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Optimizing Web delivery over wireless links: design, implementation, and experiences

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3 Author(s)
R. Chakravorty ; Comput. Lab., Univ. of Cambridge, UK ; A. Clark ; I. Pratt

World over wide-area wireless Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) networks have been upgraded to support the general packet radio service (GPRS). GPRS brings "always-on" wireless data connectivity at bandwidths comparable to that of conventional fixed-line telephone modems. Unfortunately many users have found the reality to be rather different, experiencing very disappointing performance when, for example, browsing the Web over GPRS. In This work, we show what causes the web and its underlying transport protocol TCP to underperform in a GPRS wide-area wireless environment. We examine why certain GPRS network characteristics interact badly with TCP to yield problems such as: link underutilization for short-lived flows, excess queueing for long-lived flows, ACK compression, poor loss recovery, and gross unfairness between competing flows. We also show that many Web browsers tend to be overly aggressive, and by opening too many simultaneous TCP connections can aggravate matters. We present the design and implementation of a web optimizing proxy system called GPRSWeb that mitigates many of the GPRS link-related performance problems with a simple software update to a mobile device. The update is a link-aware middleware (a local "client proxy") that sits in the mobile device, and communicates with a "server proxy" located at the other end of the wireless link, close to the wired-wireless border. The dual-proxy architecture collectively implements a number of key enhancements-an aggressive caching scheme that employs content-based hash keying to improve hit rates for dynamic content, a preemptive push of Web page support resources to mobile clients, resource adaptation to suit client capabilities, delta encoded data transfer of modified pages, DNS lookup migration, and a UDP-based reliable transport protocol that is specifically optimized for use over GPRS. We show that these enhancements results in significant improvement in web performance over GPRS links.

Published in:

IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications  (Volume:23 ,  Issue: 2 )