Application acceleration uses a number of technologies to improve application performance and response time over network connections.
Application acceleration was first implemented for web-based applications using a variety of caching techniques on both the browser and the server. Eventually caching became inadequate as a mechanism to improve application performance and optimization of protocols became part of the solution. Optimizations were at first confined to transport layer protocols like TCP, but eventually grew to encompass application-specific protocols such as HTTP.
Application acceleration overcomes network effects such as WAN latency, packet loss, and bandwidth congestion. Application acceleration also addresses application challenges that adversely affect performance such as "chatty" protocols, e.g. HTTP, CIFS, and Samba, differences in TCP/IP stack implementations, and the lack of distinction in web applications between cacheable and non-cacheable content.
F5 achieves application acceleration by combining intelligent compression, WAN optimization, Layer 7 rate shaping, smart caching, SSL acceleration, and other technologies in a complementary and cohesive way.