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


 AstroFlowGuard Frequently Asked Questions


 What is AstroFlowGuard ?
AstroFlowGuard 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. AstroFlowGuard allows you to monitor traffic and obtain detailed traffic statistics on your network.
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 Why should I use AstroFlowGuard ?
AstroFlowGuard 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, AstroFlowGuard ensures your mission-critical applications are given priority when they need it. AstroFlowGuard 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. AstroFlowGuard thus prevents dropping of packets and only does so as an absolute last resort.

AstroFlowGuard 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, AstroFlowGuard     provides a comprehensive set of tools to achieve the same goals.

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 Where should AstroFlowGuard 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 AstroFlowGuard, this is typically directly before your core router.

AstroFlowGuard 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 AstroFlowGuard ?
No. AstroFlowGuard 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 AstroFlowGuard control both incoming and outgoing traffic ?
It controls both, AstroFlowGuard 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 AstroFlowGuard ?
Yes, network managers of ISPs, Web-hosting facilities, IP telcos, and end-user organizations will all benefit by using AstroFlowGuard. 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 AstroFlowGuard 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 AstroFlowGuard 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 AstroFlowGuard up for failover in the following way. You will have to choose a primary AstroFlowGuard server and in the System Maintenance > Failover menu item set it up to be a primary server. We have made AstroFlowGuard 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 AstroFlowGuard 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 AstroFlowGuard hardware or software ?
AstroFlowGuard 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. AstroFlowGuard 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 AstroFlowGuard ?
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 AstroFlowGuard Cost ?

AstroFlowGuard 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 AstroFlowGuard 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 AstroFlowGuard licensing policy work ?
AstroFlowGuard is licenced per server according to the amount of bandwidth you need to manage. A licence key is issued specific to the hardware that AstroFlowGuard 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 AstroFlowGuard 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, you will need to contact Netsoft support with your existing licence key and your new licence file. Netsoft will then issue you a new key and expire the old one.

Here are 3 precautions to take when using AstroFlowGuard :

a. Ensure you use quality network cards (E.G Intel EtherExpress Pro 100)
b. Ensure that the hardware AstroFlowGuard 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 AstroFlowGuard ?
Go to our secure online purchase section and follow instructions from there.
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 Is AstroFlowGuard available as an Appliance ?
Yes. Go here to view details of the AstroFlowGuard appliance.
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 What about support ?

AstroFlowGuard 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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 AstroFlowGuard Links
  AstroFlowGuard Home
  Download 30 Day Trial
  AstroFlowGuard Install Guide
  Support Forum
 AstroFlowGuard Literature
  AFG Manual (pdf)
  AFG Overview (pdf)
  AFG Technical Spec (pdf)
  AFG FAQ (pdf)
 Purchase AstroFlowGuard
  AstroFlowGuard Pricing
  Secure Online Purchase