WAN optimisation and the Facebook patent

WAN optimisation and the Facebook patent

Summary: If you think the National Broadband Network will automatically speed up everything on the internet, you're wrong. Inefficiencies in TCP/IP network protocols mean a lot of time will still be spent setting up application-layer data streams.

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If you think the National Broadband Network will automatically speed up everything on the internet, you're wrong. Inefficiencies in TCP/IP network protocols mean a lot of time will still be spent setting up application-layer data streams.

In this week's Patch Monday, Steve Dixon from Riverbed Technology uses simple-to-understand analogies to explain the problem, and why it can't be solved just by adding more bandwidth. The magic word is "latency".

WAN optimisation, a technology for which Riverbed is just one provider, can sometimes produce significant speed-ups and reduce data transfer needs.

On another topic, Facebook was awarded a patent on 23 February for "Dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network" for social networking websites.

Are MySpace and LinkedIn under threat? Should Google be quaking in its boots over a threat to Buzz?

Kimberlee Weatherall, who teaches intellectual property law at the University of Queensland, puts the controversial issue of software patents into perspective.

Plus we have Stilgherrian's idiosyncratic look at the week's IT news headlines.

To leave an audio comment, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Networking

About

Stilgherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and podcaster interested in big-picture internet issues, especially security, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust.

He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide-ranging media career and a stint at running an IT business. He can write iptables firewall rules, set a rabbit trap, clear a jam in an IBM model 026 card punch and mix a mean whiskey sour.

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3 comments
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  • Latency

    Obviously though, latency is not so much an issue for locally-served content. Web page downloads from the U.S. will probably be about the same at 100Mbps as they are at 1Mbps, but pages within Australia will be considerably quicker.

    Of course, it's not simple web pages that we want to be faster anyway, it's things like hi-def movies on demand, where latency doesn't really matter - bandwidth is EVERYTHING.
    anonymous
  • We definitely have to get our priorities right!

    The TCP/IP protocol doesn't need fixing: It was designed to make sure that even at 10% functionality the IMPORTANT data would get through, and although we now have an upload/download model instead of what TCP/IP is really all about (purely for the purposes of making $$middleman), it manages to do that. Get the IAPs off the bandwagon and directly connect the users to the 'net and things will improve dramatically.

    It's bandwidth-clogging content that really needs to be addressed.

    I come and visit a site like this to find out about issues that may actually have an impact on my life to find that I and 300,000 others have to wait two days for something legible to appear on screen while some ignoramus out there wants to count how many hairs there are in Britney Spears' eyebrows!
    anonymous
  • How do you connect without an IAP?

    Mic, assuming you're using IAP to mean "internet access provider", i.e. an ISP, you seem to be suggesting that everyone somehow connect to the internet -- which is somehow separate from access providers -- themselves.

    How would this work exactly?

    Someone has to provide the technical facilities, billing and support -- any surely by definition they then become an IAP!

    Also, isn't your view on what the internet is "for" rather black-and-white? What you want is important, what others might want is trivial?
    anonymous