Many factors effect web performance.
These can have a negative effect on application performance, which results in a negative user experience. Or worse, loss in revenue.
The web performance factor I will discuss here is network congestion.
Network Congestion Definition
Network congestion is the result of an Internet route becoming too full. When there are too many requests over a specific network route, there is a back-up of data packets. When too many data packets try to move through a specific network route, the result is network congestion.
What is Network Congestion?
In simple terms, think about network congestion like highway traffic. If you drive along a highway that is merging from two lanes into one, a traffic jam will occur. The cause is trying to fit more cars into a lane than it can handle.
The same situation occurs on the Internet. To many requests for data over the same Internet route causes congestion.
Network congestion occurs due to the inherent structure of the Internet. The use of border gateway protocol as the routing system.
BGP Controls Internet Traffic
Border gateway protocol (BGP) controls Internet traffic. BGP is an algorithm that dictates the path of Internet traffic. The basis for BGP is to send Internet traffic over the “shortest logical distance”. This distance is agnostic to factors such as network latency, bandwidth, and Internet transit costs.
Network congestion can occur if all data travels over the same shortest logical path. This creates an overload of Internet routes.
Why Network Congestion Occurs
Network congestion occurs from many factors. Anything from low bandwidth to an Internet service provider (ISP) artificially congesting a network. The main factor for its cause, and the reason there is no ultimate solution, is BGP.
BGP is an agnostic routing system. BGP is agnostic because it does not account for factors other than shortest logical path. When there is no concern for how much data is currently sent over a route, this causes congestion.
BGP has no concern for the fastest path, the lowest cost path, or the path with most bandwidth. No concern of these factors can lead to network congestion.
What You Can Do About Network Congestion
There are ways to reduce network congestion, but ultimately no way to eliminate it. The only way to eliminate network congestion is to take BGP from an agnostic system to an intelligent routing system.
An intelligent BGP routing system would consider all network paths, and what data is currently being sent over those paths. When a network path becomes full, the intelligent BGP would distribute Internet traffic over new routes. This would ensure there is no congestion.
Network congestion effects the performance of websites and applications. If we think about it as highway traffic, we understand there is a need for an intelligent Internet routing system. The result of eliminating network congestion is reliable and predictable network performance.
To learn more about how to eliminate network congestion, you can download the AWS Network Optimization Whitepaper.