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F5 Networks Delivers Blistering Application Traffic Management Performance and Unmatched Intelligence Via New Packet Velocity ASIC and BIG-IP Platforms

F5 validates performance leadership through independent lab testing results on industry's broadest range of platforms

F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), the leading provider of Application Traffic Management products, today announced its Packet Velocity™ ASIC and new product line-up, enhancing F5's IP Application Switch product line. The new custom ASIC is the first in a family that provides the industry's fastest processing of Layer 4 traffic. With this offering, F5 provides increased performance at Layer 4 when needed, while still providing superior intelligence and speed for Application (Layer 7) traffic. Adding three new members to its award-winning IP Application Switch family, F5 is introducing the BIG-IP 1000, BIG-IP 2400 and the BIG-IP 5100. F5's new hardware capabilities announced today fortify the overall performance of Application Traffic Management: a groundbreaking new networking category pioneered by F5 that enables customers to switch, persist and filter on any type of IP payload.

"With the introduction of its Packet Velocity ASIC and Universal Inspection Engine, F5 is moving beyond the traditional load balancing market," said Joel Conover, Senior Analyst, e-Business Infrastructure, Current Analysis. "The concept of Application Traffic Management has been applied to the web switching environment, and now F5 is taking that technology and extending it to address a much broader range of enterprise applications. When combined with F5's extensive suite of Internet traffic management capabilities, the BIG-IP becomes a powerful platform that addresses the problem of scaling complex enterprise applications. F5 gains a true competitive advantage with the addition of payload-intelligent switching for applications such as XML, SQL, and Web Services."

For enterprise-class and mobile application level switching and persistence, the BIG-IP 5100 offers customers the industry's fastest Layer 7 performance and processing power, enabling deep packet inspection of any IP-based content via BIG-IP's Universal Inspection Engine. The BIG-IP 2400 incorporates the new Packet Velocity ASIC for enterprises with intense Layer 4 requirements and Layer 7 processing needs, while the BIG-IP 1000 offers the ultimate Layer 4-7 price/performance switch, targeted for customers with more modest traffic management needs.

F5's new custom ASIC is specifically designed to handle up to 250,000 Layer 4 connections per second and increases performance by offloading traffic that does not require processing; giving full attention to the traffic that does. This allows maximum processing power to be applied to application inspection, switching and persistence (Layer 7 traffic), which is important for customers who are looking for operational efficiencies, security, scale and optimized performance for enterprise applications and web services.

"At Future Computing Solutions, we team with customers to help integrate and deploy customized services and solutions based on the individual customer's specific business processes," said Neal Desai, Vice President, Future Computing Solutions, Inc. "That's why we're excited about F5's powerful new products that extend the benefits of intelligent traffic management to any IP-based application or service. By giving customers the ability to easily share application specific logic with BIG-IP, traffic management decisions are aligned and in sync with the actual business application. This is a powerful differentiator for F5. And, by expanding its line of award-winning IP Application Switches with products like the BIG-IP 1000, F5 enables us offer a high quality solution to customers, regardless of their budget."

Independent performance testing shows that F5's BIG-IP Application Switches generated the best Layer 4 and Layer 7 results. For Layer 4, F5's BIG-IP 2400 IP Application Switch tested at 108,772 L4 connections/second as compared to Cisco's 11503 Content Services Switch at 10,268 connections/second; outperforming Cisco by 1,065%. For Layer 7, F5's BIG-IP 5100 Application Switch tested at 18,565 L7 connections/second as compared to Cisco's 11503 at 2,514 L7 connections/second; surpassing Cisco by 738%. To validate its performance claims, F5 is publishing results from a third party testing group, which proves that F5 outperforms its competitors in both Layer 4 and Layer 7 new sessions per second. The testing is a departure from previous methodologies where vendors test their products in non real-world test scenarios that only involve TCP set up and tear down (with no real data transferred for the session). In F5's product testing scenario, a full range of traffic was conducted from 64 byte requests to 512 kilobyte requests in order to give performance information that reflected a wide variety of traffic and environments and real world usage. Testing involved the Ixia IxWeb v1.25 application software on two Ixia 1600XT chassis using 72 ports to execute and control the testing. This software was installed on both Ixia chassis and a separate PC-based system to configure and execute all tests. Testing procedures and scripts will be made available upon request and can be reproduced.

