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Start-up to speed Web site access

Sitara Networks will unveil client- and server-based software that offers three times the performance of current Web page delivery.

A start-up wants to speed access to popular Web sites.

Sitara Networks, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based firm, will unveil client- and server-based software next week at Fall Internet World 97 that offers three times the performance of current Web page delivery on average, according to the company.

The catch? In order to reap the benefits of Sitara's SpeedServer and SpeedSeeker client software package, a Net surfer would have to install the company's client software and go to a Web site using Sitara's server package.

The software is currently in beta with about eight customers, according to company executives, with final shipment expected in the first quarter. Prices for large Web sites start at $75,000. Included in the beta program is popular clothier J. Crew.

The company said the software does not use typical caching, performance tuning, or routing techniques to accomplish its desired goal. Rather, the software minimizes the steps it takes for a user to negotiate a connection with a Web site. It also resends only the Web site packet elements missing from the initial download.

Sitara said it hopes to market the package to Web-based retail operations and brokerages that require dependable links to reach customers and sell goods and services.

Web sites can add Sitara's server-based tool to any network that also houses a Web server. The software runs on a Microsoft Windows NT-based system with a Unix-based version to follow. The SpeedSeeker client supports Windows 95 and Windows NT Workstation. The package requires a 200-MHz Pentium-based server or better with 128MB of memory.

Sitara's software supports Netscape Communications Enterprise Server 3.0, Microsoft Internet Information Server, and Apache Server 1.2.