With the same techonology SlipStream Data Inc. employs to help ISPs get a faster Internet connection for their customers, the Waterloo, Ont.-based company announced last month it would address similar needs for wireless carriers.
“People are using wireless for Web browsing, e-mail and it’s just growing rapidly at this point,” said Ron Neumann, president of SlipStream. “There are certain congestion issues, end-user speed issues, that we can address by pointing that acceleration engine at [wireless].”
Neuman said adjustments had to be made to SlipStream’s ISP product to address several issues common in a wireless environment. For example, he said, wireless networks had been characterized by high bit-error rates, inconsistent quality of service and inefficient bandwidth utilization. As well, mobile subscribers frequently enter areas of poor signal quality or no signal, resulting in periods of no transmission causing all applications using the network to be interrupted or stopped.
The enhancements to the SlipStream Acceleration and Optimization Engine address those issues. These include session persistence where accelerated applications are kept in a “paused” state until the wireless connection is recovered.
“This provides end-users with a consistent and seamless quality of service,” said Neumann. “And SlipStream’s optimized channel utilization techniques recognize the difference between losses due to congestion and losses caused by the wireless channel, and then take appropriate actions in each case.”
He added that SlipStream’s channel allocation scheme ensured fairness to all users, leading to superior performance with high bandwidth efficiency.
Like its ISP offering, data and images are compressed and optimized via a server that sits at a wireless carrier’s site, and that will increase wireless Web browsing by seven times.
The enhancements for wireless carriers are compatible with a variety of wireless networks such as GSM/GPRS, iDEN and 802.11.
Steven Koles, vice-president and general manager of Netscape and AOL enhanced services in Toronto, where Netscape is a SlipStream client, said Netscape hoped to add the SlipStream wireless enhancements in the future for its customers, but so far there were no plans in the works.
Neumann hopes to have the new enhancements available to wireless carriers before the end of fall.