Caching to help speed delivery of Web pages

Caching to help speed delivery of Web pages


Internet backbone provider Cable & Wireless is rolling out a Web-content delivery service that uses Web-caching techniques to refine page delivery processes.

The company also plans to unveil a dedicated access service for ISPs.

Cable & Wireless' Web-content delivery program, called Internet Shock Absorber, is intended to drive e-commerce applications and boost Web usage and advertising, company officials said. The service is intended for content providers, ISPs, and Web-hosting centres.

Internet Shock Absorber serves Web content from the edges of the Cable & Wireless Global IP Network, storing information at the regional hub closest to the Web surfer. This reduces download times and costs and puts an end to universal global traffic, the company said.

Network-caching techniques are used to distribute and store content of high-volume and media-rich Internet sites.

An alternative to other forms of Web caching, in which information is stored on local servers, the service replicates commonly accessed Web pages at 15 nodes worldwide, due to expand to 84 nodes worldwide by April 2001.

Other forms of Web caching, while speeding up viewing by reducing the traffic back to the originating server, can result in posting out-of-date information and distortion of viewing figures, according to Cable & Wireless. Legal issues have also arisen related to ownership of cached data.

Internet Shock Absorber overcomes these problems by working with site owners to determine what can be cached and how often it must be refreshed, and by recording and providing accurate viewing figures for page impressions.

The service could end `tromboning', in which data requests and Web pages are sent back and forth across the ocean every time a page is accessed. Local storage cuts down on transmission time.

Internet Shock Absorber sits between end users and Web content main servers. When a site viewer selects a page, the request goes to the service. If the page is stored locally and is up to date, it is provided immediately. Pages not immediately available locally are requested from the originating server and then stored for local use.

The service is available now in the US and will be available globally in March 2000.

The company's service, meanwhile, provides direct access to the Cable & Wireless global Internet backbone, as opposed to providing access via international circuits to the US, the company said. With this service, IP-based services can be provided including voice over IP, security, global Web hosting, unified messaging, and information services.

Cable & Wireless

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