• United States

ISPs aims to speed P2P traffic with specialized network appliance

Oct 15, 20032 mins

* P-Cube allows ISPs to prevent rampant P2P traffic from slowing down network performance

Several ISPs are using a special appliance from start-up P-Cube to monitor and control IP traffic on their networks, thereby preventing rampant peer-to-peer traffic from slowing down overall network performance.

SingTel, Korea Telecom, NTT DoCoMo and Interoute are among the carriers that have purchased network appliances from P-Cube this year. P-Cube’s appliances make it possible for ISPs to sell network pipes with limited or no P2P traffic to their corporate customers, company officials say.  

“What we’re doing with Interoute is enabling them to sell bandwidth capacity that is peer-to-peer free,” says Yuval Shahar, co-founder, president and CEO of P-Cube. “It’s a great revenue-generating opportunity for the service provider.”

P-Cube’s network appliances reside on top of the routers, switches and network pipes that comprise an ISP’s transport network. P-Cube’s appliances run at multi-gigabit speeds and can analyze IP traffic in real time. Rather than looking at the individual packets that make up the network traffic, P-Cube’s boxes look at the application that is driving the traffic. 

“Unlike a router that will tell you how many packets are going by, we can see how much traffic is peer-to-peer and how much of that is from Kazaa,” Shahar explains.

Shahar says P2P traffic represents 50% to 70% of overall traffic for most ISPs.

With P-Cube’s appliances, ISPs can “create different quality-of-service levels” depending on how much P2P traffic an enterprise customer is willing to tolerate, Shahar says. ISPs also can use these appliances to create special service-level agreements for video conferencing, voice over IP or other key applications.

P-Cube offers three add-on software packages for its appliances:

* Insight, which provides network monitoring.

* Engage, which provides IP service controls.

* Encharge, which is for mobile and Wi-Fi service providers.

A typical carrier deployment of P-Cube appliances costs between $30,000 and $150,000.

Founded in May of 1999, P-Cube has 90 employees and has raised $70 million in venture capital funds. P-Cube is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., with research and development facilities in Israel.