Edgynet Upgrade: Low Latency Connections Now Available (via Java Applet)

We’ve added an option to have the browser communicate back to the Edgynet demo server with far less latency. This should dramatically improve the performance of our application for folks connecting from outside of Europe, as well as those connecting over high latency Internet connections (eg 3G).

It’s easy to configure. On the demo page just click the Preferences button near the top of the page and select the “Java Applet” option. Then just click “OK” when you are prompted to have the page reloaded. Your decision will be stored in a cookie, so you should only have to do this once.

In order to avail of this improvement, you will need to have Java, version 1.6 or above, installed on your machine. We strongly recommend that you use Sun’s Java Plug-in, and ideally that you use version 1.6.10 or above. Also worth noting that the Applet will not work if you are stuck behind a HTTP proxy.

Thanks for all your feedback and suggestions on solving the latency problem with our service. We tried out a number of your suggestions, including line-buffering in Javascript, and offering a direct Telnet interface to the system. We opted to go with a Java Applet because it put the least restrictions on the architecture of our system. Ultimately, we’re hoping that something like Web Sockets gives us a TCP-like connection directly from Javascript back to the server. For the moment, let’s see how we get on with the Applet – the performance is likely to be similar to what we’ll get with Web Sockets anyway. Your feedback is always most welcome!

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Edgynet Stopwatch: A Latency Testing & Graphing Application

Just a quick note to let you know that we’ve released a latency testing and graphing application. It’s an Edgynet sub-project, which we’re calling Stopwatch, or Edgynet Stopwatch. You can find it at http://stopwatch.edgynet.com:

Currently it supports testing of two browser-to-server communication mechanisms:

  1. Comet – using cometd-jquery on the client-side and our own server-side Bayeux implemenation
  2. TCP – via a hidden Java Applet

We’ll talk more about the Stopwatch application, and how we’re using it, in the coming days.

We expect to integrate the Java Applet from this application into the Edgynet system over the next week. It will be available as an alternative connection option – Comet will remain the default. Hopefully, this will offer a solution to the latency problem experienced by those connecting to our service from outside of Europe, and those connecting over 3G.

The graphs in Edgynet Stopwatch are generated using the Google Chart API. So thanks to Google for that.

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Bugfix Update

We’ve carried out a small update to fix two independent bugs that resulted in typed characters getting intermixed under certain circumstances. This problem was most likely to occur when typing at fast speeds over a slow connection.

Many thanks for the feedback which brought this problem to our attention!

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Edgynet Demo Released

We are very pleased to announce the release of a demo version of the Edgynet network simulator. It is available online right now, all that’s required is a web browser. See:

http://www.edgynet.com/demo

To use the simulator in its current form, you will need to have some understanding of how to set up networking on a Linux machine from the command line (using either ‘ifconfig‘ and ‘route‘, or iproute2 commands). In the future we hope to simulate other types of network devices, but at the moment the interface to each virtual-device is based on Linux.

Tiny bit of bad news:

If you are connecting to the service from outside of Europe, or you are using a 3G Internet connection, then you’re probably going to find the demo quite sluggish. This is due to latency.

Ideal operating conditions are when your ping round-trip-time to www.edgynet.com is 60ms or less. It should still be bearable up to 100ms, but above that it starts to become painful.

At the moment our demo server is located in Germany, but in the future we expect to host application servers in other geographic locations.

We’ve used many open-source technologies to build the Edgynet system, and we’d like to take the opportunity to thank the following projects in particular:

Many other Open-Source tools are being used to build and run the Edgynet website, including: Debian GNU/Linux, Gimp, Inkscape, FFmpeg, Nagios, Cacti and RRDtool.

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