New technology claims network traffic reductions

Peribit Networks Inc. in Santa Clara, Calif., introduced yesterday a new technology that some users and analysts said is a breakthrough that could solve congestion problems across wide-area networks (WAN).

Called molecular sequence reduction (MSR) and based on pattern-recognition algorithms that have been used to study DNA, Peribit’s MSR software spots repetitive patterns in data packets and assigns labels to those patterns. Substituting those labels for repeating data packets can reduce overall WAN traffic loads by as much as 70 per cent to 90 per cent, said Amit Singh, who developed MSR.

“If I have ‘summertime is my favorite time of the year’ in a PowerPoint slide and that same term is repeated in an Excel spreadsheet or a database file, MSR recognizes the packet pattern that equates to that information and applies a label,” Singh explained.

Shawn Farschi, CIO at BroadVision Inc. in Redwood City, Calif., has been beta-testing Peribit’s Model SR-50, which was introduced today. “I’m seeing somewhere around 60 per cent improvement on bandwidth [across the WAN],” said Farschi, who runs Oracle financial and human resources applications over BroadVision’s frame-relay network.

The SR-50 system comes in a rack-mountable unit with the software installed. Pricing starts at US$20,000, and Singh said it would be available beginning today.

Farschi believes the SR-50 could pay for itself in six months to year by slowing down the need to add more leased circuits as bandwidth demand increases.

Michael Howard, president of Infonetics Research Inc. in San Jose, Calif, said he views the MSR technology as a real breakthrough. Instead of using compression techniques to squeeze down a particular file, MSR looks at packet repetitions, Howard said. “[MSR] doesn’t care whether it’s a file or a packet. All it cares about is spotting common patterns.”

Matt Kesner, chief technical officer at the law firm of Fenwick & West LLP in Palo Alto, Calif., said his tests on a SR-50 beta unit have cut bandwidth demands on two of the firm’s WAN links by 62 per cent to 93 per cent. Although Fenwick & West is Peribit’s corporate law firm of record, Kesner said he wasn’t playing favorites.

“This is the only product from a client we’ve been willing to touch this year,” Kesner said.