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An End To Suffering Buffering? Researchers To Speed Up Internet

February 18, 2013 | Telepresence Options

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Easier Technology

Slow and jerky online video could become a thing of the past as Europe's best Internet researchers come together to make the web faster.

University of Aberdeen researchers are involved in a project that aims to significantly reduce online delay, or latency, without the need to invest in new and expensive connections.

The team are looking at re-writing the way computers talk to each other in order to work smarter, not harder, to increase the speed of the Internet.

Professor Gorry Fairhurst, an Internet Engineer from the University of Aberdeen, said: "It's a problem we all notice when you're using a program like Skype. If anyone else in the house is watching a video at the same time - your video connection becomes jerky and often crashes.

"This affects gamers who want to play online in real time and companies doing stock training - both end up buying special and expensive internet connections to make these work, but often it's not more bandwidth that's needed to go faster - it's less delay. We think we can reduce this delay by making a set of small but important changes to the way computers and the network process the Internet data."

The present Internet limits the performance of real-time interaction applications like Skype, gaming and critical business applications partly because the network has been optimised to increase the volume of data it can handle. Large buffers hidden inside the network equipment add to delay, which can result in frustration for users.

RITE (Reducing Internet Transport Latency) Project co-ordinator, Andreas Petlund from Simula Research Laboratory in Oslo said: "Every time you click on a web page or encounter a new scene in an online game there's all manner of things going on 'under the hood'. Bandwidth is only about how many bits you can transfer per second, but speed is about how long it takes to complete a task. This depends on how long it takes for even a small message to get from A to B, and how many back-and-forth messages the protocols require even before data transfer can start. Then, it can take a few more rounds of messages to get up to speed while the computers sense how much network capacity is currently available."

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