WebSockets, Faster, Cheaper Protocol

Mar 28, 2011
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WebSockets is a new protocol that allows for real-time communication. It piggybacks along a regular HTTP request and opens up a bidirectional data link. Every time we open up a broswer we innundate our networks with HTTP requests. Most of us don't even notice we're opening these kind of requests. Even if it's a transparent window through to the internet, most of us don't even realize that we're spending most of our time on the browser, transmitting every little piece of date through port 80.

This technology allows for faster, up-to-the-second communication. Kaazing, the company who has taken up the WebSockets flag, has deployed the technology to help keep certian types of time-critical financial data flowing. Here is an application, developed in WebSockets, that continually updates stock market quotes. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to check it out. Chrome, Firefox 4, and Opera all have WebSockets support built in, IE needs an add-on.

Here's a quick demo video showing another application that this technology can be used for. This is 8 separate computers displaying Google's WebGL aquarium demo. The displays are staying synchronized through WebSockets.

Reducing kilobytes of data to 2 bytes is more than "a little more byte
efficient", and reducing latency from 150ms (TCP round trip to set up the
connection plus a packet for the message) to 50ms (just the packet for the
message) is far more than marginal. In fact, these two factors alone are
enough to make WebSocket seriously interesting to Google.

It'll be interesting to watch the further development and deployment of this protocol. They seem to have something going here with efficient data transport. Though it seems like they need to work on some security issues.

[via Technology Review]


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