Short Bytes: Vroom is a piece of smart software developed by the researcher at University of Michigan and MIT. It is designed to reduce the time required for mobile devices to load web pages by making changes at the architecture level. During the tests, the researchers have observed the pages loading almost two times faster.
Probably upset by the slow internet in this fast paced world, especially on mobile devices, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan and MIT took the matter into their own hands.
The team has created a new solution called Vroom, currently a prototype, which helps mobile devices load web pages faster. But contrary to what most of us would assume, VRoom doesn’t make the existing network any faster but improves the way the web pages load on a device.
Mobile devices connected to the 4G LTE networks usually take around 14 seconds to harvest the contents of a web page. The researchers tested Vroom for over 100 popular websites and found that their software reduces the load time by up to 50%.
One of the key reasons pointed out by the researchers, that contribute to increased loading times, is the number of resources a web browser has to fetch. There could be a hundred or even more URLs loading in the background depending on the web page. It’s noted that the devices’ CPU remain idle for the most of the time as the fetching process continues.
How is Vroom different?
In the current scenario, a web browser doesn’t know what else to load until it visits the first URL. With Vroom, the researchers have made changes at the architectural level.
When a browser requests a server for website data, the server also sends “dependency hints,” in the form of URLs, for other data that needs to be transported. Thus, reducing the number of requests made by the browser.
What’s more is the coordination established by Vroom between the browser and the server. Such that the server knows what resources and “hints” are more relevant to a particular browser. Meanwhile, the device’s CPU has to touch its processing limits.
Implementation of Vroom can also be an alternative to proxy servers which could be used to speed up the page loading process but pose security and privacy-related risks.
You might be aware of Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) project which caches and optimises web pages for mobile devices with slow internet connections.
According to Harsha Madhyastha, an associate professor at Michigan University and a part of the development team, for projects like AMP, the Vroom architecture can act as a compliment and eliminate the need for the web page to be completely rewritten.
The research has received financial support from Google Faculty Research Award, National Science Foundation, and MIT. You can read more about it in the research paper titled: “Vroom: Accelerating the Mobile Web with Server-Aided Dependency Resolution” which was present at SIGCOMM 2017.
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