus cannot be used on a different server other than the one it was generated on.

A DEMO key will work with any hardware for a period of 30 days but the following restrictions apply:

a. Only 5 Classes can be created.
b. Only 5 Filters per class can be created.
c. Only 5 ports will be discovered in Auto-Configure mode.
d. Bandwidth Management will be disabled every 6 hours.

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 What if my network card breaks ?

In the unlikely event that your network card breaks, it will take a little time to process a replacement key as you will be required to send us your broken network card. Netsoft will replace your key for a processing charge of $50.

Here are 3 precautions to take when using AstroFlow :

a. Ensure you use quality network cards (E.G Intel EtherExpress Pro 100)
b. Ensure that the hardware AstroFlow will be running on is known to be stable.
c. Do not obtain a licence key on hardware that you intend to change in the future.

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 How do I purchase AstroFlow ?
Go to our secure online purchase section and follow instructions from there.
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 Is AstroFlow available as an Appliance ?
We are looking at producing AstroFlow appliances in bulk, however, at this stage the demand is more for a software solution. If you would like an Appliance version, please contact us and we will gladly put one together for you.
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 What about support ?

AstroFlow incorporates an auto-update feature which will automatically update the software if any updates are available. Netsoft provide all updates via our update server if any bug-fixes or enhancements are made.

In the unlikely event that additional support is needed, you can purchase a support contract from Netsoft at these rates. We are always available for email support if the need arises.

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 AstroFlow Links
  AstroFlow Home
  Download 30 Day Trial
  AstroFlow QuickStart Guide
  AstroFlow Install Guide
  Online Help
  Support Forum
 AstroFlow Literature
  AstroFlow Overview (pdf)
  AstroFlow Technical Spec (pdf)
  AstroFlow White Paper (pdf)
 Purchase AstroFlow
  AstroFlow Pricing
  Secure Online Purchase