Improvements to network bandwidth will be for naught unless the Internet’s underlying protocols are updated, says Google’s Urs Holzle. He says that in the next few years the average network speed worldwide will likely expand three-fold from 1.8 Mbps to 5.4 Mbps. Holzle speculates that, according to internal tests at Google, Internet protocols as well as the browser are the reason a disparity exists between what Web page load times should be and what they actually are. Google is attempting to upgrade browser speeds with Google Chrome, which aims to achieve 100 millisecond load times–but this advance cannot come without changes to Net protocols. Google has successfully increased the speed of its search engine by 18 percent without changing the site itself by making “some very modest changes” to the TCP protocol, Holzle says. Meanwhile, Google’s in-development SPDY protocol is designed to reduce Web latency via improvements such as multiplexed streams, request prioritization, and HTTP header compression. Holzle says SPDY can slash packet counts by 40 percent and byte counts by 15 percent.
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