Google, OpenDNS and other companies have announced Tuesday that they are banded together in effort to speed up the internet. The collaborative effort is called the Global Internet Speedup, and aims to make your Youtube videos stream just a little bit faster by changing the way DNS requests are handled.
The shift from static text-based web pages to a demand for interactive or high bandwith services such as streaming video and rich social networking means speed is necessary for a seamless experience. The change is a simple one involving the Domain Name System (DNS), a kind of “phonebook” for the internet, making it easier for your computer to dial the fastest or least congested location to connect to.
Presently, content requests from users made to Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) are routed to the nearest content server based on a DNS server location, not the user’s location. That could mean that the request could be going all the way to Singapore or Ireland when you’re in the United States. The Speedup’s simple change makes it so a request goes to a content server closer to the user which means faster delivery; getting it locally means more efficient bandwidth usage.
Location of the user is determined by attaching a portion of the IP address, the first three octets, to the DNS request. Proponents of the initiative address privacy concerns, saying that the information shared is no different than in the case of a typical HTTP web request.
The standard called “edns-client-subnet” has been submitted to the IETF which is the body in charge of Internet protocols, but it hasn’t been ratified yet. However, those 30 million users of the OpenDNS and Google Public DNS service get to immediately see the benefits of the effort. Currently, the ISPs and CDNs onboard with the initiative are Edgecast, Cloudflare, BitGravity, CDNetworks, and Comodo.