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FastSoft TCP accelerator targets carrier systems

Posted: 10 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:TCP accelerator? carrier network? TCP protocol?

FastSoft Inc., a company with roots in a CalTech project to develop faster versions of TCP, will embed the FastTCP flow-control software in a 1Gbit/s platform, E 1000, intended for carrier and content-delivery markets. FastSoft elected from the beginning to offer standalone hardware platforms for TCP acceleration, rather than software.

FastSoft's original software work was funded in part by Cisco Systems, DARPA and the U.S. National Science Foundation, though that funding did not include the private company's effort to embed the protocols in a hardware platform.

Earlier members of its E Series family have been aimed at a variety of corporate and government accounts, but its WAN accelerators had to achieve 1Gbit/sec in aggregation to be considered in carrier backbones. FastSoft VP of marketing Dan Henderson said the company already is testing dual-core control-plane processors to use in a future 10Gbit/s accelerator, which will be needed in carrier networks using HD video distribution.

"Our customers were quite surprised they could get 1Gbit speed in a 1U size," Henderson said. "We won't be able to stick with 1U for a 10Gbit platform, but data center managers are always asking for the smallest possible power consumption and footprint, which we intent to follow."

FastSoft uses internal intelligent flow-control methodologies to set up proxy FastTCP loops whenever normal TCP procedures lead to bottlenecks. The company competes with both general-purpose WAN accelerator boxes from the likes of Silver Peak Systems and Riverbed, and with file-transfer software specialists like Digital Rapids and Signiant. Some IT managers also try to embed TCP variants from academia, such as TCP Reno and TCP Vegas.

The Riverbed style of WAN accelerator box is the most visible in data centers, Henderson said, but CDN and carrier customers are interested in platforms that scale, and that require no specialized client control or visibility software, which is where FastSoft can show a distinct advantage. The E Series platforms accelerate the first and last mile in file transfers and downloads, as well as the transactions within the cloud.

The E 1000 offers users the choice of copper or fiber 1Gbit interfaces, and the future 10Gbit product will continue offering a choice of physical media links. After addressing HD video with faster platforms, FastSoft's plans for 2010 call for extending the overall TCP acceleration environment to mobile clients.

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times

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