Sunday, June 23, 2024

Giving Voice the Bandwidth it Needs

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Propel Software
has launched a product that it says solves a problem most people don’t know they
have: performance degradation of time-critical networked applications due to
competition for bandwidth.

Its solution? Propel
Personal Bandwidth Manager

Why do people need it? According to Propel CEO David Murray, it’s because,
on the one hand, “there are more and more applications that people are using
on their networks that are time-sensitive,” and on the other, “there are more
and more applications running on the PC that are using the network as if
they own it
—often outside of the control of the user.”

The result of this mix? PC-based voice over IP applications, conferencing applications,
collaboration applications, interactive games, and the like—all of which
need high throughput and low latency—that can perform poorly and unpredictably.

Murry pointed out that there is a range of scenarios in terms of the degree
of control the PC user can exercise over possible bandwidth competition. In
an obvious example, when you’re making a VoIP call, you probably wouldn’t simultaneously
initiate an application download off the Internet. But other scenarios are subtler.

“You might be trying to do something that’s important and time-critical,” Murray
said, “and your PC decides that it’s time to download some update software in
the background. For example, Adobe likes to download new versions of Acrobat
whenever it feels like it.”

Then again, “you might be in the middle of a long file upload when you have
to take a Skype call,” he pointed out.

And it is uploads, rather than downloads that are apt to create serious performance
issues. That’s because most people’s residential Internet connectivity is asymmetrical:
“Upload links tend to be much slower than download links,” Murray said—sometimes
by a factor of ten or more—”and these time-critical applications are typically
exercising the upward link as a key part of their job.”

This article was first published on

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