Cloudflare has filed a patent for a unified network service that connects multiple private networks and end user devices operating on separate networks. The service provides routing, security, and performance services through a distributed cloud computing network. It allows for uniform access control at the IP layer or higher layers using user identity information. The service also enables private resources to be visible only to client devices of the organization while using overlapping address space with other customers. GlobalData’s report on Cloudflare gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s company profile on Cloudflare, automation system authentication was a key innovation area identified from patents. Cloudflare's grant share as of September 2023 was 82%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Unified network service connecting private networks with distributed cloud computing

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Cloudflare Inc

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230308415A1) describes a method for managing traffic in a distributed cloud computing network. The method involves receiving traffic at a first compute server's layer 3 traffic interface, which is destined for a private application or service running on a customer's server outside of the distributed cloud computing network. The identity information associated with the received traffic is determined, including the fact that it is attributable to a customer of a unified network service provided through the distributed cloud computing network. Using policies configured for the customer and the determined identity information, it is determined whether the received traffic is allowed to be transmitted to the private application or service. If allowed, a second traffic interface on a second compute server of the distributed cloud computing network is determined, which interfaces with the customer's server and is a layer 7 traffic interface. The received traffic is then transmitted from the first compute server to the determined second traffic interface on the second compute server, and subsequently transmitted from the second traffic interface to the customer's server.

The method also includes various additional features. For example, the first traffic interface can be a generic routing encapsulation (GRE) interface or a virtual private network (VPN) interface, depending on the type of tunnel used by the customer's router or VPN client. The identity information associated with the received traffic may include the identification of the customer or the user transmitting the traffic. The transmission of the received traffic from the first compute server to the determined second traffic interface can be proxied over an HTTP/2 proxy. Additionally, the received traffic can be marked with the determined identity information.

The patent also describes a non-transitory machine-readable storage medium that provides instructions for carrying out the method described above. Furthermore, a server is disclosed that includes a processor and the non-transitory machine-readable storage medium to execute the operations of the method.

Overall, this patent presents a method for efficiently managing traffic in a distributed cloud computing network, allowing for secure and controlled transmission of traffic to private applications or services. The method incorporates various interfaces and policies to determine the identity of the traffic and ensure that it is transmitted to the appropriate destination.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.