Northeast Ohio startup looks to speed up Internet – Columbus Dispatch

Acceleration Systems says it can dramatically increase Internet speeds for small businesses for,
say, $100 a month, using their existing connection.

The small startup in Northfield, between Cleveland and Akron, is betting that its software
product, now in late-stage development, has what it takes to make it big. Really big.

And it has big financial backers who think the same thing.

Among them is Warren V. “Pete” Musser, the Philadelphia-based entrepreneur whose investments
helped create companies that include cable-TV giant Comcast, the QVC channel and computer-network
pioneer Novell Inc.

Musser is chairman of Acceleration Systems and has sunk some of his own money into the
company.

“This technology has an opportunity to make some radical impact on the business world. We make
the Internet go faster — that’s what we do,” said Michael Kister, the company’s president and chief
executive officer. “It’s making existing infrastructure go faster.”

The goal of Acceleration Systems is to make slow, wire-based Internet connections fast enough
for small businesses to efficiently and economically use cloud-based applications, Kister said. The
cloud — also known as cloud computing — is a term used for when services such as programs and data
are stored at and accessed from remote locations.

Other available technology that makes the Internet faster is typically expensive, costing
sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, putting it out of reach for most small businesses,
Kister said.

“What we figured out what to do is take that kind of technology and put it in the cloud,” he
said. “Now we have Internet acceleration that we can offer as a monthly subscription service. …
How about 100 bucks a month? That’s doable. That’s a real number. We’ve now made this technology
accessible to a huge market that’s never been able to afford it before.”

Acceleration Systems says its patented software takes different approaches to increase Internet
speed.

To greatly simplify things, the software compresses, or “squashes,” data so it takes up less
bandwidth. Then it basically acts as a traffic cop, quickly setting priorities for how data is sent
and received.

The third part of the speed puzzle involves a radically different way to make data flow
extremely efficiently in the “last mile” of an Internet connection, Kister said. This final piece
of software will be finished and released by the end of fall, he said. (Most of the software
development is done in Kentucky.)

Acceleration Systems’ technology sits in part between a modem and a router. What the company
calls its small box, the “Remote Business Accelerator,” is plugged into the modem’s Internet
connection and into the business operation’s router.

The company was launched with the help of a couple of seed investors, including Musser.

Musser said that of all the companies he has invested in over the decades — he’s in his late 80s
— Acceleration Systems brings him back to the early days of Novell, which three students created at
Brigham Young University.

Acceleration Systems “reminds me of that,” he said. “It’s so economical. And the need is so
great. You could have a sizable company in a short time.”

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