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iBeam Satellite Network to Serve 100,000 Concurrent Users

iBeam Broadcasting unveiled details of its satellite based network at the ISPcon show.

The iBeam Network will broadcast Web content and streaming media to ISPs who subscribe to the network and deploy the iBeam remote servers. The company said the network will help ISPs reduce bandwidth costs and improve end user quality of service.

"The performance limitations of the Internet are generally a result of backbone and infrastructure delays," said Umang Gupta, chairman and CEO of Keynote Systems. "A satellite-based network can effectively bypass these delays, resulting in dramatic improvements in end user performance."

The iBeam network collects Web content directly from the content provider, and broadcasts it directly to the iBeam server, called the MaxCaster, located at the ISP's POP. The iBeam server then replicates the content and delivers it to the end user. The system supports HTTP, FTP Web file formats, and RealNetworks and Microsoft NetShow streaming media.

iBeam claims that at the completion of the first phase of deployment early next year, the network will allow 100,000 concurrent users of streaming media.

iBeam uses the HNS DirecPC satellite platform to broadcast content to the MaxCasters. The MaxCaster consists of a satellite downlink, server, and Foundry layer 4 switch. The MaxCaster also allows the ISP to serve HTTP and FTP pages, which allows the ISP to further reduce network load.

ISPs that sign up for the iBeam service also share in revenue generated from network advertising. The service may also deliver advertising local to an ISP's city or region.

iBeam will install the MaxCaster and provide all necessary hardware, software and network monitoring. As a result, an ISP can subscribe to the iBeam service with no capital expenditure. A charter membership will cost $15,000 plus a monthly service fee of $495 per month.

Currently, the service is in beta-testing and will be available in October 1998.