Routing firms focus on mapping smart paths

A new breed of companies has emerged to target enterprise network performance and reduce bandwidth costs.

A new breed of companies has emerged to target enterprise network performance and reduce bandwidth costs.

Working with new technologies that discover the best possible route to deliver data over a number of ISPs, companies such as RouteScience Technologies and netVmg promise to reduce the cost of using multiple ISPs and optimise the routes along which data can travel to achieve greater Internet performance.

Both startups have developed network appliances that automatically choose the best route to deliver network traffic. NetVmg is expected to announce new products in the next few months to take the concept a step further, building on its existing Flow Control Platform offerign.

Flow Control Platform plugs into a mirror port on a router and detects network traffic as it passes by. After observing traffic flow and collecting additional data by sending agents to each network, FCP learns which paths are best and changes in real time accordingly.

Both RouteScience, with its PathControl offering and netVmg say their technologies eliminate the latencies introduced by the BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) used to communicate between two routers. BGP can only route traffic over the shortest route which is not necessarily the quickest.

BGP delivers the highest cost routing and focuses on delivering traffic at the fewest number of hops, Ed English, netVmg vice-president of corporate development, said.

However significant hurdles lie ahead as the companies develop their enterprise-side intelligent routing technologies alongside other competitors such as Nexsi Systems and Proficient Networks.

In addition to the challenge of finding customers, competition is also emerging from companies such as SockEye Networks and InterNap which both offer intelligent routing as a managed service or as part of their bandwidth offering.

Meanwhile RouteScience is stepping up its marketing campaign next week by releasing an independent study that shows its technology reduces the cost of bandwidth and provides simultaneous improvement of Internet performance received from multiple ISPs.

The emergence of the study reflects the struggle this new breed of companies face acquiring customers in the current economy.

NetVmg claims 24 customers, but has announced only two. RouteScience claims 20 customers but has only announced FreeMarkets, a Web-based procurement site that has been using PathControl since December.

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