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New in iOS 7: MultiPath TCP

22 September 2013 654 views No Comment

What is Multipath TCP? On a very, very basic level it is how connectively should just work — devices should efficiently use all of the networks available…

What is Multipath TCP (MPTCP)? On a very, very basic level it is how connectively should just work — your devices should automatically make the most efficient use of the network connections available. iPhones iPads and/or iPod touches running iOS 7 now use Multipath TCP, but only when making a Siri request.

Although Apple itself is silent on the subject, the industry organization behind the five-year effort to define and promote the technology, MultiPath-TCP.org, has outed multipath TCP in iOS 7.

“Apple’s iOS7 supports MPTCP for its traffic generated by Siri,” writes MultiPath on their website. “Congratulations to Apple for pushing the first wide-spread deployment of MPTCP.”

What’s it do? According to MPTCP.org, “Multipath TCP is an effort towards enabling the simultaneous use of several IP-addresses/interfaces by a modification of TCP that presents a regular TCP interface to applications, while in fact spreading data across several subflows.”

In other words, if a device has access to wifi, 3G/LTE and ethernet, it should be able to use all three connections singly or in combination to get things done. So, if a device running on a saturated ethernet connection (i.e. multiple file transfers), then the device should be able to also make use of LTE and/or wifi to stream audio, get mail, surf the web, etc.

In the case of a user making a Siri request on an iPhone 5S running iOS 7, the device will use the available network connections — wifi and LTE — to process the transaction as efficiently as possible.

Again, Siri on iOS 7 uses MPTCP, but other services and apps don’t. As things are, for example, Safari will struggle with whatever network connection its set to default to even when that fails.

Why doesn’t everything utilize make use of MPTCP — it just makes sense to use all of the network resources available, right? For better and worse, MPTCP is all about quality of service and quality of service is really, really hard.

Frankly, if it were easy, someone — a.k.a. Samsung, Microsoft, Google, Motorola, HTC, etc. — would have implemented Multipath TCP already.

And, by the way, Apple can’t innovate anymore my…

What’s your take?

Via Quartz, Image above shows MPTCP usage worldwide

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