FAQ: QUIC Native Platform Support for Media Delivery Products

Document created by Alex Balford Employee on Apr 9, 2018Last modified by Dave Comery on Apr 10, 2018
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QUIC was introduced on the Akamai Intelligent Platform in July 2016 and has already been validated by a group of early adopters at Tbps scale. Akamai has matured its use of QUIC technology since its introduction and has found it brings significant delivery improvements for customers; often increasing throughput, reducing video startup times and rebuffering events. As of June 1, 2018 Akamai will begin to ramp up traffic delivered using QUIC for end user clients that support the protocol. The feature will be enabled automatically for customers using Adaptive Media Delivery, Download Delivery and Object Delivery unless they opt out.




What is QUIC?

QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections, pronounced quick) is a transport layer network protocol. QUIC supports a set of multiplexed connections between two endpoints over User Datagram Protocol (UDP).


How is it helpful?

QUIC protocol is able to overcome common Internet problems, such as latency and packet loss to provide a better user experience in many cases.

Because of the way QUIC is built, Akamai can rapidly improve the protocol and enable key enhancements. QUIC also implements several key features like 0-RTT, more efficient loss recovery and while QUIC supports secure HTTP/1.1, it also adds connection multiplexing designed to work even better with HTTP/2.


Why is Akamai deploying this technology broadly?

Akamai has matured its use of QUIC technology since its introduction and has found it brings significant improvements for customers.  More broad application of QUIC technology will improve Akamai’s overall network quality and reliability at scale.


Where will QUIC be available?

QUIC will be enabled by default for AMD, DD and OD products configured to use Akamai shared certificate (i.e. *.akamaized.net, *.akamaihd.net).  QUIC can be made available on other products - contact your akamai representative for more information.


How do I tell if QUIC is being used?

For directions on determining QUIC usage in Chrome, please see the article located here: https://community.akamai.com/docs/DOC-9183-determining-if-chrome-is-using-media-acceleration


Are there situations where QUIC won’t work?

If an end user client doesn’t support QUIC that client will continue to use TCP.  

During validation, Akamai engineers have identified a few networks where UDP is either blocked or rate-limited which hinders QUIC performance. Akamai continually monitors for network changes to see where QUIC is best applied.

QUIC protocol is not yet PCI compliant and therefore QUIC is not available with Enhanced TLS. Once QUIC finishes IETF standardization, Akamai will evaluate readiness for PCI compliance.


What is the plan for IETF QUIC?

Akamai is actively participating in IETF QUIC standardization process. The current implementation is compatible with Chromium. Akamai will support the IETF standard version as QUIC capable clients begin to implement the ratified version.


Which client devices support QUIC?

The most widely used client code base supporting QUIC is Chromium, which is the basis for Chrome and Opera browsers. It means that Chrome browser has a proven implementation of QUIC compatible with Akamai’s QUIC deployment. The cronet library for Android and iOS mobile platforms is based on Chromium and is also available. Many companies, including all major browser vendors, are participating in IETF and working on their implementations.


Is QUIC secure?

QUIC protocol was designed to be secure from the beginning and is only available for secure HTTP communication (i.e. https:// URLs).


Does QUIC support TLS-1.3?

The current QUIC already uses cryptographic protection that is equivalent to TLS-1.3.  Akamai will continue to keep up with IETF QUIC standard recommendations for security.


What if not all of my devices / apps have QUIC support - should I opt-out?

QUIC is automatically negotiated with compatible devices. Older devices which do not support QUIC will simply continue to use TCP.  There is no need to opt-out in such case.


How can I opt-out?

While not recommended, it is possible to opt-out of the usage of QUIC on your properties by following these directions via the Luna portal:

  1. Open a new editable version of your property configuration in Property Manager
  2. Click on button Add Behaviour
  3. In “Available Behaviors (by Category)” select “Performance & Optimizations”
  4. Select “Media Acceleration (QUIC Protocol) Opt-Out” and click Insert Behavior