Meet L4S, The New Network Standard You Might See In Use Soon

Low Latency, Low Loss, Scalable Throughput

The L4S standard was approved and published in January of this year, but as of yet we haven’t seen much use of it. This could change as it will speed up your internet experience once implemented by a site.  In very basic terms this standard adds an indicator to packets which allows them to detect congestion.  If a packet sits in a queue for longer than a set period of time, that indicator will report that the packet has experienced congestion.

If this happens on a network with the ability to read that indicator, it can then take steps to rectify the situation.  In theory this could reduce buffering down to single-digit milliseconds if alternate paths exist.  While L4S has been fully approved, the roll out is taking some time.  Comcast is conducting field trials with Apple, Nvidia, and Valve with Apple adding beta support for L4S in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura.  Windows should be able to incorporate it without any real work, the biggest challenge may be in the hardware.   The story at Slashdot suggests that so far adoption is limited, and only the Xfinity 10G Gateway XB7 / XB8, Arris S33, and Netgear CM1000v2 gateway devices were mentioned as supporting L4S .

The story at Slashdot also has a link to a detailed look, if you grasp networking at a high level.

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