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Re: Improve the traffic condition on the Internet (fwd)

From: Benjamin Franz <snowhare@netimages.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 1996 09:10:27 -0800 (PST)
To: "William F. Hammond" <hammond@csc.albany.edu>
Cc: megazone@livingston.com, www-talk@w3.org
Message-Id: <Pine.LNX.3.91.960321084715.869G-100000@ns.viet.net>
On Thu, 21 Mar 1996, William F. Hammond wrote:

> It was just said:
> 
> >  . . .  Monitoring even small sites shows that nearly all users still
> > download the graphics and text is *not* the majority.   . . .
> 
> If the "monitoring" is just counting bytes, then that is probably true.
> 
> But I suspect that most of the useful information delivered through
> http is either text/plain or text/html.  Unfortunately, it's common
> for 10 KB of useful text/html to travel with 30 KB of IMG baggage.

Regardless of whether you consider it _*useful*_ (such a loaded word that 
is...), it remains true that the heavy majority of the traffic travelling 
to the user *remains* mostly graphics and other pre-compressed material 
that will not benefit significantly from more compression. If a *user* 
wants to speed up their *local* link - they can turn off graphics in 
every browser known to man. This instantly achieves a nearly four fold 
increase in browse speed - with no software changes at all.

The original message spoke of *100 bytes per second transfers* being 
caused by not the *local* link, but network congestion. When it was 
pointed out that nearly all the traffic there was *already* compressed, 
the shift was made to the local link - where, ironically, compression is 
*even better* due to compression by modems of text *already*.

So whether you look locally at the modem links, or globally at the 
backbones - additional compression of text simply is not going to achieve 
significant B/W savings in practice. The local links *already* compress 
the text, and it is provable that on the backbones you could not achieve 
more than a 20% savings by compressing the text - a savings that would be 
wiped out by the general network growth within three months.

IOW: It is a lot of work for very little actual benefit. Much better
cost-benefit would be achieved if ISPs would install caching proxy servers
for their users and formed 'mutual support' groups of heirarchial 
proxies to improve the proxies' hit rates. A 'mom and pop' ISP may not 
see a lot of local hits on their proxy, but 10-20 'mom and pops' 
working together could get a big improvement by using a common proxy.

Then take an association of 10-20 'mom and pop' ISPs and form a 'super 
association' caching proxy for 10-20 associations....

-- 
Benjamin Franz
Received on Thursday, 21 March 1996 11:59:32 GMT

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