Tired of waiting for websites to load? This new tech can cut the time by more than half

It's all about minimising the number of network "trips" the browser must make

Slow-loading Web pages are surely one of the top frustrations on the Internet today, but new technology from MIT and Harvard promises to change all that. Announced on Wednesday, Polaris is a framework that determines how to sequence the downloading of a page's objects for faster load times overall.

Created by researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Harvard University, the new system promises to decrease page-load times by more than 30 percent -- with the potential for reductions of almost 60 percent -- by minimizing the number of network "trips" the browser must make.

When asked to load a given Web page, the browser must reach across the network to fetch objects such as HTML files, JavaScript source code and images. Sometimes, thanks to what are known as dependencies, evaluating one object requires fetching and evaluating others as well. A browser might have to execute a file’s JavaScript code in order to discover more images to fetch and render, for example.

“It can take up to 100 milliseconds each time a browser has to cross a mobile network to fetch a piece of data,” says doctoral student Ravi Netravali, lead author on a paper he'll present at next week’s Usenix Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation.

"As pages increase in complexity, they often require multiple trips that create delays that really add up," Netravali added. "Our approach minimizes the number of round trips so that we can substantially speed up a page’s load time.”

Polaris automatically tracks all of the interactions among objects, which can number in the thousands for a single page, and creates a “dependency graph” for that page, enabling objects to be loaded in the optimal order for fastest speed overall.

Polaris is particularly well-suited for large and complex websites as well as mobile networks, because they tend to have larger delays than wired networks do, the researchers said.

Researchers evaluated the system across a range of network conditions on 200 of the world’s most popular websites, including ESPN.com, NYTimes.com and Weather.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?