IT and network budgets are tight across the board. But midsized companies, particularly those in rural areas or with highly distributed sites, are especially challenged. They are Web-enabling their applications and pushing more functionality out to their branches, but find it a financial hardship to upgrade their WAN access links - which means increases in service fees each and every month - to support the extra traffic loads.Consider, for example, Quaker Chemical, headquartered in Conshohocken, Pa., a $270 million company that is widely distributed internationally. Since 1999, the company has been rolling out strategic new Web-based tools for business analytics, data warehousing, knowledge management and transaction systems."We needed more networking to enable our sites to share this information. We began with frame relay between major locations," Quaker Chemical CIO Irving Tyler says. He said that each year since 1999, the company has simply doubled its frame relay committed information rate to handle the extra traffic loads. This was starting to get expensive, particularly in India and Brazil.Tyler discovered Peribit Networks, maker of an appliance called the Sequence Reducer, which runs an algorithm called Molecular Sequence Reduction (MSR). MSR is similar to the algorithm used in human DNA sequencing computation. It identifies repeat patterns in network content and replaces chunks of content with a "key" that is a small bit pattern before WAN transmission. At the other end, the "key" is replaced with the actual content it represents. This process sharply reduces the amount of content on the WAN.According to Tyler, his company has gained 300% more bandwidth on existing links with this technology. He says he likes the appliance approach because you just plug it in and don't have to worry about negative interactions among different software applications sharing a common device (such as on a server). He says he is running the Peribit Sequence Reducer in his data center, outsourced to CSC in Appeldoorn, Holland, as well as in sites in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Philadelphia, and Detroit. He expects that later this year he will install devices in Rio De Janeiro and possibly in China and Hong Kong after that.Quaker Chemical's Sequence Reducer capital investment was under $100,000, Tyler says. He notes that to gain the same bandwidth by increasing the size of his frame relay circuits, he'd have to spend the same amount - year after year after year.\u00a0 So instead of spending $100,000 multiple times in recurring service fees, the company spent it just once, on capital equipment, for same result.Interestingly, the way the Peribit system is sold, you buy a physical amount of sequence reduction on a device based on bandwidth needs. If you need more, you use the same box, but purchase a "software key" to further optimize your WAN capacity, Tyler says. So there's still more he can get out of his investment.Next time: How a small rural bank achieved similar impressive savings using Expand Networks technology.