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Will SPDY Make the Internet Faster?

11.13.2009
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Right now, Google is working on an application-layer protocol aimed at making web pages download twice as fast.  Google revealed the early-stage research on its SPDY, pronounced "SPeeDY", protocol this week.  Initial tests of SPDY show that the top 25 websites loaded 55% faster than HTTP.

Since 1996, HTTP has been the standard of application level protocol over the web.  However, HTTP was not particularily designed for latency.  HTTP can only fetch one resource at a time.  In the last few months, Google conducted experiments with server communication techniques that resulted in a prototype web server and Google Chrome client with SPDY.

SPDY is designed to minimize latency through features such as multiplexed streams, request prioritization, and HTTP header compression.  The use of HTTP headers means that Google isn't starting from scratch with SPDY.  The SPDY protocol still uses HTTP headers, but overrides other parts of HTTP, such as data transfer formats and connection management.  SPDY uses TCP as the underlying transport layer, so no changes to existing networking infrastructure are required.

The challenge for Google will be the adoption of SPDY by multiple browsers.  If the two most popular browsers, Internet Explorer and Firefox, don't support the protocol, many people will not see the speed improvement in web browsing that SPDY offers.  Currently, Google is unveiling the SPDY protocol to engage the open source community for feedback.  

Comments

Cody A_ replied on Fri, 2009/11/13 - 4:23pm

"The challenge for Google will be the adoption of SPDY by multiple browsers.  If the two most popular browsers, Internet Explorer and Firefox, don't support the protocol, many people will not see the speed improvement in web browsing that SPDY offers"

People want to see the speed improvements. Why not just adapt Google's Chrome browser to the new protocol? After that, it's only a matter of time before the other browsers catch on and the movement spreads. Chrome is already growing in adoption anyway, right? 

Just my 2.

Tamas Rev replied on Fri, 2009/11/13 - 5:07pm

Well, the web servers must adapt too, right?

Just to answer the title question, SPDY can make only the web faster, however, torrents and AV streams need much more bandwidth.Ironically, they suffer the most from the lack of QoS in IP.

Dennis Cheung replied on Sat, 2009/11/14 - 1:27pm

I don't think that SPDY will actually make "The Internet" faster, not even "The Web" faster.

As pre my understanding of it, it will make "The Javascript based Web APPLICATION" faster.

A classic web application do load a lots of resources from web, and each of them need connection.

The reason of why I said it is Javascript is because ActiveX / Java / Flash, do have way to pack and to compress code and resources into one single file and even optimized item sequence for download.

Oh well, a classic web site(non-application) also have lots of resources, but it is OK once they are cached well. (I mean, they should fix the http conditional get, and able to define resource priority in HTML)

I don't see how SPDY can optimize file for caching (as well as no proxy will support) and resource load-balancing(as requests are sharing connection to one server) or may be i am too stupid.

I can see that with SPDY, WAVE will be faster, google appengine will be faster, gmail, docs, web offices and games will be faster. That is already great

 

If google really want the web fast. Please release some good quality and free/low price web server/proxy server which support HTTP pipeline

Roger Voss replied on Sun, 2009/11/15 - 1:27pm

It will be a significant competitive advantage for Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari to support SPDY. Google Chrome browser and Google App server are a no-brainer for Google. Apache httpd and Appache Tomcat are open source so Google themselves could make enhanced versions of these and offer it back. (No doubt SPDY can be implemented in a way that client and server use SPDY when it's implemented, but otherwise use conventional HTTP when one party doesn't support it.). Web sites based on the Apache web servers would have the option to adopt it with just a version update. Jetty likes to be agressive in new features that enhance performance - they'd probably be relatively easy to bring on board no doubt. Google could put out their own SPDY Chrome browser, but could also contribute SPDY back into webkit. Obviously they'd have control to bring SPDY adoption into Android and their new Chrome OS as well. Lastly, Google could send a polite invitation to Microsoft to adopt SPDY.

If all these players and products adopted SPDY (other than Microsoft), then MS would be left behind (literally) as the rest of the web sped by. They'd ultimately be compelled to support SPDY whether they wanted to or not.

Looks like SPDY could nicely be evolved into over time - the entire Internet doesn't need to agree to support this all at once.

Perhaps even a client web proxy could be designed that does SPDY. Any existing web browser could be configured to operate via that web proxy and thereby get some of the benefit of SPDY without requiring a browser update (though in the long run, native support of SPDY in the browser would be better, of course).

 

Jeroen Wenting replied on Mon, 2009/11/16 - 6:51am

Loading speed of web pages is largely irrelevant. Most load quickly enough that the user doesn't notice any latency that's caused by the loading speed. Latency instead is caused by either the network and/or the rendering speed of their browsers.

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