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New service to manage bandwidth

Networking start-up Digital Island introduces a new tool for the endless quest to control network traffic.

Network managers today have a new tool in the endless quest to control network traffic.

Managed Bandwidth, from networking start-up Digital Island (DI), is a new service for customers who use Digital Island's "overnet." The overnet is DI's proprietary network of 22 international points of presence, which bypass the bottlenecks and blackouts that often originate in the United States.

Managed Bandwidth helps chief information officers and network managers allocate network resources according to need. Digital Island president and CEO Ron Higgins said the service can help multinational corporations download software to a local office or set up videoconferences in regional locations by allowing DI customers to concentrate their bandwidth where it is needed the most.

"The major benefit is that it allows the IS manager much more control over their allocation," Higgins said.

The service has been in client trials at companies such as Autodesk for the past several months and is now available to all DI customers.

Customers can access Managed Bandwidth through a secure Web interface, receiving confirmation of their adjustments within 24 hours. According to Higgins, in the past it would take between 45 and 60 days "at a minimum" to receive confirmation of bandwidth adjustment.

Companies that use intranets and the public Internet for electronic commerce are constantly looking for bandwidth solutions to help alleviate network outages and blackouts. According to telecommunications analyst John Coons from Dataquest, this service is the first of its kind in that it manages bandwidth across the entire DI network.

"It doesn't require any customer equipment or software, they can just log into a Web page to allocate bandwidth across the Digital Island network," he said.

The Managed Bandwidth Web page shows clients their current purchased bandwidth, how the bandwidth is allocated, and the amount of bandwidth available on each link.

According to Coons, while DI's overnet is a solution to bandwidth problems now, as international network infrastructures improve and international corporations stop needing a proprietary network to guarantee bandwidth, DI can rely on secondary services such as Managed Bandwidth to stay competitive in the networking market.

Coons pointed out an added bonus to the service: "All the mailroom employees downloading Playboy, now they can't use up the bandwidth that customers need."