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Caltech spinoff FastSoft is the latest entrant to the WAN optimization arena, with a TCP technology it claims can significantly speed file delivery over the Internet.

The startup, which launched its first products earlier this year, also clinched a $4 million funding round this week, led by Miramar Ventures. (See FastSoft Receives $4M.)

FastSoft's flagship offering is its Aria device, a 1U-high appliance that sits in front of FTP servers and checks TCP links for congestion. "The TCP protocol is a 20-year old protocol that was never meant for high-bandwidth applications," says Dan Henderson, the startup's vice president of product and market development. "You wouldn't use a Commodore Vic 20 to do your [PC] work on, but it's the same vintage as TCP/IP."

After checking an Internet link, the Aria device then sends data packets at the "optimal rate," according to Henderson, adding that this can speed up file transfer times by a factor of 13.

WAN optimization and WAFS have certainly caught on in the last few years, with a number of vendors, including hardware vendor Riverbed and managed services specialist Akamai, touting their wares as a way to boost file transfer. (See Users Rally Round Remote Solutions, Riverbed Gets 2000 Customers, Orange, Riverbed Sign, and Akamai Nets Netli for $180M.)

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