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A DPI no-brainer

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Itís understandable that ISPs donít want to openly discuss their use of deep packet inspection technology to manage traffic. As my colleague Rich Karpinski details here, almost any use of DPI is sure to attract unwanted attention from regulators, consumer groups and Web communities.

But when it comes to business services, there is much less to worry about and a much bigger upside to using DPI as part of a service offering. Yet we arenít hearing as much about this kind of service as I would expect.

XO Communications last week announced a new service that uses DPI in probes at the edge of the network to inform customers how applications are performing and to enable those customers to quickly and easy identify problems. The value-added benefits to this are many: Enterprises which increasingly do core business functions via Internet applications, either via private network connections or the public Internet, can see if the challenges they face lie in network connections, server issues or software problems.

There are no privacy issues or concerns about blocking peer-to-peer traffic or other apps because the business customers involved are using this option on services and infrastructure they buy and for which they pay.

ďFor instance, the IT department has a [customer relationship management] application and has sales offices on MPLS [virtual private networks] that use that CRM application,Ē said Brent Spooner, director of product marketing for data services for XO. ďThose guys call up the IT help desk to say the application is running really slowly. Without much view into whether there is a bandwidth issue ó or maybe thereís an issue with the CRM server ó the IT desk canít tell. With our service, they could quickly look into an applications performance management panel and see that the entire T-1 into that sales office is being used up by Web traffic coming from a single IP address because someone has set up a game server in the back room.Ē

Some of us may not like the idea that our employers can tell what we are doing on their clock and with their bandwidth, but as American businesses hunker down to ride out a rough recession, this is one new service that is likely to have real appeal.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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