Flow technology based routers for uninterrupted voice and video over the Internet

Anagran, a Redwood City, California-based start up is seeking to solve the fundamental problem in Internet traffic — differentiating voice and video from other content. The company's product, FR -1000, is a router that uses "Flow-based" technology to transmit voice and video as continuous streams or flows while other data, such as e-mails, are sent as packets.

The networking technology breakthrough is the brainchild of Lawrence Roberts, one of the four people behind the ARPANET, the first ever packet-based network (a precursor to the Internet).

Routers, the fundamental nodes that connect the various networks of the Internet, handle data as packets and this technology has not changed radically over the years. But with the advent of heavy media-based traffic, the concept of packets needs to be replaced with a more contiguous unit, such as "flow" of data.

As defined at GigaOM, "A flow is a single meaningful end-to-end activity over the network, and is defined by the IPv4 header 5-tuple of source and destination port, source and destination address, and protocol. Examples of flows would be a video download, a voice call, or an image transfer." Anagran's product seeks to solve the problem by real-time switching of this "flow" of data.

In the words of Lawrence from the article at EEtimes:

"We would have liked to manage traffic as flows from the beginning because it is only natural to treat video, images and voice calls as one object, but we didn't have enough memory or processing power," said Roberts, who also wrote one of the first e-mail applications. "Now memory is cheap as mud."

With a utilization rate above 90%, the FR-1000 is one of the most power-efficient routers to enter the market with a price ranging from $50,000 to $100,000. But, the bigger question is whether enterprises will commit to this product or wait to see what the networking majors have up their sleeve for optimizing Internet traffic.

More news links:

Internet Pioneer rolls out faster greener router (InternetNews)

Internet co-inventor launches start-up (Net4now)

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