Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Directing Traffic

Software

“The Internet is broken.” So says Ed English, vice president of strategic planning and corporate development for San Jose, CA-based netVmg, one of a growing number of companies out to spot Internet traffic jams and find ways around them.

Companies that rely on the Internet are increasingly using multiple service providers to get the most reliable access possible. The system’s not simple, though. Companies must set rules for which of those providers they will use to send different kinds of data; for example, they might send e-mail over the cheapest, but slowest, network, while sending Web traffic out on an expensive but fast connection. The approach often leads to high costs and gives variable results; the expensive provider, for instance, might have an equipment failure or unusually high traffic in the middle of the day. The solution? Intelligent Internet traffic management. Intelligent-routing companies use proprietary techniques to measure the performance of different service providers throughout the day and decide in real time which provider to use for a given piece of data.

By making sure each piece of data heads out in the right direction, says Charles Rutstein, research director at Forrester Research, “these guys are trying to solve the problems underlying the protocol that routes information on the Internet,” which aims to ensure that information reaches its destination, without regard for how long it might take to get there. The benefits of solving those problems are improved performance and reliability and, perhaps more importantly, cost savings. As more companies look to move critical business functions like accounting and supply-chain management onto the Internet, the field is set to explode. Credit Suisse First Boston estimates the intelligent traffic management market will reach $3 billion by 2004. Early entrants include Seattle’s Internap Network Services, Newton, MA-based Sockeye Networks and netVmg.

This story is part of our November 2001 Issue
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

Strategies for managing the traffic vary somewhat. Internap functions as a virtual service provider, maintaining connections to several backbone carriers like AT&T and Qwest, eliminating the need for customers to deal directly with multiple service providers. In contrast, the customers of newcomers Sockeye and netVmg must maintain their own connections to multiple service providers. The companies monitor both global and local traffic conditions and provide services that optimize outgoing-traffic delivery in real time,  based on factors chosen by the customer, such as cost or efficient routing of specific data types. Both companies had only beta customers as TR went to press.

In the end, the market will decide the winners and losers in this race. “No one will be able to 100 percent predict the traffic patterns,” says Allwyn Sequeira, netVmg’s senior vice president of technology. But “what we’re doing is bringing more order to the Internet traffic.” And that could wind up spelling big bucks for the best traffic cop.

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.