[LINK] Democrats launch anti-filtering site

Glen Turner gdt at gdt.id.au
Thu May 21 10:50:49 EST 2009


On Wed, 2009-05-20 at 00:35 -0700, Scott Howard wrote:
> 180 milliseconds additional latency is getting the net wrong?

That 180ms is the bane of my life.

You've got to realise that Australia is almost unique in being a long
way from the centre of gravity of its language.  Broadly, almost all
German-speakers live in Germany, whereas a tiny proportion of
English-speakers live in Australia.

That has an effect on Internet traffic. Most Internet traffic in Germany
stays within Germany. Most Internet traffic in Australia goes offshore.

The result of the language-centric nature of the Internet is that most
Internet users are well within 100ms of the resource they are using.
Internet applications are optimised for that figure. For example, the
web is designed to load images on demand rather than sending them along
with the rest of the page content -- this results in another round-trip
(that 180ms for us, but stuff-all for anyone else). Of course, us
Australians (and South Africans) are the exception.

The difference matters. Look at it from a user interface point of view.
It's pretty widely accepted that "slow" begins at 300ms to render a
page. At 180ms we've blown most of that user interface budget just on
transmission. I stayed in a hotel in Palo Alto with a 1Gbps connection
to PAIX. The web was lightening fast. I was 0ms from the centre of
gravity of the English-speaking Internet. I do wish I had thought to
video it, since my office also has a 1Gbps link to Palo Alto, but it is
280ms round trip away. The same capacity, the same laptop, but the
difference in perceived performance was remarkable.

Latency is the one thing us network engineers can't reduce. There's a
lot to be said for putting your website within 50ms of your users.

[Of course, I fully realise why a "no internet censorship" website might
well wish to place itself outside the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth's
Final Link Deletion Notice. They're just paying for that change of
jurisdiction with lower performance. I'm sure they see it as
worthwhile.]



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