Do any of you impose Cap limits on your customers? If so, what software/hardware do you recommend for this?
Yes, we run our DSL customer base through PPPoE and are in the process of migrating wireless customers to this system as well.
We just use the Mikrotik router for limiting the PCR (maximum rate) and QoS on the SM for prolonged heavy load (limiting on sustained rate)
Thanks for the responses, but i mean something like the following:
Customer subscribes to 512/768k package with 5Gb cap
When the customer usage reaches 80% of this, they get a notice, then at 100%, they either get throttled to a different package, 128/384k for example, or they remain on the same level, but get billed extra.
Take a look at http://www.powercode.com
We are in process of implementing their solution with this feature. Realize that it is a billing / bandwidth / inventory / ticketing / etc. solution so is not cheap, you also have to implement an imagestream router along with either a hosted solution or your own server.
Overall we have been impressed with the features and functionality.
Avoid powercode at all costs. Their product is terrible and after $3000 and months of work it still doesn’t work properly. I’m trying to get a hold of the owner of the company for a refund currently.
I concur with RyanR. Powercode IMO has to many issues. I attended a presentation of it and the software had some flashy stuff but was from what we could tell, designed for only a WISP in mind.
And don’t get me started on the cost of the add-ons. I wouldn’t even take the time to demo it myself from the presentation given.
The only problem we have experienced is getting someone on the phone that has half a clue. Any issues we had where resolved in about 10min on the phone with the right person.
Powercode seems like a good solution. Its the Imagestream router that I do not like. Seems unstable as a router platform and has too high of a failure rate to use a core device IMO.
We use an Allot Netenforcer for packet shaping which works quite well.
Powercode… has potential. I wouldn’t say it’s been fully realized just yet though. There have been a lot of changes in the last few months and things are improving. But it’s caused a few headaches along the way too.
The biggest thing is the lack of documentation, or at least up-to-date documentation for all the new functionality they’ve been adding. Also, powercode requires customers to be proactive about not going over their cap. If they don’t get/check the usage emails, or log into the website, they can rack up a pretty good bill. The webpage redirect functionality could be greatly expanded for this (or documented better if the functionality is in there…)
I have no experience with imagestream, but I like the idea behind having powercode work with a device like that. We currently just use an old linux server as our BMU (which I understand is really all imagestream routers are, anyway.) The machine we use is probably overkill and if we didn’t have it collecting dust anyway we probably would have went with the imagestream setup for the simplicity of it.
Would we do it again? Not sure. My manager could include a lot more on the list regarding the nature of the Billing end of the software. We’ve learned a lot since we first set it up. When it works, it’s pretty much set and forget though, and it definately beats the “nothing” we had before.
I’ve never looked into alternatives to powercode though, either.
Just letting everyone know that after a week with an email to email@example.com regarding these issues he still hasn’t emailed me back but instead passed me off to the helpdesk. I got two responses back to the four concerns I expressed in my email, all deal breakers. However I did not get any response back from John, it’s like he forwarded the email to the helpdesk to address my concerns and ignore my request for my money back. So far I am not impressed in the least about how he’s handling this and I’m about ready to phone the company 24/7 starting monday. I’ll give him another 5 days to respond to my email personally and address my concerns properly before becoming the annoying customer.
Avoid powercode. AVOID POWERCODE
I’m starting to favour the anti-powercode side too now. I won’t go into detail right now, but basically, a useless phone call, a couple well detailed support tickets and 0 response as of yet to a fairly major problem. I fixed it myself in the end, but would it have killed them to at least acknowledge us? And really, it’s still not working 100%.
The irony is that this came about literally as they did an update that we requested like 3 weeks ago.
To their credit, I will say there were other problems at the same time muddling the issue. It’s just the lack of response that gets me. (Considering the prompt response from other parties involved in the problem.)
Lets go Powercode Lets GO! I cant begin to tell you my disgust with powercode. Let me preface with this, when it is done being a beta product, it will be awesome. We are one of the many “beta testers” powercode has signed on. Granted, we didnt know we were beta testers when we purchased into the solution.
Good luck getting help. We currently have a core BMU with failed DHCP and some other throttling freakiness going on. They told us they needed to get on while it was failed, this was 2 weeks ago, they still havent got on, the bmu is still screwed up.
I LOVE POWERCODE I LOVE POWERCODE!!
They do a good job of capping customers, really, theyve taken down our subscribers twice now, talk about capped.
