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Aberdeen University aims to boost internet performance by cutting network latency

13 Feb 2013
Internet cables

A team of researchers at the University of Aberdeen is spearheading a project aimed at boosting the performance of internet connections by cutting network latency.

The team is working with BT and Alcatel-Lucent, as well as a team of researchers from other European universities, to re-write the way routers and endpoints communicate with each other.

The aim of the RITE (Reducing Internet Transport Latency) project is to reduce online the delays and latency many online users experience, especially when using streamed data, such as online video.

Professor Gorry Fairhurst, an internet engineer from the University of Aberdeen, said that if the project succeeds, there will be less need for users to invest in costlier higher bandwidth internet connections.

The project, which has been underway since last October, is being led by Simula Research Labs and has received over £3m in funding from the European Commission.

Aberdeen University has now completed its research proposals ahead of a US standards meeting in Orlando on March 10th, which will include key network provider and operating system suppliers, like Apple, Microsoft and Linux developers.

"Basically, what we are trying to do is make applications work faster, and this is not just about supplying more bandwidth," said Fairhurst, in an interview with V3.

"Bandwidth is about how many bits you can transfer per second, but speed is about how long it takes to complete a task. Users don't need more bandwidth to go faster but fewer delays due to latency from computers and the network routers.

"It's a problem you notice when you use a program like Skype, which requires a fast internet response. If anyone else in the house is watching a video at the same time, which requires a lot of bandwidth, the connection often crashes."

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