Communications Project

Document Type:Master's Thesis
Name:Binzhang Liu
Title:Characterizing Web Response Time
Degree:Master of Science
Department:Computer Science
Committee Chair: Edward A. Fox
Committee Members:Marc Abrams
Roger W. Ehrich
Keywords:World Wide Web, Latency, Proxy Caching
Date of defense:April 22, 1998
Availability:Release the entire work for Virginia Tech access only.
After one year release worldwide only with written permission of the student and the advisory committee chair.


It is critical to understand WWW latency in order to design better HTTP protocols. In this study we characterize Web response time and examine the effects of proxy caching, network bandwidth, traffic load, persistent connections for a page, and periodicity. Based on studies with four workloads, we show that at least a quarter of the total elapsed time is spent on establishing TCP connections with HTTP/1.0. The distributions of connection time and elapsed time can be modeled using Pearson, Weibul, or Log-logistic distributions. We also characterize the effect of a user's network bandwidth on response time. Average connection time from a client via a 33.6 K modem is two times longer than that from a client via switched Ethernet. We estimate the elapsed time savings from using persistent connections for a page to vary from about a quarter to a half. Response times display strong daily and weekly patterns. This study finds that a proxy caching server is sensitive to traffic loads. Contrary to the typical thought about Web proxy caching, this study also finds that a single stand-alone squid proxy cache does not always reduce response time for our workloads. Implications of these results to future versions of the HTTP protocol and to Web application design also are discussed.

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