After 10 years of efforts, the QUIC transport protocol developed by Google has become a standard for the IETF. Its implementation should significantly accelerate Internet services and be a TCP alternative.
The announcement went unnoticed, but Google got the green light from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) on its QUIC transport protocol. By becoming an official Internet standard, QUIC is joining and perhaps one day replacing another protocol, TCP, which was introduced in 1974. QUIC is more recent. It started in 2013, as a Chrome upgrade. It improved the speed at which data was transferred from the browser to the company’s servers. After that, the protocol was tested in many different contexts and applications before being submitted for IETF validation in 2016.
QUIC differs from TCP by using the much faster User Datagram Protocol (UDP). It has a better mechanism to recover data that may have been lost in transit. The benefits are especially striking for latency sensitive services. “For services that require low latency, such as web search, the most significant gains come from the absence of round trips between user and server to establish the connection”, explained the Chromium team in 2015. .
Slow and gradual adoption
In 2017, Google explained that QUIC is able to improve request load speeds by 8% and reduce YouTube cache times by up to 18%. Websites and services that use encrypted connections should also benefit from greater speed.
Does that mean that QUIC will replace TCP? Not immediately, as many of the existing services are built around the old protocol. Market players will therefore slowly and gradually adopt this standard, starting with companies benefiting from immediate and visible performance gains.