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Net confab showcases bandwidth

Internet companies show off technologies to help with a real problem: coping with crowded networks on the Net or on office networks.

SAN DIEGO--While industry titans talk about increasing Internet bandwidth, Internet companies today showed off technologies to help with a present problem: coping with crowded networks on the Net or on office networks.

At the Internet Showcase conference here today, a plethora of companies, both well-known names and start-ups, tackled the problems of limited bandwidth.

"The Internet is choking," said David Campbell, CEO of Kangaroo, before trying to demo a beta version of its information manager software called Punch.

But Kangaroo had trouble getting the software out of its pouch and onto the stage. Its "dynamic network system," automatically updates any kind of digital information--documents, graphics, software, audio, or video--by sending only the changed portions of files, thus reducing network traffic jams. Beta versions will be available this quarter.

Network Associates (NETA) showed its WebSniffer system, a tool to monitor high-traffic Web sites. WebSniffer agents automatically gather data on server traffic, WebSniffer Repository serves as a central database for analyzing the data, and Information Center displays relevant information and makes recommendations. The product is due to ship by March on Solaris at prices beginning at $1,000 per Web server.

Check Point, the leading firewall software company, demonstrated the Windows NT version of its bandwidth management software, FloodGate-1, as it strives to expand beyond security software. FloodGate lets network managers prioritize traffic so that critical applications, groups, or individuals get the bandwidth they need. It's due to ship by March 2. Pricing starts at $4,995 for dial-up lines, $9,995 for T1 and E1 lines, and $18,990 for 10-mbps connections.

Dutch firm Netpresenter demoed version 3.0 of its "push" software for corporate networks, which lets companies push data to employees that shows up as a screensaver. European police forces are using the software to post photos of crime suspects on stationhouse PCs, which has led to the capture of more than one criminal, the company said.

Netpresenter 3.0 requires only 150 kilobytes of memory for client machines, and CEO Frank Hoen claims it requires only 5 to 10 percent of the bandwidth used by some competitors. Priced from $799, it ships this month.

Later today, CacheFlow is slated to show its new CacheFlow 1000 hardware, a dedicated device designed to cache frequently-viewed Web pages, then deliver them instantly within an enterprise. The rack-mounted network can scale to 25GB of disk storage. The company plans other dedicated Web caching devices.