How Far Can Client-Only Solutions Go for Mobile Browser Speed?

Zhen Wang, Felix Xiaozhu Lin, Lin Zhong, Mansoor Chishtie

Mobile browser is known to be slow because of the bottleneck in resource loading. Client-only solutions to improve resource loading are attractive because they are immediately deployable, scalable, and secure. We present the first publicly known treatment of client-only solutions to understand how much they can improve mobile browser speed without infrastructure support. Leveraging an unprecedented set of web usage data collected from 24 iPhone users continuously over one year, we examine the three fundamental, orthogonal approaches a client-only solution can take: caching, prefetching, and speculative loading, which is first proposed and studied in this work. Speculative loading predicts and speculatively loads the subresources needed to open a web page once its URL is given. We show that while caching and prefetching are highly limited for mobile browsing, speculative loading can be significantly more effective. Empirically, we show that client-only solutions can improve the browser speed by about 1.4 second on average for web sites visited by the 24 iPhone users. We also report the design, realization, and evaluation of speculative loading in a WebKit-based browser called Tempo. On average, Tempo can reduce browser delay by 1 second (~20%).

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