THE IDEA OF RUNNING A global corporation on an "intranet" is gaining in popularity. Potentially, it's an inexpensive and efficient way to manage operations across different time zones and types of computers. Potentially. But global Internet traffic can be painfully slow. One reason: Nearly all data pass through a network-access point of at least one of the major U.S.-based communications providers, such as Sprint, MCI Communications, or AT&T. That can create a bottleneck because those services are quickly becoming oversubscribed, causing traffic jams.
How to get around this? Ship your traffic through Digital Island. The Honolulu-based startup claims to have a speedy way to handle international Internet traffic. It's in the process of connecting countries on every continent with direct connections to its central servers in Hawaii. Even if a call originates in Europe, DI says, it will get to the U.S. faster through its server because phone circuits in Honolulu are less crowded.
DI's architecture also allows it to hook directly into any Internet carrier without having to pass through another company's network. Since traffic slows every time a carrier hands off data to another network, the fewer handoffs, the faster data can be delivered. The network goes live this month, with Cisco Systems using it to deliver maintenance data and software to customers around the globe.