PacketZoom today unfurled a cloud service that enables developers to replace TCP with a faster proprietary networking protocol that the company says can improve mobile application performance by a factor of 10.
PacketZoom CEO Chetan Ahuja told ProgrammableWeb one of the primary reasons that mobile applications don’t get adopted is that it takes too long to download and update them. By replacing the TCP portion of TCP/IP with the PacketZoom protocol, via a PacketZoom SDK that can be dropped into any mobile application, developers are no longer held hostage by technology developed more than four decades ago, says Ahuja.
Ahuja says that it’s been shown that any application that takes more than 6 seconds to download is likely to be abandoned. The challenge is that as mobile devices get more robust, the size of the applications running on them is increasing. Downloading applications using a protocol that was never designed for that purpose doesn’t make sense when much faster options are now available, says Ahuja.
In addition, Ahuja says that the PacketZoom protocol is more resilient than TCP, which means that it handles downloads more consistently across networks with even limited amounts of available bandwidth.
Ahuja says the PacketZoom service, deployed across a mix of cloud service providers, makes use of cloud resources to establish connections with specific devices rather than an IP address. That approach, he says, means that even when the network connection breaks, it gets re-established faster than it does when a TCP/IP connection breaks and a new IP address has to be issued to the device.
The PacketZoom protocol also keeps track of device location, identifies dead zones and recognizes packet drops in real time without any client- or service-side code changes being required to the application, says Ahuja.
All told, Ahuja says, PacketZoom provides developers with a much less expensive approach to distributing applications than relying on commercial content delivery networks as an alternative to TCP.
PacketZoom is available for free for up to 2,500 daily users accessing less than 10 MB of data. After that PacketZoom will negotiate pricing with developers based on each application use case.
It’s hard to say with any certainty how much network latency is holding back adoption of mobile applications that depend on APIs to access content usually delivered via multiple back-end services. But chances are good that the application that gets delivered with the least amount of network disruption will be the one that gets more widely used.