"We're excited to roll out new advancements in hardware that offer performance-leading power and flexibility to successfully support customers' Application Traffic Management deployments," said Jeff Stockdale, vice president, platform technology at F5 Networks. "The BIG-IP 2400 with the Packet Velocity ASIC offers a powerful combination of high-speed Layer 4 processing and exceptional Layer 7 intelligence, and is a hefty down payment toward future advancements from F5. The breadth and depth of today's announcements delivers an unbeatable set of choices for F5 customers, no matter how complex or basic their traffic management requirements are."

F5's new hardware platforms have been optimized to support the processor intensive functions needed for executing Application Traffic Management so that enterprises' and service providers' performance needs are well met. All three new products come with built in SSL capabilities carrying on a long tradition in F5's IP Application Switch architecture. F5 was the first vendor to integrate SSL processing on a switch platform and continues to dominate the market (67% unit market share and 79% revenue market share1). F5's new IP Application Switches incorporate the latest generation of SSL processors, capable of 1000 to 4000 RSA Transactions Per Second (TPS). Overall TPS licensing and processing varies depending on the IP Application Switch platform. The BIG-IP 5100 and 2400 have an optional specialized SSL hardware module, which is FIPS (Federal Information Processing Systems) 140-2 level 3 certified. This certification is recognized worldwide by organizations who require the highest level of security for SSL encryption of application traffic and F5 offers the first switch-based Application Traffic Management device to provide this level of security.

Pricing and Availability

The BIG-IP 5100 is a 24 10/100, 4 fiber gigabit port switch with dual Pentium III 1.26 GHz processors for unmatched application level (layer 7) processing. The BIG-IP 2400 is a 16 10/100, 2 fiber gigabit port switch with the Packet Velocity ASIC and a single Pentium III 1.26 GHz processor, accelerating site response with up to 250,000 Layer 4 (IP address and port) requests per second. The BIG-IP 1000 is an 8 10/100, single fiber gigabit port switch and single Pentium 1 GHz processor. All F5 IP Application Switch platforms have integrated SSL for fast secure application processing. F5's new IP Application Switch platforms will be available in calendar year Q4. US list prices range from $14,990 for a single BIG-IP 1000 to $57,990 for a fully redundant pair of BIG-IP 5100's. Please contact F5 or your local F5 channel representative for additional information on product options, pricing and availability. Standard reseller discounts apply.

1 Source: Infonetics Research, Inc., SSL Acceleration Hardware - Bi-annual Worldwide Market Share and Forecasts for 1H02; August 2002.

About F5 Networks

F5 Networks is the Industry leader in Application Traffic Management, enabling enterprises and service providers to optimize any mission-critical application or web service, providing secure and predictable delivery of application traffic in an unpredictable environment. Through F5's unique open iControl™ API, third party applications and network devices can take an active role in shaping network traffic, delivering application aware networks that allow customers to direct traffic based on their exact business requirements. Our solutions optimize the availability, security and speed of mission-critical servers and applications, including enterprise applications, web services, mobile IP applications, web publishing, content delivery, e-commerce, caching, firewalls and more. F5's solutions are widely deployed in large enterprises, the top service providers, financial institutions, government agencies, healthcare, and portals throughout the world. The company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and has offices throughout North America, Europe Japan and Asia Pacific. F5 Networks is located on the web at

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This press release may contain forward looking statements relating to future events or future financial performance that involve risks and uncertainties. Such statements can be identified by terminology such as "may," "will," "should," "expects," "plans," "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "predicts," "potential," or "continue," or the negative of such terms or comparable terms. These statements are only predictions and actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these statements based upon a number of factors including those identified in the company's filings with the SEC.