Web switch

Web switch

A network device that routes traffic to the appropriate Web server based on the content of the packet. Also known as a "URL switch," "Web content switch," "content switch," "layer 7 switch" and "layer 4-7 switch," the Web switch is designed to provide improved load balancing for a website, because different requests can be routed to the servers configured to handle them.

For example, streaming audio and video have long-lived "sticky" connections and may be better served from a dedicated server or one that is closer to the user. Requests for static data can be directed to cache servers, while dynamic requests bypass the cache server.

Layer 7 Digs Deeper
The Web switch examines layer 4 and layer 7 in the network packet. Although any layer 4 switch can examine the TCP/IP port number and differentiate HTTP traffic (Web traffic) from the rest, the Web switch also inspects layer 7, which contains the details of the HTTP request. For example, an HTTP request for a static image would be directed to a cache server, while an HTTP request for a search would go to the Web server handling ad hoc queries. See well-known port, Content Smart Web Switch and TCP splicing.

TCP/IP SWITCHING/ROUTING DECISIONSLayer and      ForwardingProtocol       DecisionInspected      Based on

  2 - Ethernet   MAC address

  3 - IP         Network address
  3 - IP         Service quality

  4 - TCP/UDP    Traffic type
      socket     (HTTP, FTP, etc.)

  7 - HTTP       HTTP request type

The First Web Switches
ArrowPoint Communications pioneered Web switching in 1998 with its Content Smart switch. The CS-100 (left) supported 16 Fast Ethernet ports, while the CS-800 (right) supported 32 Gigabit Ethernet ports. (Image courtesy of Cisco Systems, Inc.)
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References in periodicals archive ?
Application delivery network is often associated with traffic management, which sometimes also known as web switch or content switch.
It becomes the largest major daily to make the Web switch. Earlier this year, the 17,000 daily circulation Capital Times in Madison, Wis., dropped its daily paper, offering two weekly publications and increased Web site reporting.
At the same time Nortel Networks has also announced the Alteon Central Management System (CMS) for configuration, management and content-intelligent web service provisioning across multiple web switches, and Alteon Element Management System (EMS), a standalone Java application that provides a graphical user interface for web switch configuration and management.
Road Runner needed a next-generation Web switch that would direct Web traffic based on identifying individual users and routing it to the best server available for the specific content requested.
Since the logical place for an Internet accelerator is between the final aggregation point of a server cluster (such as a web switch) and the border router, it's also the logical place to collect server log data about customer behavior.
(Nasdaq:FDRY), Atlanta, a leader in high-performance, end-to-end switching and routing solutions, has introduced a new stackable Web switch, the ServerIron 4802, based on a new purpose-built Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) technology that provides integrated Layer 2 through Layer 7 Internet traffic and content management switching.
It consists of Alteon Web Switch, Alteon Security Appliances, and purpose-built software that accelerates a variety of security applications.
Riverstone Networks, a provider of metropolitan area network infrastructure, has introduced the IA 1100 and IA 1200 Web switch. These second generation web switches deliver web, application hosting, and load balancing solutions that are optimized for application and content delivery in colocation centers.
ArrowPoint Communications (NASDAQ:ARPT) has extended its Content Smart Web switching family with two new Web switch platforms designed to provide small-to-medium Web sites and service provider points of presence (POPs) with customer-focused Web network services at new levels of price/performance.