Starting today (August 30th), Google flipped a switch on something they’ve been working on to speed up your experience on the Internet. Google and OpenDNS have been working on the Global Internet Speedup. DNS servers that are setup to use the edns-client-subnet option will forward the first three (3) octets of your IP address to the DNS server of the content provider you’re requesting information from. Using an open standard, the process then attempts to determine your location and then intelligently route information from cached content that is closer to you.
Delivering content closer to the user isn’t a new concept. Akamai, which was founded in 1998, is probably the best known caching delivery system which can transparently mirror all of the content of a site to deliver it faster by being closer to the user.
Are there possible privacy concerns with this initiative? Could this allow better control over content, even going so far as censorship? Is it a secret ploy from Google to work with the notorious PROTECT IP act? Only time will tell, but bear in mind that your IP address is already sent to a web server that you request information from. If the web server provider runs their own DNS server, then no new information is really being sent to them. If they use another provider’s DNS, then, yes, some information is going to that DNS server that normally would not.
So who is using this right now? Google, Bitgravity, CDNetworks, DNS.com and Edgecast for starters. If you want to take advantage of a possible speed boost, set your DNS entries on your computer to Google’s DNS servers – 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52. Or you can use OpenDNS’s servers which are 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11. If this initiative takes hold, your ISP will probably support it soon.