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Manual Chapter: Administrator Guide for the BIG-IP WebAccelerator Module: 1 - Introduction
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Introducing the BIG-IP system

F5 Networks' BIG-IP® system is a port-based, multilayer switch that supports virtual local area network (VLAN) technology. Because hosts within a VLAN can communicate at the data-link layer (Layer 2), a BIG-IP system reduces the need for routers and IP routing on the network. This in turn reduces equipment costs and boosts overall network performance. At the same time, the BIG-IP system's multilayer capabilities enable the system to process traffic at other OSI layers. The BIG-IP system can perform IP routing at Layer 3, as well as manage and secure TCP, UDP, and other application traffic at Layers 4 through 7.

The following software modules provide comprehensive traffic management and security for all traffic types. The modules are fully integrated to provide efficient solutions to meet any network, traffic management, and security needs.

  • BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager
    The BIG-IP system includes local traffic management features that help you make the most of network resources such as web servers. Using the powerful Configuration utility, you can customize the way that the BIG-IP system processes specific types of protocol and application traffic. By using features such as virtual servers, server pools, profiles, and iRulesTM, you ensure that traffic passing through the BIG-IP system is processed quickly and efficiently, while meeting all of your security needs. For more information, see the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Local Traffic Management.
  • BIG-IP® Global Traffic Manager
    The Global Traffic Manager provides intelligent traffic management to your globally available network resources. Through the Global Traffic Manager, you can select from an array of load balancing modes, ensuring that your clients access the most responsive and robust resources at any given time. In addition, the Global Traffic Manager provides extensive monitoring capabilities so the health of any given resource is always available. For more information, see the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Global Traffic Management.
  • BIG-IP® Link Controller
    The Link Controller seamlessly monitors availability and performance of multiple WAN connections to intelligently manage bi-directional traffic flows to a site, providing fault tolerant, optimized Internet access regardless of connection type or provider. The Link Controller ensures that traffic is always sent over the best available link to maximize user performance and minimize bandwidth cost to a data center. For more information, see the Configuration Guide for the BIG-IP® Link Controller.
  • BIG-IP®Application Security Management
    The Application Security Management module provides web application protection from application-layer attacks. The Application Security Module protects Web applications from both generalized and targeted application layer attacks including buffer overflow, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and parameter tampering. For more information, see the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Application Security Management.

About the WebAccelerator module

F5 Networks' WebAccelerator module is designed to improve your site's performance while off-loading traffic from your site's origin servers.

Installed on your corporate network between your applications' users and the server(s) on which your applications run, the WebAccelerator module accelerates the application's response to HTTP requests. For more specific information about the features of the WebAccelerator module, see Chapter 2, Overview of the WebAccelerator System .

Using the Configuration utility

The Configuration utility is the browser-based graphical user interface for the BIG-IP system. The Configuration utility provides you access to the WebAccelerator module, as well as the network, system, and local traffic configuration objects.


All users need to use the web-based Configuration utility to license the system for the first time.

Browser support for the Configuration utility

You can use any of the following web browsers to access the Configuration utility.

  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer™, version 6.0.2900
  • Firefox™ version 1.5 through 1.5.07
  • Netscape® Navigator™, version 7.1 through 8.1
  • Mozilla™ version 8.12

For the most current list of the supported browsers for the Configuration utility, refer to the current release note at

About this guide

This guide describes the administrative concepts and procedures for configuring the WebAccelerator module. In particular, this guide provides the following information for the WebAccelerator system administrator.

  • Core product concepts and features of interest
  • Configuration procedures
  • Monitoring and file management

The intended audience for this guide is the IT or operations professional who is responsible for configuring and providing the ongoing management of the WebAccelerator module.

Some of the tasks that are described in this guide require that you access the WebAccelerator module by attaching a console to it, or by some form of remote login, such as SSH.

