Reality: The Internet was built for reliability and resilience, not performance.
The genesis of the modern day Internet started out as a US Dept. of Defense research project in the 1960’s called Arpanet. Arpanet was a packet-switching network designed to connect university research computers together with robustness and survivability vs. performance. In 1982, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) was developed to transfer data reliably between these research computers.
As private networks sprang up, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) was developed in 1989 to enable commercial ISPs to hand off traffic to one another. BGP makes routing decisions based on paths, policies, or rule sets configured by a network administrator. Thus, where the next “network hop” will be has much more to do with the cost to the carrier than end-user performance.
Because TCP focuses on reliability, it creates inherent inefficiencies in data transfer. And Internet BGP (unlike the “intranet”/ISP BGP) makes it impossible to implement consistent routing policies across ISPs (also known as AS – Autonomous systems) to identify the fastest path. But, despite the problems baked into the design of today’s Internet, there are approaches such as Teridion’s on-demand fast lane for the Internet. Teridion’s solution uses machine learning-based routing to find the fastest paths between any two points on the Internet.
If you are a SaaS provider and want to learn more about optimizing end-to-end Internet throughput, here’s how to get started: