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Internet

Stopping traffic on the Net

Sixteen leading software and network hardware companies today banded together to support a technology they hope will tackle the mounting problem of gridlock on the Internet.

Sixteen leading software and network hardware companies today banded together to support a technology they hope will tackle the mounting problem of gridlock on the Internet.

Led by the likes of Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Intel, and Netscape, the group will support a bandwidth-conserving technology known as IP Multicast.

"No sooner is bandwidth added to the Internet than it is overwhelmed by the new graphics-heavy Web pages, video traffic, Internet phoning, and so on," Judy Estrin, chief executive of Precept Software and an organizer of the effort, said in a statement today. "IP Multicast can reduce the amount of traffic going over the Net."

IP Multicast is a set of specifications drafted by engineers at Xerox, Cisco, and Precept, among other companies. It provides a way to maximize bandwidth for applications that distribute data to many recipients. Unlike "broadcast," which sends data to everyone on the network, multicast sends the data only to those who request the information. That reduces the load on the network.

The 16 members of the group will hold their first meeting October 3 to complete an educational and marketing campaign for the initiative. The group is charging $25,000 for charter membership.

The group also includes 3Com, Bay Networks, Cabletron, FTP Software, Hewlett-Packard, Silicon Graphics, StarBurst Communications, Sun Microsystems, Vivo Software, White Pine Software, and Xerox.

The initiative is managed by Stardust Technologies.