Optimizing Application Delivery

High-performance browser networking relies on a host of networking technologies (Figure 5-1), and the overall performance of our applications is the sum total of each of their parts.

We cannot control the network weather between the client and server, nor the client hardware or the configuration of their device, but the rest is in our hands: TCP and TLS optimizations on the server, and dozens of application optimizations to account for the peculiarities of the different physical layers, versions of HTTP protocol in use, as well as general application best practices. Granted, getting it all right is not an easy task, but it is a rewarding one! Let’s pull it all together.

Figure 5-1. Optimization layers for web application delivery

Optimizing Physical and Transport Layers

The physical properties of the communication channel set hard performance limits on every application: speed of light and distance between client and server dictate the propagation latency, and the choice of medium (wired vs. wireless) determines the processing, transmission, queuing, and other delays incurred by each data packet. In fact, the performance of most web applications is limited by latency, not bandwidth, and while bandwidth speeds will continue to increase, unfortunately the same can’t be said for latency.

As a result, while we cannot make the bits travel any faster, ...

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