While we could all use faster file transfer, there are practical limitations to acceleration technology. At low speeds anything up to 5 Mbps (Cable/DSL) with normal latency 80ms and below (transfers within one country), FTP provides nearly maximum speed. On the other hand, there are also scenarios that improve dramatically when file transfer acceleration is introduced, transforming transfers once taking days into minutes.
Here are some basic questions to help determine if file transfer acceleration can improve your current file transfer processes:
- Is my line speed faster than 10 Mbps (i.e. faster than Cable/DSL)?
- Is above average latency present (i.e. transfers between countries or overseas)?
- Is my network fragile and prone to packet loss (i.e. a satellite or wireless connection)?
Answering “yes” to any of the above questions means that acceleration is quite likely to be helpful. If you answered “no” to all the above, we may still solve other file transfer issues facing your organization.
File transfer acceleration delivers the greatest results in situations where there has been a higher than average investment in line speed, files are exchanged over large geographic distances, or when connections which are prone to packet loss are used. Let’s briefly address each of the points above:
- Line Speed: TCP (i.e. FTP, HTTP, etc.) has built-in practical speed restrictions. If TCP is maxing out at 4Mbps, and your link is 5Mbps, you won’t notice. However, at high speeds 4Mbps is a small percentage of the line speed available. Ironically, the higher your base connection speed, the more you need acceleration.
- Geographic Diversity: Distance adds latency due to satellite connections and multiple “hops”. Whereas TCP performance takes a dramatic hit with latency, FileCatalyst acceleration is immune to it.
- Unreliable Connectivity: Connections such as satellite links are prone to packet loss. With TCP, dropped packets cause the throughput to be reduced dramatically as it misinterprets this as network congestion. FileCatalyst lets you determine how it should react. It can power through and just retransmit lost packets or it can be tuned to slow down.
To see the benefits of file transfer acceleration in a scenario including a fast line speed, large transfer distance, and packet loss, consider the following results of a 10 GB media file being transferred over a 100 Mbps connection:
Even with a theoretical 100Mbps connection, it takes more than a full day to transfer a 10GB media file from L.A. to Hong Kong, compared to only 20 minutes using a FileCatalyst file transfer acceleration solution.