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WebHuddle: Uniquely Small

In addition to superior security, simplicity, and cross-platform support, WebHuddle is unusually small in both client size and bandwidth requirements. This means extremely fast entry into meetings and the ability to participate or even host meetings over lower bandwidth connections.

The WebHuddle client weighs in at about 100 to 150 kilobytes in size, depending on the meeting features chosen. Assuming a 50 kilobits/second dial-up connection, this would take about 15 seconds to download. In other web conferencing services, a client size of 2 megabytes or more is typical. Over the same dial-up connection, such a client would take over five minutes to download. Some services offer a small "installer" download, but this is really only a "foot in the door" which proceeds to download a lot more.

Even as broadband connections such as DSL and Cable Modems become more common, bandwidth efficiency remains very important. First, the word "broadband" is relative: many DSL packages offer only 384 kilobits per second speed; cable modems, because their bandwidth is shared among neighbors, can become very slow during peak usage hours. Second, the quoted speeds for broadband service are for the download speed -- upstream speeds are typically capped at a fraction of the downstream rate. Third, despite the proliferation of broadband, dial-up will remain the least-common-denominator for a long time.

How is WebHuddle so small? By keeping the design and feature set simple, and by leveraging the rich Java environment built in to most browsers. Instead of chasing every bleeding-edge feature, WebHuddle strives for reliable implementation of the most popular features of proven utility. Find more details about WebHuddle’s simplicity here. Java’s vast library of networking, user-interface, audio, security, utility and other functions mean there’s less "reinventing the wheel." Java also helps WebHuddle realize excellent security and cross-platform support.

WebHuddle is uniquely small not only in the size of its client, but also in its bandwidth requirement. This is due largely to WebHuddle’s server-centric architecture. With most other web conferencing services, the meeting host’s computer acts as the central node of network communication. In other words, if the host sends a chat message to everybody in a given meeting, the host’s computer will send the message as many times as there are participants in the meeting. This architecture is often called "network centric" or "peer-to-peer" or "least cost routing" or simply T120. The idea is that data goes directly from its origin to its destination, with no intermediate hops. Not only is this approach thwarted by firewalls, it also requires that the host of a given meeting have a certain amount of bandwidth per participant, because their computer acts as the clearing house for all messages. With such architectures, the more participants there are, the more bandwidth the moderator needs.

In contrast, the server-centric architecture of WebHuddle removes the bandwidth burden from the host of the meeting and shifts it to WebHuddle itself. In the example of broadcasting a chat message, the data travels from the host to the WebHuddle server which in turn sends it to all participants. As shown below, the WebHuddle service broadcasts messages on behalf of the sender, reducing their bandwidth requirement.

WebHuddle’s unique smallness, both in terms of the client size and bandwidth needs, means better, more accessible meetings for everybody.

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