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Is There a Case for Parallel Connections with Modern Web Protocols?

TitleIs There a Case for Parallel Connections with Modern Web Protocols?
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsManzoor, J, Sadre, R, Drago, I, Cerdà-Alabern, L
Conference NameIFIP Networking 2018 Proceedings
Conference LocationZurich, Switzerland
KeywordsHTTP/2, Measurements, MPTCP, Performance, QUIC
AbstractModern web protocols like HTTP/2 and QUIC aim to make the web faster by addressing well-known problems of HTTP/1.1 running on top of TCP. Both HTTP/2 and QUIC are specified to run on a single connection, in contrast to the usage of multiple TCP connections in HTTP/1.1. Reducing the number of open connections brings a positive impact on the network infrastructure, besides improving fairness among applications. However, the usage of a single connection may result in poor application performance in common adverse scenarios, such as under high packet losses. In this paper we first investigate these scenarios, confirming that the use of a single connection sometimes impairs application performance. We then propose a practical solution (here called H2-Parallel) that implements mul- tiple TCP connection mechanism for HTTP/2 in the Chromium browser. We compare H2-Parallel with HTTP/1.1 over TCP, QUIC over UDP, as well as HTTP/2 over Multipath TCP, which creates parallel connections at the transport layer opaque to the application layer. Experiments with popular live websites as well as controlled emulations show that H2-Parallel is simple and effective. By opening only two connections to load a page with H2-Parallel, the page load time can be reduced substantially in adverse network conditions.