April 30, 2001, 12:00 AM

What are you gonna do when customers won’t wait 4 seconds? Speed up the delivery

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In tier 2, the network acceleration area, where content is actually moved through various servers over the Internet, Exodus with Mirror Image as a partner, Akamai and Digital Island all provide services that speed the flow of information. Tier 3, which distributes content so end users can get content from a server that is closer than where the content originates, is covered by Exodus, Akamai as well as Inktomi. For example, a consumer in Australia can download content from a European web site without waiting for the information to travel from Europe, where the site is hosted, through the Internet and to the consumer’s local ISP.

 

These service providers also may partner with another vendor to tweak a small part of that process, such as adding cache hardware to increase storage capacity to avoid back ups on a local server. Caching is a storage mechanism that maintains downloaded information so it is easier to find once it is downloaded. A cache on a personal computer, for example, would hold the most recent web downloads, making it faster to access if the user types in the same web page in the future. Many companies, such as Volera, Network Appliance, Stratacache, SpiderCache and Cacheflow specialize in caching and often work with other network and server vendors.

 

Tier 4, the connection to the end user, is an area that also has different types of solutions. Fireclick.com uses predictive algorithms to preload to the user’s browser web pages that its software determines the user will want to see next. Meanwhile, Boostworks analyzes traffic patterns of information and compresses files and RichFX uses algorithm software specifically to compress graphic files to make downloading rich graphics easier for end users.

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