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British, Belgian boffins battle buffering bandwidth bogeyman

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International boffins have been enlisted to stop that most annoying of internet snafus, the buffering circle of doom right in the middle of your kitten video.

The European Commission will splaff €3,569,000 over three years in an effort to reduce internet transport latency (the RITE project) without a requirement for new and better connections. Instead, the RITE team will have to come up with a way to rewrite how computers send info in order to speed up the net.

The team, pulled from the University of Aberdeen, Simula Research Labs in Norway, the University of Oslo and Karlstad University in Sweden to work with folks from BT, Alcatel-Lucent BELL in Belgium and Institut Mines-Telecom in France, will try to figure out new mechanisms in the network and the end-hosts to reduce or get rid of the effects of delay on gamers, vid-oip users and kitten/porn fanciers.

“It’s a problem we all notice when you’re using a program like Skype. If anyone else in the house is watching a video at the same time – your video connection becomes jerky and often crashes," professor Gorry Fairhurst, internet engineer at Aberdeen, said.

“This affects gamers who want to play online in real time and companies doing stock training – both end up buying special and expensive internet connections to make these work, but often it’s not more bandwidth that’s needed to go faster – it’s less delay. We think we can reduce this delay by making a set of small but important changes to the way computers and the network process the Internet data.”

The RITE team and backers reckon that if they manage to come up with a way to get rid of buffering, it will help folks with slow internet speeds as well as prolific YouTubers.

"We’re focussed on one defined problem and we think there are fixes for this, but we have to change the current standards for the Internet," Fairhurst said.

"This isn’t something that companies like Microsoft and Apple will undertake lightly, but we expect they’ll take up what we’re doing because this has benefits for everyone. If we can’t do something that the rest of the world stands up and says – ‘ok I get it, we’ll standardise it’, then we’ve failed." ®

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