New Software Boosts Internet Performance

April 14, 1997

Network Measurement Techniques Developed At Boston University Help Explain And Correct Delays

(Boston, Mass.)--Novel techniques developed by Boston University researchers that allow computer users to assess the performance of their link to the Internet have been incorporated into Net.Medic, a new consumer software product which is being released today by VitalSigns Software, Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif.

Designed to be used with web browsers such as Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer, Net.Medic allows users to identify the source of slow response times from Web sites and then recommends solutions or automatically fixes the problem. The network measurement techniques developed by the Boston University researchers form the basis for some of the software's ability to monitor, isolate, diagnose and correct performance problems on the Internet.

The Boston University research was conducted by the OCEANS Group (Object Caching Environments for Applications and Network Services ), founded in 1994 by professors Mark Crovella, Azer Bestavros, and Abdelsalam Heddaya. Its purpose is to develop new methods to improve the performance of the Internet and the World Wide Web through measurement, analysis, and careful redesign.

"It's exciting to see VitalSigns solve some of the basic problems presented by today's Internet," says Mark Crovella, member of the OCEANS Group and assistant professor of Computer Science at Boston University. "It's gratifying to see techniques developed by our group at Boston University incorporated into a product which is contributing to the solution."

"The research by Mark Crovella and the OCEANS Group at Boston University developed network measurement technology particularly well suited for Net.Medic," says Jim Goetz, vice president for Product Management at VitalSigns. "We are looking forward to continuing to work with them on software that will make the Internet a more effective tool for its millions of users worldwide."

In 1995 the project published the first study of the effectiveness of "caching" -- the technique by which a browser saves a copy of a Web page so that a user can "go back" to it without having to re-transfer the page over the network. Based on that work, project members have gone on to study the benefits of a range of techniques to improve Web performance, such as eager document dissemination and speculative prefetching. An early study by the group of the characteristics of client use of the Web has been widely cited.

More information about The OCEANS group and a list of its scientific publications can be found at

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