Israeli company aims to speed up the Internet

UltraBand is a new technology developed that enables ISPs to take the heavy burden of downloading pages off their network and onto a video cache server. The result: downloads that arrive on your computer 60 times faster. Everyone who surfs …

UltraBand is a new technology developed that enables ISPs to take the heavy burden of downloading pages off their network and onto a video cache server. The result: downloads that arrive on your computer 60 times faster.

Everyone who surfs the Net knows about slow connections. We have all waited at some time or another for a page to open, only to get a message saying there’s a loading problem. But that’s life, right?

Not anymore. Start-up PeerApp, which has its R&D in Israel, believes it has the answer – a new technology, UltraBand, which enables Internet Service Providers to take the heavy burden of downloading pages off their network and onto a video cache server, which operates very much like a traditional Web cache server.

Instead of making direct connections to servers across the globe in order to download pages, Web browsers fetch cached copies of updated Web pages from third-party cache servers. Cache servers provide the same services as the direct server, but help reduce network traffic and speed up users’ Internet connections.

According to Yossi Hazan, the CFO for PeerApp, the company can pull off the same trick for video downloads. “Today, about 60 percent of ISP traffic is dedicated to video streaming and downloading, including from sources like YouTube, file sharing, and streaming personal or professional proprietary video,” Hazan tells ISRAEL21c.

“With PeerApp, the downloading of heavy files is diffused, and customers can download cached files off the main network. This way, traffic flows more smoothly and customers are able to download video files more quickly,” adds Hazan. “A file that usually takes over six hours to download to your PC will arrive in six minutes – a factor of 60 times faster.”

UltraBand also offers other benefits, according to Hazan. The quality of streaming video is better, for example, as there are far fewer “gaps” interrupting the flow of the video due to slow downloading of segments, he explains. Content owners also have reason to support UltraBand, since the technology improves the video quality and helps lower bandwidth costs as well. PeerApp also ensures that any digital rights are preserved for the content owner.

“What is unique about PeerApp is that we keep a live link between the customer’s computer and the content owners,” Hazan says. “In order to access a file on a network where PeerApp is installed, a customer must agree to the terms of service for the originating Web site.”

Another benefit, says Hazan, is that UltraBand enables content owners to make use of what may be the most efficient means of file downloading – peer-to-peer connections, where users on a network access packets of a file from others on the network, decreasing web traffic and expediting the download process.

PeerApp developed UltraBand in 2006 to help meet the needs of both ISP’s and users. With significant increases in web trafficking over the past few years and ever-greater demand for downloads, ISPs now compete to deliver the fastest Internet connections to users all over the world.

PeerApp began sales in 2006 to smaller ISPs in Israel, Asia and Latin America. “We wanted to start small and test the market before expanding our reach,” Hazan explains.

Recent successes, which include providing UltraBand to Internet Gold, a major Israeli communications group, and helping to double the company’s Internet subscribers, have made Hazan confident that PeerApp is ready for the big time.

“Obviously, our target customers are the large ISP’s in the United States and Europe,” Hazan tells ISRAEL21c. PeerApp is now exploring working relationships with major ISP’s like AT&T and Verizon.

PeerApp has also connected with Pando; the delivery technology responsible for handling downloads of streaming video on the NBC.com Web site. Viewers watching episodes on the site now get to see them with almost zero network interference.

With a viable product to market and secure financial investment from venture capital firms like Cedar Green, Pilot House Ventures, and Evergreen, PeerApp is on the up.

“The future lies in improving the current product’s technology and in applying our knowledge to the consumer’s needs,” says Hazan. “The key is being a step ahead, in being able to foresee where the market is headed. I think we have done a good job staying a step ahead so far. Hopefully, we’ll also be ready for tomorrow.”