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Reliable transport protocols such as TCP (transmission control protocol) are tuned to perform well in traditional networks where packet losses occur mostly because of congestion. However, on the wireless links where packet losses frequently happen, TCP shows a serious drop in performance. We propose a scheme, called BSF (buffer state based flow control), which can solve this problem. BSF is implemented at the base station of a wireless network. So, it does not need any modification of the TCP stacks in the end system. BSF uses the buffer state of the base station as the criterion to detect wireless link error and reduces unnecessary contraction of congestion window in TCP. As a result, the buffer of the base station maintains a non-empty state to maximize the link utilization. In our simulation study, this approach achieved up to 250 % improvement in performance.
Date of Conference: 2002