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TCP for high performance in hybrid fiber coaxial broad-band access networks

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2 Author(s)
Cohen, R. ; Hewlett-Packard Labs., Haifa, Israel ; Ramanathan, S.

Motivated by the phenomenal growth of the Internet in recent years, a number of cable operators are in the process of upgrading their cable networks to offer data services to residential subscribers, providing them direct access to a variety of community content as well as to the Internet. Using cable modems that implement sophisticated modulation-demodulation circuitry, these services promise to offer a several hundredfold increase in access speeds to the home compared to conventional telephone modems. Initial experiences indicate that cable networks are susceptible to a variety of radio-frequency (RF) impairments that can result in significant packet loss during data communication. In the face of such losses, the transmission control protocol (TCP) that is predominantly used by data applications degrades dramatically in performance. Consequently, subscribers of broad-band data services may not perceive the projected hundredfold increase in performance. We analyze the performance of TCP under different network conditions using simulations and propose simple modifications that can offer up to threefold increase in performance in access networks that are prone to losses. These modifications require only minor changes to TCP implementations at the local network servers alone (and not at subscribers' PCs)

Published in:

Networking, IEEE/ACM Transactions on  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 1 )