Why is the internet so slow?!


Conference Paper

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017. In principle, a network can transfer data at nearly the speed of light. Today’s Internet, however, is much slower: our measurements show that latencies are typically more than one, and often more than two orders of magnitude larger than the lower bound implied by the speed of light. Closing this gap would not only add value to today’s Internet applications, but might also open the door to exciting new applications. Thus, we propose a grand challenge for the networking research community: building a speed-of-light Internet. To help inform research towards this goal, we investigate, through large-scale measurements, the causes of latency inflation in the Internet across the network stack. Our analysis reveals an under-explored problem: the Internet’s infrastructural inefficiencies. We find that while protocol overheads, which have dominated the community’s attention, are indeed important, reducing latency inflation at the lowest layers will be critical for building a speed-of-light Internet. In fact, eliminating this infrastructural latency inflation, without any other changes in the protocol stack, could speed up small object fetches by more than a factor of three.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bozkurt, IN; Aguirre, A; Chandrasekaran, B; Godfrey, PB; Laughlin, G; Maggs, B; Singla, A

Published Date

  • January 1, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 10176 LNCS /

Start / End Page

  • 173 - 187

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1611-3349

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0302-9743

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9783319543277

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/978-3-319-54328-4_13

Citation Source

  • Scopus