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Internet: from traffic explosion to the rise of a new Internet protocol

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Internet usage continues to grow steadily driven on one hand by an ever increasing number of connected devices (which are not limited to PC’s, laptops or smartphones but now moving towards vehicles, watches or other wearables) and on the other hand by new and data-hungry services and applications (e.g. cloud).

This continuous growth, both in terms of quantity of information to convey and performance and reliability of the connectivity, creates a demand for an improved Internet experience: more speed, more mobility, more resilience and more security.

A yet untapped way to address this demand is the aggregation (or bonding) of several Internet access links, using similar or heterogeneous underlying technologies.

During the last years, researchers, including several from Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), have designed, implemented and standardised a new Internet protocol: Multipath TCP (MPTCP). More specifically, it is an evolution of TCP, invented 40 years ago and used for over 90% of Internet traffic. This protocol is getting more and more attention from the telecommunications industry. In comparison to alternative solutions, it offers many benefits in particular in terms of deployability. It is simpler and cheaper to deploy.

Tessares, the 70th spin-off of UCL

In addition to having greatly contributed to the definition of this new protocol, the UCL researchers were the very first to develop a prototype software solution for industrial applications embedding this new standard. The demonstration of this prototype to telecom operators received a very positive feedback.

Indeed, the results obtained with the prototype were promising: in residential use, a combined throughput of over 100 Mbps was demonstrated on existing equipment by aggregating a DSL connection (70 Mbps) with a mobile LTE connection (40 Mbps). An even higher rate was obtained in the laboratory. Since the addressable market is very large, the decision to create a new company to turn that prototype into a commercial solution for telecom operators became obvious.

Tessares, a spin-off from the UCL, was founded in early March 2015 by Prof. Olivier Bonaventure, head of the laboratory in which the research was conducted, Sébastien Barré and Gregory Detal two senior researchers who contributed most to the development of the prototype, Denis Périquet who brings a wealth of industry experience in the telecom world and SOPARTEC, the UCL technology transfer company.

In April 2015, Tessares finalized its first fundraising with the contribution of two investors: Proximus (formerly Belgacom) and VIVES II – Louvain Technology Fund.

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