Traffic Acceleration with Cloudflare Mobile SDK

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Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TCP_Slow-Start_and_Congestion_Avoidance.svg

An example of the data rate on a connection over time. Congestion avoidance is illustrated in pink.

How TCP opens connections and how it responds to packet loss are critical factors in determining how much data actually gets to flow over the connection. Tuning TCP connection parameters allows more data to flow over the link without actually touching the actual physical layer (i.e. boosting your cell signal).

Moving beyond TCP

Unfortunately, TCP parameters governing a connection’s data rate are hidden in the kernel, out of reach of user space and the optimizing, enterprising app developer. Cloudflare Mobile SDK aims to solve this problem by shipping a replacement transport protocol implemented on top of UDP, which the SDK can speak with the Cloudflare edge.

There are three advantages to replacing TCP with a custom UDP transport protocol: 1) easier access to parameters controlling things like congestion control, 2) integration with the Cloudflare edge to allow for extremely efficient transmission of data and 3) optimization of the protocol from the ground up for transmission of data over mobile networks.

All of these factors lead directly to reduced latency, increased throughput, and improved user experiences.

Integrating with SDK and example results

Once an app is integrated with the SDK, enabling Acceleration is straightforward. Most standard HTTP networking libraries are supported out of the box, and require no additional integration work beyond initializing the SDK with your API key.

Customers accelerating their traffic with Cloudflare Mobile SDK see significant reductions in latency, increases in throughput, and reductions in TCP related timeouts.

As an example, a transportation company enabled acceleration in their iOS app. Their users immediately saw a 7% decrease in network response time and a 13.8% drop in network timeouts. This directly translates to an increase in conversions: purchases per user increased 3% with Acceleration enabled.

Early Access

We’re excited to bring Acceleration to a broader audience. Get in touch with us for early access. Mobile SDK supports both iOS and Android.

In addition to developing features to improve app performance, we’re working hard on features to better authenticate mobile devices with the APIs that power them. Why is this important? Non-humans (bots) are increasingly interacting with the APIs that power apps to scrape data, stuff credentials, and otherwise act in ways humans would not.

The Mobile SDK will soon include features to help API owners understand whether or not the user purporting to be using an app actually is a real mobile user. We’ll have a lot more detail on this soon; if you’re interested in hearing more sooner, please get in touch!

Cloudflare Railgun is available when using Cloud Server Webuzo, Cloud Web Apps. Contact us to find out our latest offers!

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