More and more schools are implementing a 1:1 Chromebook initiative, and many of them use the Google services that are preloaded onto them, such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs and Google Cloud. To access these applications on a Chromebook, you will most likely use the Chrome web browser. But what if the performance you’re looking for, still cannot be seen?
It could be QUIC’s fault.
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Google developed a protocol called QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections) in order to assist and improve User Data Protocol (UDP) experiences to be at a level similar to Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) – a more reliable type of connection – while still retaining features that make UDP better for some applications, such as fast delivery. QUIC has seen a relatively slow adoption rate, however all Google Services support QUIC, and it is built in and enabled in all versions of Chrome newer than 29. What does this mean? It means that any time a user goes to a Google controlled page – Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, etc – with a Chrome browser, some content can and will be delivered via QUIC.
So, how do you optimize your network for an awesome Chromebook experience?
Exinda, which uses application definitions in order to classify traffic, knows about QUIC and how it operates. However, administrators might not know that using Chrome to view Google Services will use QUIC for part of their applications. Their existing policies will be configured for the standard Google Apps – but not for QUIC. This may lead to a disconnect where the Exinda is not giving QUIC traffic the same level of priority that it is for the Google Applications classifications. In other browsers, everything might appear to be fine using Google Applications, but Chrome might see a decrease in performance, comparatively, because QUIC traffic is not getting the necessary bandwidth.
If QUIC is not a part of a policy (under Configuration > Optimizer) then it is possible to see QUIC falling into a policy that is getting limited bandwidth. This would affect Chrome users, as falling into a policy providing limited bandwidth would limit the students’ activities. It can especially be noticeable if there is such a policy to give priority bandwidth to Google Applications.
Exinda includes a pre-defined application for QUIC, which can easily be added to any policy governing Google applications by adding a new Filter Rule to the policy for the application ‘QUIC
Doing this will ensure that Chrome users will get the ability to get the most out of their access to Google applications.
Note, that while QUIC is enabled on all Google Services, including YouTube, not all of the traffic belonging to the page is transferred using QUIC.