Google's fast Web protocol gains a little speed

Using Google Chrome browser cuts Web page download times by 10 per cent to 20 per cent if the sites use Google's fast Web protocol, according to acceleration company Strangeloop, which now supports the technology.

Support for Google's SPDY has been added to Strangeloop's Site Optimizer appliances as well as its Web acceleration service, making download times even faster than they are with Site Optimizer alone, says Strangeloop President Joshua Bixby. "Chrome is faster than almost all other browsers," anyway, says Bixby.

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One Strangeloop customer's homepage that is fronted by Site Optimizer downloads in 7.8 sec with Internet Explorer 7. The numbers are 5.5 sec for IE8; 4.9 sec for IE9; 4.9 sec for Firefox 3.6; and 4 sec for Chrome 10. With SPDY in use, the Chrome 10 speed would drop another 10 per cent to 20 per cent, he says. That would make the download speed for the page 3.2 sec to 3.6 sec.

On its SPDY site Google claims the protocol has reduced page load times by as much as 65 per cent.

Strangeloop is the first company to throw such extensive commercial support behind the protocol. Since SPDY requires support at the server end of Web connections, widespread use of the protocol would require vendors of routers, load balancers and any other device that might terminate browser sessions to also support SPDY, Bixby says.

So customers of Strangeloop that want to take advantage of SPDY would have to place the appliance immediately on the customer side of their Internet router, he says. Alternatively, it could be placed on the customer side of load balancers if the load balancers were set to pass traffic through unterminated.

Passing the traffic through, though, would undermine other features load balancers often include such as traffic shaping, he says, so that is not a likely scenario.

However, Strangeloop's Site Optimizer service terminates Web sessions on devices that support SPDY, so customers of the service benefit from the added acceleration, Bixby says.

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.

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Tim Greene

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