Appliance Lets Network Managers Control Recreational Traffic

Updated: Exinda marries WAN optimization with traffic control on enterprise networks.

Australian WAN optimization provider Exinda Networks on Nov. 20 hopes to gain a foothold in the North American market with a unique ability in its appliances to classify recreational traffic such as Skype and BitTorrent on enterprise networks.

The new Layer 7 Heuristics Engine in its WAN optimization appliances can classify hard-to-identify recreational traffic such as BitTorrent music file sharing, Skype, Facebook, MySpace, gaming and more. The aim is to help network operators better control WAN usage to optimize network performance for business applications.

"Skype was built to bypass every single firewall out there. Its communications are encrypted, port numbers it uses are random, and it tunnels through HTTP," said Con Nikolouzakis, CEO of the company, in Melbourne, Australia.

"Until now there has not been an easy way to manage those applications—especially from a WAN optimization perspective. This allows us to classify and detect those applications and put them into the companys policies, where they can block or restrict [the traffic], or prioritize it because it is used as a business application," he added.


Read more here about Exinda Networks.

"That traffic likes to port hop. You cant just say Skype is port 41," concurred industry consultant Robin Layland, principal at Layland Consulting. "Firewalls monitor ports and close or open them. Then Skype has its own encryption schemes, so it makes it hard to do anything with that traffic," he added.

Exinda, which established its headquarters in Boston to gain greater presence in the United States, hopes to compete with the larger WAN optimization players with such functionality.

At least one or two competitors offer similar capability, including Packeteer and Allot Communications. "They can only detect Skype or BitTorrent 40 to 50 percent of the time, and they dont provide the level of classification we do," said Nikolouzakis. Exindas Layer 7 Heuristics Engine can detect, classify and control 98 percent of BitTorrent traffic, he said. Allot Communications denied that claim. Its offering can identify, classify and control BitTorrent and Skype traffic with 95 to 100 percent accuracy, officials countered.

The new feature is a firmware upgrade to Exindas X800 WAN optimization appliances, which provide QOS (quality of service) and bandwidth management, as well as traffic prioritization, Multiprotocol Label Switching and Diffserve marking. The appliances also accelerate TCP, provide caching, compression, protocol optimization and CIFS (Common Internet File System) and HTTP acceleration. The firmware upgrade is due Dec. 3.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include comments from Allot Communications.


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