WAN optimization gear a triple threat

Silver Peak says appliance software upgrade improves WAN efficiency

Silver Peak Systems is announcing three new ways its WAN optimization gear can speed up throughput between its appliances.

The company's NX appliances support forward error correction (FEC), packet-order correction and packet striping, all three of which contribute to faster performance, the company says.

The NX devices are deployed in pairs at opposite ends of WAN connections and manipulate traffic in a variety of ways to give the net effect of better response times across those connections. These methods include TCP optimization, compression and caching of data patterns at the far end of connections so the same patterns don't have to be sent over and over.

Among others, Silver Peak competes against Cisco, Juniper and Riverbed.

Forward error correction allows the receiving machine to detect and correct errors in transmission without having to resend data. Without forward error correction, devices have to retransmit data, which increases the volume of traffic going across the connection.

The most recent Silver Peak software upgrade enables FEC on WAN connections up to 500Mbps, the company says. The new FEC can improve throughput by seven times on a connection with 1% packet loss, the company says.

With packet order correction, the NX appliances keep track of the order in which packets are sent and rearranges out-of-order packets before sending them along to the destination network. Routers and hosts can also perform this function but over large connections, the amount they have to do can tax buffers and CPUs on the machines, Silver Peak says.

Packet striping overcomes bandwidth limits that may be placed on TCP flows by firewalls. The limits are intended to prevent bandwidth hogging, but they may inhibit the flow of important traffic. Striping splits high-bandwidth traffic among several flows then pieces the flows back together at the far end. Silver Peak says it has no data to quantify improvements packet striping may create.

The Silver Peak management system software is also upgraded to report on packet loss and out of order packets. The company says this information can be used to hold carriers to service-level agreements.

These new features come standard with new Silver Peak gear and come as upgrades to customers with service contracts.

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