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Shiva boosts Web surfing speed

Shiva will soon give remote access Web surfers a performance boost of up to 200 percent.

New technology from Shiva (SHVA) will soon give Web users up to a 200 percent performance boost, according to the company.

The new software, called PowerSurf, will enter beta in October and ship by November on the company's remote access hardware, according to Shiva officials.

The tool acts as an accelerator for users surfing the Web by essentially fooling the TCP/IP protocol into believing there is more bandwidth available for packet transfers than there really is. The software also anticipates the need for the next connection and sets it up in advance for the user, thereby improving performance.

The catch? Currently, the software--which runs on top of Shiva's ShivOS internetworking operating System (OS)--only works in remote access hardware from the company. "We see it as a differentiator for us, said Kristie Henderson, product line manager at Shiva.

Shiva already ships a PowerBurst software feature that facilitates performance improvements for remote users connecting to their corporate networks. PowerSurf uses the same principles to speed Web surfing for its users. The new feature costs $5,000 per LanRover Access Switch.

The speed boost will give Shiva a leg up on competitors in a hot area of the network technology market.

The company has a strong foothold in the remote access market. But competitors, including Bay Networks, Ascend Communications, and Racal Data Group are also angling for a bigger piece of an expanding pie.

Market research firm The Gartner Group estimates that there will be about 55 million business users of remote access technology by the year 2000 worldwide. By the year 2002, that figure is expected to nearly double to 108 million remote users, with half of those users in the United States.