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Corporate culture, personal experiences, and unique observations about Giganews, Usenet, Newsgroups, and Usenet related technologies.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Why You Should be Using the Giganews Accelerator™

If you use the Giganews® Usenet service, or if you keep up with Usenet news, you've probably heard about the Giganews Accelerator. The Giganews Accelerator is a Windows® operating system based software application which was custom built by our very own engineering team to improve the security and speed of the Usenet experience.

This post was written to give you an inside look at the security and compression advantages that set the Giganews Accelerator apart.

What does the Giganews Accelerator Do?

• Compresses headers for up to 10 times faster header downloads
• Enables secure login, whether or not you have SSL service
• Real-time reporting on your in/out traffic
• Allows rate-limiting even if your news reader doesn't
• Allows SSL connections even if your news reader doesn't

Compression Technology

The Giganews Accelerator sets itself apart from other Usenet compression technologies because the Accelerator's compression is done at the protocol level rather than the network level. By compressing at the protocol level, we can selectively compress the parts of the data stream where compression makes sense, and leave alone parts that do not benefit from compression.

Most binary article data is already compressed when it's uploaded, so compressing it for download doesn't actually save users any network traffic. Similarly, very small content, such as response messages, also get very little benefit out of compression because of their already small size.

Compression also requires CPU and time. CPU time is required on the server end to compress the data and on the client end, to decompress the data.

By selectively compressing only the compressible content, a user's CPU can be used for downloading instead of needless decompression work.

Other Usenet compression technologies essentially compress the entire network stream, using software like Stunnel, which compresses all data in and out. With that method, every bit of traffic requires more CPU to decompress, CPU that could be better spent on getting more traffic or decoding already downloaded data.

Differences Between Stunnel and the Giganews Accelerator



Secure Logins

With the Giganews Accelerator, all of your logins are secured via SSL, even if you do not have 256-bit SSL encryption added to your Giganews account. With the Accelerator, we do authentication under SSL and then the Accelerator renegotiates an unencrypted connection for continued use. Your login and password are private, even if you don't pay for the full privacy that an SSL account offers.

Of course, if you do have an SSL account, the Accelerator will fully utilize it, even if your news reader software doesn't support SSL. On the server end, our SSL is built directly into our custom written server software. We write all of our software in-house with an eye towards maximizing per-stream performance. By hooking SSL capabilities directly into our server software without proxy servers or processes, we can read and write SSL data as efficiently as possible!

Real-Time Reporting

With the Accelerator's real-time reporting function, you can see how many actual connections you have open, what commands are being issued, and what state they are in.



Rate-Limiting

The Giganews Accelerator lets you rate-limit your streams as one entire group. This lets you optimize your bandwidth usage if you share an Internet connection or if you just need to do some other things while downloading data. With the Accelerator's rate-limiting feature, you can ratchet your connection speed down to control the flow of bandwidth for other purposes, even if your news reader software doesn't support rate-limits.



In Conclusion

We encourage you to check out all of these features for yourself. The Giganews Accelerator is a free program and we really think that it improves the Giganews Usenet experience. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. You can also check out our Usenet University™ tutorial page about the Giganews Accelerator. There is a cool little video, featuring screen shots and instructions about configuring the Accelerator and your news reader, all done with a soothing British voice over.
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