The Global Internet Speedup?

There have been some very hyperbolic stories written over the last couple of weeks following Google’s announcement of a proposed enhancement to the way the DNS (Domain Name System) works. DNS is the system we all use, unknowingly mostly, that converts the web address you type into your browser into an IP address. That IP address then allows the network to route your request for the web site to a server, somewhere in the Internet, that can deliver you the content.

Why do I say hyperbolic? Well firstly the “problem” being solved only actually applies to the way that Google, OpenDNS and in fact Level 3 run open DNS infrastructures. Open in the sense that they are not linked to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Because the ISP is not providing the DNS service it means that the name and location of the ISP is hidden for those individuals using these services. And then it only matters if the content being requested is being served by a CDN; because CDNs use the actual location of the DNS resolving server as a proxy for the location of the requestor.

Secondly, it is a problem that affects a tiny, tiny percentage of all the requests being made on the Internet; because the overwhelming majority of people use the DNS infrastructure provided by their ISP. As a CDN we track the accuracy of DNS resolution. Over 95% of all requests in the US are accurate in that they enable us to determine the network and location where the request is being made. And of that 5% made in error the majority are due to a poorly configured DNS infrastructure, not to the fact that a non-ISP DNS infrastructure is being used. And for most of those errors our CDN is configured to fix the problem already.

So, while I welcome everything that The Global Internet Speedup participants and Google, in particular, are doing to help speed up the Internet some of the reporting about this element of their work has been a little uninformed and overblown.

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Mark Taylor

I work as VP of Content and Media here at Level 3. English expat and passionate new tech energy evangelist.

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5 thoughts on “The Global Internet Speedup?

  1. Mark,

    Isn’t the Internet and those that make a living on it all about education at the core? Unless companies like Google, Cloudflare and OpenDNS are willing to make these solutions readily available and easy to take advantage of things will grow very slowly and won’t put any demand on ISPs and large, influential companies to make different choices.

    My two cents,
    Josh

    • Josh I agree with your premise. My issue was that the reporting of this change was overblown. It was a minor improvement to a a small portion of Internet traffic. Hardly the great Internet speedup that was reported.

      • Verbosity is the name of the game unfortunately these days. There is very little chance of something becoming ‘sticky’ unless you can get the word out through all major channels including traditional PR, social media, bloggers, etc. We live in a real-time world and you have a limited opportunity window to create the necessary amount of impressions to gain user acceptance/willingness, especially within the consumer market, before the next greatest thing comes out and distracts them away from your offering.

  2. DNS and Speeding up Caching… Isn’t there two piece’s of software that do that already, I think you’ll find there called – Bind9 & Squid

    • Bind is the software on which the DNS infrastructure itself is built and Squid is open source caching software. Sure they exist and are widely used. The issues in this post relate to inefficiencies that neither of those two code bases overcome. As such something else is needed

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