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Data compression specialist QuikCAT Technologies has launched a service it claims is capable of accelerating email and web page access by up to 14 times.

The software, Miliki Dialup Accelerator, uses the company's patented content sensitive compression technology to reduce the amount of data passing down the connection. The upshot is an apparent increase in data throughput.

Not everything compresses by the same amount - the company only claims a sixfold increase on web pages, for instance, presumably because what takes up the space on a typical web page are the graphics and they tend to be compressed JPEG or GIF files anyway.

QuikCAT is pitching the offering at modem users, but it admits the technology can be used with any form of Net connection. Modems already use a degree of compression to up the effective data rate, so again the company has obviously found a way to squeeze the data even further. And just as a 56Kbps modem will almost never attain that level of throughput in a real-world situation, we suspect the same may be true of QuikCAT's estimates. Different users' mileages may vary.

The company says the technology works with whatever ISP the customer is signed up with.

How come? You have to have someone to compress the data being sent to the user, surely, and that means your ISP has to support the technology? Well, no. Miliki Dialup Accelerator is being pitched as a software product - it's a "revolutionary application", you can "download the free trial version" - but it's actually a service you gain by buying an annual subscription.

The fee is currently just $29.99 - though we note in the service's Ts&Cs that "any variation to the Fee will be at the discretion of QuikCAT". For your money, you get the client software that connects your browser to QuikCAT's server, which grabs your email from your ISP, or web pages your browser has requested, compresses the content and then squirts it down the line to you.

Once your year is up, QuikCAT will bill your credit card for a following year's subscription. ®

Bootnote

QuikCAT Tech Support says company claims its Miliki Dialup Accelerator service is capable of increasing the speed of web page downloads by up to six times and not the six per cent we originally mentioned. We're happy to rectify this slip of the (virtual) pen. ®

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