You guys are nuts for putting in whole new routers and billing systems just to handle gigabytes/month. Most of you already have Cisco routers (or Linux or OpenBSD or whatever) that is capable of exporting netflow data, either natively (Cisco and competitors) or with some additional software (open source routers).
Just export netflow to flowd and write a script to insert the appropriate item into your database to bill them (or send them an email, or whatever)
Easier said than done? Hiring someone to write a script to deal with netflow data is a whole lot cheaper than overhauling your network/billing system to deal with it.
I’ll update my last post here now:
I had a good chat on the phone with one of their guys, and got the ball rolling. I’m not impressed with how they told us to basically dump the BMU we have for an imagestream BMU. Would have preferred to have done that right from the start. All around, I just get the impression that they are way under-staffed.
It’s funny you say that twinkletoes…
Well, in our case, we went from nothing to this. 100 customers had public IP’s and were plugged into an unmanaged switch. And at the same time were told they had a cap. :roll: Billing was all based off of an excel spreadsheet too, if I recall correctly.
So, I’d say we definately moved up with them. But then again, manually writing down the outoctet count in the SM every day would have been a move up…
But here is a good question, one that I recently started thinking about, and since you seem to be knowledgeable on the topic, let’s say we happen to have a cisco 2811 kicking around (from a side project that didn’t go through), and assuming I have no idea what it is capable of myself, what would be involved to get it to do the following:
-keep track of number of MB a customer downloads/uploads,
-lock their speed to some variable kbps
-point customers who haven’t paid/have wrong IP/no known account to webpage telling them this
-warn them when they do go over
I’ve got a guy who knows enough to do a basic setup of cisco gear, though with enough prodding he might be able to get it doing more stuff.
I’m personally keeping an eye out for alternatives, but the “all in one” part of powercode is quite nice. Like I said earlier though, we don’t really know better…
You’d have to look into the capabilities of the 2811 with regards to that, but it sounds like your ideal solution would be to run PPPoE and use RADIUS for taking care of speed and transfer caps and billing stuff. It’s a bit of work but well worth it. (we use FreeRADIUS in house)
We have all of our network running off of mikrotik routers although we do use QoS on the SM itself it is possible to do QoS through queues with mikrotik including cap limits and say if they hit 5gb then drop then it can throttle them down to a lower speed and disconnect altogether.
We have had use that in some cases with peopl;e using p2p downloading mass amounts of files and it works quite nicely
I’ve been in contact with PowerCode and John for the last month. Things SEEM to be rolling along nicely. The software still isn’t 100 percent (maybe 70) and you will be a beta tester still at this point if you sign on. I would like to see some sort of lower prices still for signing on as this will not do what it says on the website. Especially in our case where many aspects of the software is geared towards the US. (Zip codes, 9 digit bank numbers, gateway provider requires you to open up a US bank account to process bank accounts, etc.)
Another one of my gripes is that you have to implement a imagestream router at each tower to have many of the settings take effect. Because we were on a terrible network design before I am hesitant to route everyone through the router so I split the router into a different vlan and I am moving people gradually until everyone is on it. Although I’m still not in love with the solution it’s going along okay. I still wonder why they don’t use SNMP for calculating bandwidth. Here’s a response I got from one of the support techs at powercode.
"With snmp you have total counts on anything, pings ,any sort of traffic, that hits the device causes a counter to go up…If you an isp, you may not want things like pings, snmp querys, visiting internal servers, to count towards the customers bandwidth, therefore the bmu watches what goes in and out to the internet from it…Then you have an accurate count of how much bandwidth a customer has used in and out to the net… As for how it works its simple…When you create, say, a service plan for the customer , lets say 1.5 by 1.5Megabits, powercode takes the ip address on the account, creates a tc class(traffic control) class and all traffic destined and originating from that ip address is filtered through that class, this class has counters, they both go up, one is download and ones is upload, powercode uses this to get its stats… Your verry right about snmp, however, sometimes its a pain to get the info you want from it…ie oid strings…they are not all the same for the info you want to gather, We do our best, but for things like ,say canopy… the oid string for what you want almost changes every firmware release… Imagine having your snmp bandwidth gathering broken when you do an update…pain…ip is simple… "
I pretty much disagree with him but whatever. I can’t see SNMP polling or pings adding that much to the tally. This would also let us not run through the router and still collect bandwidth stats. Updating the UUID also doesn’t seem like it would be a big hassle and it’s not like you’re going to be upgrading your canopy network to the latest version as soon as it comes out. I’m still not 100 percent impressed but I’ll keep you all updated on the situation.