Applied Technology: How Signiant’s Media Shuttle Transfers Large Files Quickly and Securely

Media files are only going to get larger and they need to be transferred among globally distributed networks of production and post-production specialists, before making the final journey to consumers around the world. How can media professionals move large files quickly and securely?

The Signiant Media Shuttle is a SaaS solution that can transfer any size file quickly, no matter how big it is or how far it needs to go, yet has the easy feel of other cloud file sharing solutions often used for smaller files. That’s because Media Shuttle benefits from over a decade of Signiant’s development of award-winning file acceleration technology, security features and user experience design. We’ve also now had three years to get feedback from our customers and further improve its performance. So, while the user interface is very easy, the powerful technology driving it is far from simplistic.

Inside Media Shuttle

“UDP acceleration” is the industry vernacular for the kind of acceleration technology Signiant has developed." However, our acceleration protocol involves much more than basic UDP (user datagram protocol). On top of UDP, we’ve implemented mechanisms that improve on the foundational protocol used for transferring data over the Internet called TCP.

TCP (transfer control protocol) is used by both HTTP and FTP, and, for the large majority of data moving over the Internet, TCP works fine. However, TCP uses a relatively unsophisticated data transfer mechanism that can lead to slow data transfer, especially with large files and high bandwidth over distance. TCP will only transfer a limited amount of data before pausing for acknowledgment of safe receipt from the other end and can’t take advantage of all available bandwidth as a result. TCP also uses relatively unsophisticated mechanisms to detect and react to other traffic and congestion on the network that leads to under utilization and wasteful retransmissions. Often companies try to remedy this by purchasing more bandwidth. However, additional bandwidth does not reduce latency with TCP/FTP, so it doesn’t help when moving content over long distances.

Signiant's acceleration protocol uses more advanced reliability, flow and congestion control protocols on top UDP, but we’ve also replaced standard FTP with a more advances file transfer protocol. Standard FTP introduces a significant amount of per file overhead and Signiant’s file transfer protocol eliminates this overhead to improve transfer speeds for large data sets made up of many files. Additionally, our checkpoint/restart functionality ensures that a file transfer will automatically pick up transmission where it left off if interrupted.

Speed is essential for transferring large files efficiently, but security is also of the utmost importance for high value assets. Today’s users expect security features to be easy to use or they will often find workarounds or make mistakes. Because Signiant has been responsible for moving our customers’ most valuable assets, from blockbuster movie footage to financial records, security has always been a top priority. We design all of our software with multiple layers of security and encrypt data both during transit and at rest. And, perhaps most importantly, we constantly employ third party security experts to evaluate our software and associated security functionality throughout the software development and release cycle.

Media Shuttle encompasses all of these features providing media and entertainment companies a secure and reliable solution for all of their file transfer needs.

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