In a groundbreaking move poised to revolutionize internet connectivity, Vodafone and Nokia Bell Labs have conducted successful tests of a new internet standard known as L4S.

In a groundbreaking move poised to revolutionize internet connectivity, Vodafone and Nokia Bell Labs have conducted successful tests of a new internet standard known as L4S (Low Latency, Low Loss, and Scalable Throughput). This innovative standard promises to significantly enhance the internet experience for users, particularly in scenarios where latency is critical.

In simulated tests replicating the conditions of a heavily congested fiber-to-the-home broadband connection over Wi-Fi, Vodafone and Nokia Bell Labs achieved a remarkable reduction in latency. From an initial latency of 550 milliseconds, they slashed it down to a mere 12 milliseconds. Even more impressively, when using an ethernet cable instead of Wi-Fi, the latency plummeted to an astonishingly low 1.05 milliseconds.

The significance of this achievement cannot be overstated, particularly in applications where latency is a crucial factor. Latency exceeding 100 milliseconds often results in noticeable lags during activities such as fast-paced online gaming and video calls. The successful end-to-end test conducted at Vodafone’s Newbury, UK lab marks a significant milestone in the development and implementation of the L4S standard.

Gavin Young, Head of Fixed Access Centre of Excellence at Vodafone, expressed enthusiasm about the potential of L4S to transform the internet experience for customers. He emphasized Vodafone’s commitment to providing a faster, more responsive, and reliable service, even during peak usage hours. Young highlighted L4S as a technology with immense potential to achieve these goals, offering customers a more interactive and seamless internet experience.

Pioneered by Bell Labs, L4S represents an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard aimed at addressing network queuing delays—a primary contributor to internet latency spikes. These delays occur when data packets become stuck idling in router and modem buffers before being forwarded.

While initially tested on passive optical networks commonly used for residential fibre broadband, L4S has the versatility to operate across various access technologies, benefiting latency-sensitive applications such as telesurgery, autonomous vehicles, and smart factories.

Azimeh Sefidcon, Head of Network Systems and Security Research at Nokia Bell Labs, hailed the promising results of the L4S tests, emphasizing its potential to unleash the full capabilities of real-time applications. Sefidcon highlighted the seamless operation of video conferencing, cloud gaming, augmented reality, and remote drone operations facilitated by L4S, all without significant queuing delays.

The development of L4S aligns with Bell Labs’ broader UNEXT initiative, aimed at transforming networks into self-optimizing systems. This initiative seeks to eliminate interoperability barriers between network elements and applications, fostering a more efficient and adaptable internet infrastructure.

As internet connectivity continues to evolve and play an increasingly integral role in various aspects of daily life, the successful testing of L4S by Vodafone and Nokia Bell Labs heralds a new era of enhanced performance, responsiveness, and reliability for users worldwide. With its potential to revolutionize latency-sensitive applications across diverse industries, L4S stands as a testament to the ongoing innovation driving the future of internet technology.