Company uses XML technology created by DARPA to accelerate wireless Web

Company uses XML technology created by DARPA to accelerate wireless Web

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

AlterEgo Networks Inc. is using technology developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to create a wireless Web infrastructure.

The Redwood City, Calif., start-up is establishing server clusters on a network backbone to give handheld wireless devices access to Web content.

The AlterEgo scheme applies a translation engine to Web sites and creates an Extensible Markup Language data set that can adapt to the requirements of various target devices.

The company expects to introduce the service this summer with about 20 content providers, AlterEgo president and chief executive officer Richard G. Ling said.

'We want to accelerate the adoption of alternate devices for the Web,' he said.

The company uses technology developed by Stanford Research Institute for DARPA to deliver Web content under bandwidth, protocol and form-factor constraints.

A growing number of cellular phones and handheld computers can connect to the Internet via the Wireless Access Protocol, but Web content must be reformatted for the devices' small screens.

AlterEgo's Proteus Designer converts Hypertext Markup Language to an XML abstraction layer. Rules are defined to create templates, which format the XML content depending on the type of device requesting the data and the protocol it uses. Content arrives through AlterEgo server clusters at private network access points on the backbone of InterNAP Network Services Corp. of Seattle.

An AlterEgo Domain Name System server routes a wireless Web request from an AlterEgo user to the nearest cluster. There, an adaptation server checks for XML content and rules corresponding to the HTML request, applies them to the HTML commands through the proper template and sends the adapted text to the wireless browser.

An image server reduces the size or resolution of graphics or replaces them with text, depending on the rules for the type of device.

Rules also can specify different resolution levels depending on available bandwidth. A bandwidth detection server measures effective transmission speeds between the user and the server cluster.

AlterEgo will charge users by the number of page views they request. The company has not announced any clients, but Ling said it has demonstrated the technology for the House of Representatives Web site, at www.house.gov.

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