ANDA Balances Mobile Backhaul

NEW YORK -- Ethernet Expo Americas 2009 -- ANDA Networks Inc. says it's got a new approach to mobile backhaul that can alleviate sporadic surges in bandwidth demand.

The technology, called EtherStream, is getting announced here today at Light Reading's Ethernet Expo.

Mobile traffic can sporadically spike during events or if a particular viral video suddenly catches on. A flood of traffic arrives and vanishes -- and for that period of time, the mobile users experience what you could describe as the iPhone problem: really cool phones with really lousy data connections.

"They don't know where that traffic is coming from, and they don't have a better way of identifying it and optimizing it," says Greg Gum, ANDA's vice president of marketing and business development. "They're doing a lot of things at the core, but that's not this situation. By the time you get an operator up to take a look at it, all those viral video sessions may be gone."

The EtherStream software uses real-time load balancing to give each user's session the bandwidth it needs. It does this by borrowing bandwidth from other sessions that are idle or in a lull -- the pause that occurs while a user reads the Web page that just downloaded, for instance.

EtherStream does set limits on how extreme this borrowing can get, and the operator can set thresholds, making sure particular classes of service don't get all their bandwidth stolen away. "You don't want one guy to go completely crazy and get all of the bandwidth," Gum says.

The first piece of equipment to use EtherStream is the EtherEdge 4300, also announced today. It's a small box built to sit in remote base stations without eating up a lot of space or power.

ANDA also intends to license EtherStream out to base station providers; Gum says he's in discussions with two already. Most equipment vendors in the Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMax spaces already have their first-generation plans set, but Gum envisions them fitting EtherStream onto second-generation blades.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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