Australian WAN acceleration developer Exinda Networks has claimed an industry first with the launch of an acceleration box priced at under €2,000 (£1,350).

Rainer Richter, the company's European sales VP, said that unlike low-end boxes from his rivals, the 1Mbit/s Exinda 2800 has the same WAN and application acceleration features as its larger siblings. Exinda also announced new high-end boxes, running up to 500Mbit/s and €26,500 (around £18,000).

The company calls its acceleration scheme Unified Performance Management (UPM), and Richter claimed it provides a wider suite of functions than rivals such as Expand, Packeteer or Riverbed. The others can do many of the same things but not all of them in a single device, he said.

Among the technologies included in UPM are WAN optimisation, TCP and application acceleration, WAFS, policy-based QoS, application monitoring and reporting, and centralised management.

However, Exinda's claims to uniqueness were denied by Adam Davidson, Expand's VP Europe. "I don't think there's anything unique they're offering," he said. He acknowledged though that its entry-level price was slightly below Expand's equivalent of £1,695.

Davidson added that it's not clear to him whether Exinda even has the same features as Expand. For example, he pointed out that Exinda lists CIFS optimisation as WAFS, when in his view the two are not the same.

Riverbed's marketing director Apurva Dave agreed. "It's great if they have the cheapest box, but you get what you pay for," he said, adding that Exinda is best known for its traffic monitoring and QoS capabilities.

"Saying you provide application acceleration is hot right now, even if you only have one feature there, but their datasheets are all about application classification and monitoring, with very little about acceleration," he noted.

Still, Exinda's Richter insisted that his company held the advantage in both capability and price/performance.

"We are the only ones who have combined WAN optimisation and application acceleration in one box," he declared. He claimed that UPM was particularly strong in monitoring and reporting, in its application layer capabilities, and in QoS.

"You can typically see CRM or HTTP intranet applications perform poorly in remote offices," he said. "We can increase their performance by six to 20 times. SAP might see four to 12 times improvement, and on a mailserver with lots of replication you can get up to 20 times."

He added that the 2800 runs the same code as Exinda's larger boxes but on smaller hardware. The basic €2,000 model has no hard disk and can handle a 1Mbit/s line, while more powerful versions of the 2800 include a hard disk and can accelerate up to 10Mbit/s of application traffic.