Book: How To Accelerate Your Internet: A practical guide to Bandwidth Management and Optimization using Open Source Software

Most of us still remember — and will for a long time — the book Wireless Networking in the Developing World, created 100% in a decentralised way by people scattered all over the world, free to download or printable through Lulu.

Rob Flickenger and Marco Zennaro did it again, this time joining efforts with Enrique Canessa and Martin Belcher in the editorial coordination, as long as many other contributors. The book is called How To Accelerate Your Internet: A practical guide to Bandwidth Management and Optimization using Open Source Software. I here copy the official release note:

The BMO Book Sprint Team is pleased to announce the release of the new free book, “How To Accelerate Your Internet: A practical guide to Bandwidth Management and Optimization using Open Source Software”.  The book was released in October 2006 under a Creative Commons license, and was written in an effort to help network architects understand and troubleshoot problems with managing Internet bandwidth, which often result in unnecessarily high operational costs in the developing world.

Network connections are very expensive in most parts of the world, and it is often costly and difficult to add additional network capacity.  Therefore, effective management and optimization of bandwidth is crucial.  Research and education benefit significantly from Internet resources, yet the majority of institutions take little or no action to manage their bandwidth usage.  This waste results in high operating costs, slow network connections, and frustrated network users.

The goal of the book is to provide practical information on how to gain the largest possible benefit from your connection to the Internet.  By prioritizing certain kinds of network activity, reducing the impact of spam and viruses, providing local content caching, and performing extensive monitoring and analysis of network usage, Internet consumption can be brought to manageable levels.  This makes it possible to provide equitable access for all users, even when the available bandwidth is quite small.

But technical solutions only solve part of the problem.  In order to prioritize network traffic, an organization needs to have a clear idea of the intended purpose of the network connection, as well as insight into how the connection is being used.  The book addresses this complex topic by covering the three major components of effective bandwidth management:  Effective policy, extensive monitoring & analysis, and solid network implementation.  In addition, troubleshooting techniques, advanced performance tuning tips and tricks, and real-world case studies are also provided.

The Book Sprint began with online correspondence via email, which led to an initial face-to-face meeting of bandwidth management experts from around the world in May 2006.  Intense online collaboration followed over the next few months, which then culminated in the production of the 300 page printed book, as well as a PDF and HTML version.  The book was sponsored by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (http://inasp.info), and was produced in association with the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (http://www.ictp.it), Aidworld (http://www.aidworld.org), and Hacker Friendly LLC (http://hackerfriendly.com).   By releasing this work under a Creative Commons license, the Book Sprint Team hopes to disseminate it as widely as possible, bringing this information into the hands of people who need it most.

The book can be downloaded for free, or a printed copy may be purchased at the book’s website: http://bwmo.net

Related to this, Marco Zennaro also points me to a conference given by Les Cottrell (SLAC) in Trieste back in October 9, 2006. Entitled Bandwidth Challenges and Internet World Records it deals with actual broadband challenges and what can Internet2 bring. It is tough stuff for non-techies, and files are quite heavy, but at least a quick view to the slides should be done (full presentation is 54’30” long).

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2006) “Book: How To Accelerate Your Internet: A practical guide to Bandwidth Management and Optimization using Open Source Software” In ICTlogy, #37, October 2006. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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