Verizon Digital Media Services Deploys QUIC Across Global CDN

Verizon Digital Media Services announced today that the transport protocol Quick UDP Internet Connections (QUIC) has been put into effect across Verizon Digital Media Services’ global content delivery network, with 125 points of presence worldwide. QUIC can now easily be enabled via a simple rules engine change that only takes several minutes. It involves no extra costs.

“We are always working to improve our network performance for our customers, who are in the business of providing digital media to their end users as quickly, securely and cost-efficiently as possible,” said Frank Orozco, chief technology officer, Verizon Digital Media Services. “Whether it’s streaming a widely watched sports event or accelerating a shopping cart transaction, every millisecond counts.”

Google developed the new transport protocol, which reduces latency compared to that of TCP and solves a number of other transport-layer and application-layer problems experienced by modern web applications. From a quick look, QUIC appears to be similar to TCP+TLS+HTTP/2 executed on UDP. However, as TCP is implemented in operating system kernels and middlebox firmware, making consequential changes to it is very difficult. As QUIC is built on top of UDP, it does not suffer from the same limitations.
Significant features of QUIC over existing TCP+TLS+HTTP2 include:

  • Significantly reduced connection establishment time
  • Enhanced congestion control
  • Multiplexing without head-of-line blocking
  • Forward error correction
  • Connection migration

Connection Establishment – With QUIC, handshakes often require zero roundtrips before sending payload, in comparison to 1-3 roundtrips for TCP+TLS.

Congestion Control – QUIC features pluggable congestion control, and offers richer information to the congestion control algorithm than TCP.

Multiplexing – A major issue with HTTP2 on top of TCP is that of head-of-line blocking. As QUIC was developed specifically for multiplexed operation, lost packets carrying data for an individual stream typically only impact that specific stream. Each stream frame can be dispatched immediately to that stream on arrival, meaning that streams without loss can carry on being reassembled and forward progress in the application is guaranteed.

QUIC is aimed overall at improving web page load and transaction speeds. QUIC improves the performance of web applications across Chrome and Opera web browsers, and can be deployed on certain connected devices to reduce the time necessary to establish a secure connection.

When an end user modifies IP addresses, QUIC works to ensure the continuous, uninterrupted delivery of an active stream by continuing to use the previous connection ID from the new IP address.

The introduction of the new transport protocol signifies the commitment of Verizon Digital Media Services to design a content delivery network custom built for media purposes.

“We recently expanded our relationship with Verizon Digital Media Services to implement QUIC across many of our sites, including Logitravel, the leading pan-European online travel agency accessed by millions of travelers each year,” said Iñaki Fuentes, CEO of Bluekiri, in Verizon’s press release. “Since implementing QUIC, we have experienced a significant improvement in web performance, with visitors now able to access information faster than ever. We couldn’t be happier to help our customers spend less time on planning and more time on actually enjoying the vacations they’ve worked so hard to make happen.”

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