TechCrunch gets QUIC

By Nathan W Center

A recently posted article on Tech Crunch by Frederic Lardinois addresses an exciting new protocol Google is testing and it is proving to accelerate the way our computers are talking to each other. There are a few interesting bits about how QUIC works that were left out however.

Called Quick UDP Internet Connection, or QUIC, it is tackling some of the more perplexing issues with TCP and SPDY that, for the sake of accuracy and security, slow our connections down and in the worst cases, cause us to leave our content before it has fully loaded out of frustration. QUIC, Google hopes, will help resolve said issues. It is an innovation that could optimize even more, an environment that is already near peak efficiency.

One way it seeks to accomplish this is through bandwidth estimation of communications in both directions. Once it has that data QUIC can use the results to control the flow of information, distributing packets evenly and reducing loss.

It doesn’t repeat itself either. It is not always a good idea to reduce redundancy, even in the war against latency but this is another tactic employed by Google’s experiment. What this means is that QUIC does not re-use packet numbers, limiting timeouts from re-transmission. Overall, this seems to simplify recovery of lost data and aid in controlling congestion.

The post on Tech Crunch is a little vague about how QUIC will mesh with current technologies. While he points out that most Chrome users have already experienced QUIC, (testing has been ongoing,) Lardinois doesn’t really discuss what this means. QUIC is not likely to replace technologies already in place, but this was never really its intention.

It was built to help Google explore ways to make its services faster. The net and technology standard of TPC, well known and well established, is far too prevalent to supplant. Instead, the consensus and hope is that over time engineers and makers will adopt the most vital elements of QUIC based on proven and demonstrated efficacy.

As he closes, Lardinois mentions Google’s intent to run QUIC up the flagpole at the Internet Engineering Task Force, or IETF, an organization whose self-styled goal is to “Make the internet work better.” It will be interesting to see Google’s results and what the IETF thinks about them in the time to come.

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