The Internet at the Speed of Light

Ankit Singla, Balakrishnan Chandrasekaran, P. Brighten Godfrey, Bruce Maggs

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


For many Internet services, reducing latency improves the user experience and increases revenue for the service provider. While in principle latencies could nearly match the speed of light, we find that infrastructural inefficiencies and protocol overheads cause today's Internet to be much slower than this bound: typically by more than one, and often, by more than two orders of magnitude. Bridging this large gap would not only add value to today's Internet applications, but could also open the door to exciting new applications. Thus, we propose a grand challenge for the networking research community: a speed-of-light Internet. To inform this research agenda, we investigate the causes of latency inflation in the Internet across the network stack. We also discuss a few broad avenues for latency improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Print)9781450332569
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery


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