In 2014, Google released their UDP-based protocol, QUIC, that was built to improve upon TCP by providing “lower-latency connection establishment, improved congestion control, and better loss recovery.” Google’s largest improvements as a result of implementing QUIC have been observed when a client performs a web search on a browser and server that they have previously used .
When a known server and browser pair are used, QUIC does not use 2 to 3 round trips to establish a connection before sending data, but sends it immediately, reducing the connection establishment time to 0ms. Google estimates that approximately 75 percent of connections will benefit from this connection methodology and they can provide a mean web page load time improvement of 3 percent, even on sites with extremely low load time such as Google search.
In addition to minimal round trip connection times (around 100ms for a new connection), QUIC has improved Google Search page load time by a full second for the slowest 1 percent of connections by never reusing packet sequence numbers when transmitting. YouTube users have also reported as much as a 30 percent fewer rebuffers when watching videos.
Once they make the transition from SPDY-over-QUIC to HTTP2-over-QUIC, Google will be bringing QUIC to the IETF in a move to make it the Internet standard. Until then, Google will move from having approximately 50 percent of requests from Chrome to Google served over QUIC to making it the default transporter for both Chrome and mobile apps.
Giga: Akamai’s TCP Replacement
The content delivery network (CDN) behemoth, Akamai, announced last week that it has successfully tested a replacement for TCP that sped up transmission speeds an average of 30 percent. India, China and Bolivia saw improvements of over 150 percent, while other nations, such as Germany, saw improvement of only a few percent. Giga is more successful than TCP at determining when connections are at capacity. TCP, which was conceived in 1974, is highly prone to packet loss, especially when a connection waivers.
Giga, like Google’s QUIC, encodes packets in a way that helps determine which packets are lost in a transmission and retransmit them quickly. Also like Google’s QUIC, Giga will have to be enabled on both ends of the transmission-both the end user’s device and the content providers. Akamai aims to openly release this technology to aid in its broad adoption throughout the Internet industry.