FIBRE Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine, is a protocol that relays blocks within a network of nodes at high speeds. Find out how it works today.
What is Fibre Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine?
FIBRE stands for Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine. It’s described as “a protocol and implementation designed to relay blocks within a network of nodes with almost no delay beyond the speed of light through fiber.”
The protocol was developed after several years of research on the Bitcoin Relay Network, and claims to function incredibly well “even when faced with suboptimal internet conditions.”
Ultimately, FIBRE is a proposal to improve the Bitcoin Relay Network. It’s not currently being proposed as an addition to the main Bitcoin Core client, although it can be easily added to your network of Bitcoin Core instances. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how the Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine plans to improve the existing Bitcoin Relay Network.
How Does FIBRE Work?
Fibre Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine improves the Bitcoin Relay Network in two major ways:
- First, it eliminates latency spikes
- Second, it compensates for packet loss
The protocol does this by building on the compression provided by Bitcoin Core and the Compact Block work feature.
FIBRE was specifically built with the goal of being easy to add to Bitcoin Core pools. If you’re already running a network Bitcoin Core instances, then you can instantly add FIBRE to facilitate high-speed transfer of blocks.
Why Do We Need Fibre Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine?
Well, the internet’s existing TCP was designed to provide reliable transmission of data at reasonable bandwidth. However, TCP was designed for medium to large amounts of data. That makes TCP very bad at low-latency relays of small amounts of data. Typically, it’s tuned to send packets (each just under 1500 bytes) once, only to result in some packets getting lost after a lack of response from the other side.
This ultimately leads to packet loss and high latency block transmission. The official BitcoinFIBRE.org website claims that packet loss rates can be as high as 1% over long-haul links on the internet.
In order to create minimal latency block transmission, FIBRE’s solution needs to transmit enough data that the receiving party can construct the entire block – even though some packets were lost on the way. That’s where their Compact Block-based solution comes from.
Here’s how the development team describes its changes to Bitcoin Core’s Compact Block solution:
“Because the Compact Block design was being done simultaneously with the work on FIBRE, the cmpctblock message format was designed to ensure it fits neatly into a UDP-FEC-based relay mechanism. The only difference is that we send it over UDP with FEC, and instead of relying on a round-trip to request any missing transactions in our mempool, we send the block's transactions immediately, again with additional FEC.”
Basically, servers relay individual packets to their peers as soon as they arrive, which means extra hops do not introduce more latency.
Several pools have already optimized their block propagation using FIBRE.
The code is not currently being proposed as a merge candidate for Bitcoin Core. However, it’s designed to be easy to add to Bitcoin Core – so if you’re running a pool of Bitcoin Core nodes, then you can easily add FIBRE for faster block transfer rates.
As proof that FIBRE works as advertised, the development team has created a demo network where it runs side by side with the original Bitcoin Relay Network.
How to Setup Fibre Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine
If you want to setup FIBRE on your own network of Bitcoin Core instances, then you can follow the setup guide here: http://bitcoinfibre.org/fibre-howto.html
Fibre Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine Conclusion
Fibre Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine is a protocol that improves upon the original Bitcoin Core’s Compact Block solution. It’s designed with faster latency and lower packet loss. Today, FIBRE can easily be implemented into pools – and already has been implemented into several pools.
If you’re already operating a network of Bitcoin Core instances, then you can instantly provide high-speed transfer of blocks by adding FIBRE. To learn more about the protocol, visit the official website online today at BitcoinFIBRE.org.