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Title: Towards faster web page loads over multiple network paths
Author: Salameh, Lynne
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 5474
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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The rising popularity of mobile devices as the main way people access the web has fuelled a corresponding need for faster web downloads on these devices. Emerging web protocols like HTTP/2 and QUIC employ several features that minimise page load times, but fail to take advantage of the availability of at least two interfaces on today's mobile devices. On the other hand, this spread of devices with access to multiple paths has prompted the design of Multipath TCP, a transport protocol that pools bandwidth across these paths. Although MPTCP was originally evaluated for bandwidth limited bulk transfers, in this work, we determine whether using MPTCP can reduce web page load times, which are often latency bound. To investigate the behaviour of web browsing over MPTCP, we instrumented the Chrome web browser's retrieval of 300 popular web sites in sufficient detail, and computed their dependency graph structure. Furthermore, we implemented PCP, an emulation framework that uses these dependency graphs to ask "what-if" questions about the interactions between a wide range of web site designs, varied network conditions, and different web and transport protocols. Using PCP, we first confirm previous results with respect to the improvements HTTP/2 offers over HTTP/1.1. One obstacle, though, is that many web sites have been sharded to improve performance with HTTP/1.1, spreading their content across multiple subdomains. We therefore examine whether the advice to unshard these domains is beneficial. We find that unsharding is generally advantageous, but is not consistently so. Finally, we examine the behaviour of HTTP/2 over MPTCP. We find that MPTCP can improve web page load times under some regimes; in other cases, using regular TCP on the "best" path is more advantageous. We present enhancements to multipath web browsing that allow it to perform as well as or better than regular TCP on the best path.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available