Whole Page Performance

Leeann Bent and Geoffrey M. Voelker
December 16, 2002

This paper explores the user-perceived Web performance of downloading entire pages, and how various common Web enhancements impact overall page performance. We use Medusa, a non-caching forwarding proxy, to collect user traces and replay them under various configurations of HTTP request optimizations. These optimizations include parallel and persistent connections, DNS caching, and the use of CDNs. We then use Medusa to characterize whole-page performance and measure the impact of request optimizations on downloading entire Web pages. We find that the most effective optimization is parallel connections. Other optimizations provide incremental benefits due to limited opportunity for use or due to limited benefit of the optimization itself. When there is more opportunity for use, we find that optimizations in the former case provide substantial benefit.

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