The New Zealand Defence Force is to use an international conference to put a product created by Auckland firm Esphion against DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks through its paces.

The event, known as the JWID, or joint warrior interoperability demonstration, will involve defence personnel from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, the US and Canada. It is aimed at letting armed forces see new technology in an appropriate setting to judge its relevance to military operations.

If you send defence personnel to a regular computer tradeshow they see the products and services in a commercial context and their potential use in warfare is difficult to appreciate, said NZDF spokesman Ian Shearer.

JWID is held at one or more physical venues in each country (there will be three this year in New Zealand) and the national sites are linked by a WAN (wide area network). This enables experiments to be performed with new technology using the international links, and this year that will be done with the Esphion product, NetDeflect.

New Zealand will also be crucially involved in testing a US-originated IP compression tool, since that country's link on the WAN is comparatively skinny, at 256Kbps (kilobits per second).

"We're told fast compression and decompression will get us effective throughputs of more than 1Mbps (megabit per second)," Shearer says.

At present the NZDF is considering NetDeflect's potential purely within a military context, but Shearer says the Defence Force appreciates its role, and that of rival DDoS Shielding products, in the wider protection of the nation's essential computer networks.

"I have talked about it with [Jay Garden] who runs the Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection," he said.

Garden has flagged DDoS attacks as a high priority for the Centre's attention. JWID will take place between 13 and 24 May.