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TCP/IP Over Satellite: Optimization vs. Acceleration

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Satellite communications have numerous advantages over terrestrial data connections (DSL, Frame Relay, etc.) including mobility, network topology, and the "anywhere and everywhere” benefit of global coverage. These advantages come at the price of increased data transit times, also known as latency.  The large latency associated with satellite communications originates in the 125 ms required for data packets to travel at the speed of light from the earth’s surface to any one of the communication satellites
positioned over the equator. Unfortunately, most applicationsnot to mention the TCP/IP protocol, are written without regard for network latency.  The satellite industry has developed a number of technologies to minimize the effects of latency on TCP satellite communications, which are most often termed "TCP Acceleration."

This white paper examines acceleration techniques and compares them to more advanced forms of optimization that deliver LAN-like performance over satellite without the addition of numerous appliances to the uplink/downlink chain.

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