Additional product documentation

The WebAccelerator module documentation set consists of:

  • Administrator Guide for the BIG-IP WebAccelerator Module
    Provides information about the administrative concepts and procedures for configuring the WebAccelerator module.
  • Policy Management Guide for the BIG-IP WebAccelerator Module
    Provides information about creating and editing policies to tailor the WebAccelerator module for optimal performance.
  • Release notes
    Provide information about new features, known issues, and workarounds.
  • Online help
    Provides information about the user interface. The Configuration utility has online help for each screen. To access the online help, click the Help button from any screen.

You can access the product documentation as HTML or PDF files from:

  • The product CD
  • The directory on which you installed the WebAccelerator module
  • The F5 Networks Technical Support web site,

Stylistic conventions in this guide

To help you easily identify and understand certain types of information, this documentation uses the following stylistic conventions.

Using the solution examples

All examples in this documentation use only private IP addresses. When you set up the solutions we describe, you must use IP addresses suitable to your own network in place of our sample IP addresses.

Identifying new terms

When we first define a new term, the term is shown in bold italic text. For example:

Most sites are built on a collection of web servers, application servers, and database servers that we refer to collectively as origin servers.

Identifying references to products

We refer to all products in the BIG-IP product family as BIG-IP systems. We refer to the software modules by their name; for example, we refer to the WebAccelerator module simply as the WebAccelerator system. If configuration information relates to a specific hardware platform, we note the platform.

Identifying references to objects, names, and commands

We apply bold formatting to a variety of items to help you easily pick them out of a block of text. These items include web addresses, IP addresses, utility names, most controls in the Configuration utility, and portions of commands, such as variables and keywords.

For example:

You create socket tunnels by adding one or more socketTunnel parameters to the pvsystem.conf file. The format for this parameter is:

<socketTunnel listenPort=[port] remoteHost=[host:port] />


  • port
    Is the port on the WebAccelerator system that receives the traffic that you want sent through a tunnel.
  • host:port
    Is the host name and port to which you want the traffic sent.
  • For example:

    <socketTunnel listenPort="444" remoteHost="" />

Identifying references to other documents

We use italic text to denote a reference to a specific section, or another document. In references where we provide the name of a book as well as a specific chapter or section in the book, we show the book name in bold, italic text, and the chapter/section name in italic text to help quickly differentiate the two.

For example, you can find information about local traffic virtual servers in the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Local Traffic Management, Chapter 2, Configuring Virtual Servers.

Identifying command syntax

We show actual, complete commands in bold Courier text. For example:

<socketTunnel listenPort="444" remoteHost="" />

Note that we do not include the corresponding screen prompt, unless the command is shown in a figure that depicts an entire command line screen. Table 1.1 explains additional special conventions used in command line syntax.


Table 1.1 Command line conventions used in this manual
Item in text
Continue to the next line without typing a line break.
< >
You enter text for the enclosed item. For example, if the command has <your name>, type in your name.
Separates parts of a command.
[ ]
Syntax inside the brackets is optional.
Indicates that you can type a series of items.


Finding help and technical support resources

You can find additional technical documentation and product information using the following resources:

  • Online help for the WebAccelerator system
    Provides information about the user interface. The Configuration utility has online help for each screen. To access the online help, click the Help button from any screen.
  • Welcome screen in the Configuration utility
    The Welcome screen in the Configuration utility contains links to many useful web sites and resources, including:
    • The F5 Networks Technical Support web site
    • The F5 Solution Center
    • The F5 DevCentral web site
    • Plug-ins, SNMP MIBs, and SSH clients
  • F5 Networks Technical Support web site
    The F5 Networks Technical Support web site,, provides the latest documentation for the product, including:
    • Release notes for the WebAccelerator system, current and past
    • Updates for guides (in PDF form)
    • Technical notes
    • Answers to frequently asked questions
    • The AskF5 natural language question and answer engine.

To access this site, you need to register at

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