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11/17/2008
04:39 PM
John Foley
John Foley
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FastTCP Appliance Gains Traction

FastSoft, the two-year-old startup with an Internet accelerator appliance that employs souped-up TCP/IP, has two new customers. Limelight Networks is using the device to speed content uploads to its storage servers, and Getty Images has deployed it to hasten video distribution across long distances.



FastSoft, the two-year-old startup with an Internet accelerator appliance that employs souped-up TCP/IP, has two new customers. Limelight Networks is using the device to speed content uploads to its storage servers, and Getty Images has deployed it to hasten video distribution across long distances.FastSoft's innovations are its patented FastTCP protocol -- developed by the company's founders at the California Institute of Technology's networking lab -- and an engineering trick that makes it possible to boost file transfers using its technology at just one end of the transfer, not both. Users don't need an appliance or special software to upload or download content; everything is handled from a FastSoft appliance in the content manager's data center.

Getty Images, the stock photography company, has deployed one of FastSoft's E Series appliances in its London data center. Katey Schuyler, senior manager of Getty Images' Media Management Services, says video download transfers are up to 5 times faster through the FastSoft appliance. In one example, a broadcast quality video clip that used to take 75 minutes to transfer from London to Tokyo is now pushed along in 13 minutes.

Limelight Networks announced last month that it had upgraded the bandwidth of its content delivery network to 2 TB per second, making it, in Limelight's words, a "broadcast quantity" CDN. By that, it means that 2 TB per second is enough capacity to deliver content to the equivalent of four Nielsen ratings points of audience. Limelight is using FastSoft's technology to accelerate uploads to regional storage nodes on its network.

I first saw FastSoft's gear on display at Interop 2008 in Las Vegas earlier this year, and the demo of high-def video was impressive. FastTCP uses congestion control to avoid the conditions that cause TCP-related slowdowns. That includes an "estimator" to determine how many and which packets to transmit and when to send them, resulting in higher throughput.

For more on FastSoft and its technology, see InformationWeek's Startup Of The Week profile.

Addendum: This post was edited for accuracy on Nov. 18.

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