Internet speeds are rising all around the world as computer science continues to revolutionize the way we live our lives. Yet, we still deal with the dreadful buffering screens when streaming an online movie or a loss in fidelity while in the middle of an online Skype interview. Fear not - the era of data buffering may soon end thanks to a well-funded European project that aims to change the way computers communicate with one another to speed up the net.
The RITE Project is led by Simula Research Labs in Norway and consists of teams from Alcatel-Lucent (Belgium), British Telecommunications (UK), and four other European Universities joining forces to tackle the aforementioned web speed problem.
When asked about the issue, Gorry Fairhurst, an internet engineer at the University of Aberdeen had this to say: “This [a jerky internet connection] affects gamers who want to play online in real time and companies doing stock training – both end up buying special and expensive internet connections to make these work, but often it’s not more bandwidth that’s needed to go faster – it’s less delay. We think we can reduce this delay by making a set of small but important changes to the way computers and the network process the Internet data.”
Rather than adopting the approach of boosting internet bandwidth, the team plans to do something different. An increase in internet speed is analogous to an increase in bandwidth; this only increases the amount of data that can be received at a time. However, data always travels at the same speed regardless of the amount of bandwidth that is available. So, the speed at which computers communicate with one another stays the same, though the increased data makes the connection perceptually faster.
Their efforts will be focused on implementing new strategies on networks and end-hosts that would reduce the latency issues. If successful, internet users of all bandwidths will benefit from the RITE team’s novel approach to network communication. The team hopes their findings become standardized around the globe - connecting the net’s plentiful video streamers, copious knowledge seekers, and prolific video gamers to each other faster than ever before.