To give network managers more control over who gets how much bandwidth in an organization, Internap Network Services Corp. this week updated its traffic routing products to include application-based policy options.
Version 3.3 of Internaps Flow Control Platform software allows network managers to tailor traffic performance based on traffic type. For example, VOIP (voice over IP) traffic can be given priority over e-mail traffic, or specified user groups can be given access to the best outbound routes. The new software comes with improved reporting capabilities, include network problem, performance gains and cost savings reports.
Earlier versions of the technology enabled policy-based routing factoring in either cost or performance, but not a combination of the two variables, said Eric Klinker, vice president of engineering at Internap in Atlanta.
"Previously that application awareness didnt exist," Klinker said. "It was up to the IT professional to know which destinations were important for whatever reason."
Internap also released two new models of its hardware. The new FCP-120 comes with four Ethernet ports and can accommodate numerous network connections. For users with a lot of traffic flowing across multiple locations, the FCR-85 comes with six Gig-E or Fast-E interfaces, designed primarily for deployment at remote sites.
The FCP is designed as a complementary tool to application acceleration products, Klinker said. Residing solely in the control plane, the performance of the actual device does not affect the network, and deployment does not require major changes to the network infrastructure.
"Were very low impact [on the network], were very low risk," Klinker said.
To help organizations use their network more creatively and effectively, MCI Inc. this week teamed up with Microsoft Corp. to develop new Internet-based communication and collaboration services. The joint initiative will debut with an upgraded Internet conferencing service for small- and midsize-businesses using Microsoft Office Live Meeting.
The new service will enable real-time collaboration from different devices and different connections, including Web conferencing, secure instant messaging and audio conferencing. Users can conduct interactive presentations over the Internet using a phone or PC, and the service includes application-sharing features and online call management. It is sold on a per-named-user license, shared-seat license and per participant minute.
The companies said this week that they are working on an integrated PC-telephone tool that lets workers set up conference calls from within the Office applications they use most often. They plan to work together on developing more real-time communication applications, such as access to presence-based services for VOIP.
Also this week, MCI upgraded its conferencing services with IP access, giving businesses a way to get more out of their IP investments. Conference calls can be set up with either IP or non-IP end points, and users with native IP links wont be charged for "meet me" voice or video transport.
The Ashburn, Va., company said that the new access option is meant to make it easier for businesses to migrate to IP-based conferencing at their own pace. Workers on the road and external meeting participants will be able to connect to MCIs Instant Meeting service over the Internet or the traditional telephone network.