Getting More Out of the Existing Internet Infrastructure To Improve User Experiences
Providing a satisfactory quality of experience (QoE) to Internet users is crucial for content and service providers. When users get bad QoE from an application, such as the videos they are watching on a streaming provider keep freezing or the shopping Web site they are visiting takes a long time to load,
they often spend less time on the application, return to it less frequently,
or even worse they might switch to an alternative application, in all cases hurting the business financially.
While some applications such as Internet telephony have stringent latency requirements and others such as video-on-demand are more delay tolerant and depend more on bandwidth, there are also many applications such as live streaming and Web browsing which require both low latency and sufficient bandwidth for good QoE. Towards the goal of improving application QoE in general, this thesis examines the potential of making better use of the existing Internet infrastructure in two separate directions. In one direction, we focus on reducing latency on the Internet by targeting the infrastructural inefficiencies in the lower layers of the network stack, and in the other we focus on efficient allocation of bandwidth to applications based on user preferences. With these goals in mind, this thesis attempts to answer the following questions specifically: (a) How slow is the Internet today and what are the causes of latency?
(b) Can we make better use of existing fiber-optic infrastructure to reduce latencies in the wide-area? and (c) Can we provide the users with simple mechanisms to express their application preferences and enforce those preferences in the network?
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