Co-Inventor of the Internet Launches New Networking Company

Dr. Larry Roberts, who is credited with leading the team that gave birth to The Internet, has formally launched his latest innovation and new networking company, Anagran.

The company announced the immediate availability of the Anagran FR-1000 Flow Router, the only product designed to meet the demands of the new generation of video, voice, data and wireless applications. The FR-1000 is the first product to eliminate network performance issues with these applications, and offers green benefits including the lowest energy consumption available today at a fraction of the price of traditional Layer 3 routers.

“Content is revolutionizing the network,” said Dr. Roberts, founder and CEO of Anagran. “I developed the first incarnation of the Internet almost 40 years ago when I couldn’t send some scanned photos to my colleague at MIT who was on a different type computer.

Today, photo distribution works just fine on the current Internet, but now with IP service providers under pressure to offer cable- and HDTV-quality IPTV, and enterprises looking into telepresence, it is video distribution that represents The Internet's future.

Unfortunately, large fixed rate flows like video are not supported well with current-day routers which have freeze-frame, jitter, and general scalability challenges under even the most moderate levels of network congestion. As the traffic changes, we can’t rely on this last-generation packet technology, which has essentially remained unchanged for 40 years, to power Internet performance.

I know, I designed it, and know its limitations. Existing products won’t effectively deliver IPTV, video on demand, and VoIP mixed with P2P and other upcoming types of traffic we haven’t even seen yet. Users and providers are also more sophisticated and they won’t stand for stuttering video, truncated or dropped words during VOIP calls, slow web service, and emergency services that you can’t count on. Anagran will change all of that—we’ll support the demands of this generation and the next.”

Based on patent-pending technology, the Anagran FR-1000 Flow Router is totally compatible with a standard Layer 3 router but intelligently watches and constantly evaluates all flows traveling through it. A flow is the only meaningful end-to-end network activity; streams of packets like a video download, an image transfer, or a voice call. Rather than only being able to process and route a disjointed succession of individual packets, Anagran’s Fast Flow RoutingTM architecture looks at each packet as part of its higher level flow and based on specified priorities, intelligently delivers the most critical information at the highest quality of performance.

This is accomplished through Intelligent Flow Discard, a totally new approach to traffic control and congestion management which proactively meters all incoming flows by class to fill the output capacity to a sustained 90 – 95%, virtually eliminating delay and packet losses caused by traditional routers’ large output queues under traffic overload. The FR-1000 keeps critical statistics on each flow in real time—the source, destination, the amount of traffic running, the duration, and other key statistics that define the nature and health of the flow.

To ensure sustained performance and quality for critical “real time” services like video and voice, the router uses Behavioral Traffic ControlTM to prohibit any flows from using more than their appropriate share of network resources by adjusting every flow’s class, rate, or route to control P2P or any other traffic type. The result—guaranteed real time application performance delivery— flawless video and voice, faster downloads, and minimal delay for all traffic. On top of this, the FR-1000 can reduce network costs by 10 to 1.

Because of the growing demands on the network and the resulting traffic congestion, service providers and enterprises have been forced to reduce profit margins by over-provisioning their networks or buying more equipment at significant expense. Traditional routers process individual packets independently, with no knowledge of the current state or behavior of the flow those packets belong to, which should determine the overall quality of application delivery. The result is that packets can be randomly dropped or substantially delayed with little or no regard to their relative importance, and the problem gets worse as congestion conditions escalate.

By optimally rate-limiting all flows at the network edge or access layer, the FR-1000 provides an immediate performance and utilization boost to the entire network, including the core. Together, IFDTM and BTCTM enable sustained network backbone transmission utilization rates of over 90% under all conditions, regardless of how much traffic is being pumped into the network.

As the time critical traffic varies, any file transfer traffic is adjusted to maintain extremely high utilization while at the same time avoiding overload. As a result, enterprises and services providers can build out their networks much less conservatively in terms of configuring excess capacity, since hourly, daily, and monthly busy-time usage “spikes” essentially disappear. This immediate and significant gain in network resource utilization pays off where it counts the most – on the bottom monthly expense line.

“With skyrocketing demand for voice, video, and P2P-based Web 2.0 services, enterprise and service provider networks are straining to deliver the level of performance these applications require and users expect,” said Michael Kennedy, founder and managing partner, Network Strategy Partners.

“And because today’s products use last generation packet-based architecture hard-wired into ASICs, they cannot be changed without a costly and time-consuming total architecture and footprint redesign. The solution has been to over-provision and tack on any device that will help, even if the solution isn’t optimal. It is a costly and ultimately wasteful alternative. Anagran’s flow routing approach effectively addresses these limitations of last generation packet routing.”

The FR-1000 resides at or just before the network edge and easily drops into any existing IP network infrastructure. It works seamlessly with any router or in conjunction with any WAN optimization or deep packet inspection product, although with the Anagran FR-1000 there may be little or no need for added LAN-based special purpose appliances to ensure optimal performance of the network and the most demanding applications.

And the Anagran FR-1000 was designed with today’s green requirements in mind. Its extremely efficient design requires 80% less power than existing routers. This translates into not only lower energy costs, but frees up valuable rack space with much higher performance per rack unit to complement reduced energy consumption levels. At one RU, the Anagran FR-1000 is 80% smaller than any other Layer 3 router of similar capacity on the market today.

"Congestion has become a real problem and it is driving up costs," said Mary Eileen McLaughlin, Chief Technology Officer for Merit Network. "With traditional router technology we have to over-build the network to prevent performance degradation during peak loads, and this in turn drives up our operating costs and energy use. It is not a scalable approach. Our initial testing with Anagran's router shows that we can achieve much higher network utilization per router and effectively prioritize and manage traffic during peaks, reducing our network operating costs."

The Anagran FR-1000 has been running in multiple service provider and corporate network test environments for over six months where it has proven to enable flawless IP video and improved traffic control while consuming less energy. The product is now available for world-wide revenue shipments directly from Anagran and will also be available and supported through licensed resellers augmented with direct support assistance from Anagran.