Article from Technology Notes from Kintronics ()
August 20, 2003
How to Speed Up Your Internet Connection
Improving performance

Information… the more we get, the more we want.  In the 1980’s CD-ROM discs were introduced which could hold complete encyclopedias and dictionaries.  In the 1990’s we added DVD-ROM discs which provided 7 times more information. And of course today we use the Internet, which provides a world of information. Now we face the problem of getting all this information to our desktop in a timely fashion. CD and DVD use special servers that allow you to get quick access to data, but more work is required to improve the effectiveness of the Internet connection.  
Take an average school in 2003. They may have a full T1 connection to their premises providing what appears to be a fast Internet connection, but consider this scenario...

Four classrooms of students (approximately 120 users) all log in to the network and begin ‘surfing’ the web. Classroom 1 comes across a nice short video file, perhaps on cell division and student 1 begins a download. This file streams down nicely to his or her workstation and the teacher asks the rest of the class to stream the file. Within a very short time, 30 kids all connect to and stream the cell division video. However, with over 30 concurrent connections to the same video the T1’s speed all of a sudden slows to a crawl.

The solution is to use a Web Caching appliance. Using this type of system, student 1 connects to and downloads the cell division video, but instead of downloading it locally it’s gets downloaded automatically to the web cache. When the other students try to connect to the same ‘download’ file, they actually access it from the web cache at LAN speeds! The T1 is freed for the other classes and each student get ultra high performance to the cached file! A win-win scenario!

Web cache technology has taken leaps and bounds forward. With smart caching, filtering, bandwidth management, reporting and security, web cache appliances such as ContentCache from Avantis, go a long way to improving internet connectivity, security and reliability. Recent figures suggest that over 90% of Internet traffic from schools is generated from students requesting the same web content more then once. Bandwidth can be reduced by up to 40% (think of the savings if you pay for your connection by usage!) with the use of a web cache.

Today many school systems are using web caching to improve Internet data flow. In the past they have been a bit difficult to install and use, but the new technology from Avantis has made the Proxy server into an easy to use web appliance that can be installed by the educator and librarian without extensive computer experience.  This technology provides the easiest and most cost effective way of improving the way we get Internet information to our desktops.

For more information on ContentCache from Avantis, please call Kintronics at 1-800-431-1658 or 914-347-2530 or
email us.

Published by Bob Mesnik
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