Skip to Main Content
We consider basic limitations on the amount of protocol information that must be transmitted in a data communication network to keep track of source and receiver addresses and of the starting and stopping of messages. Assuming Poisson message arrivals between each communicating source-receiver pair, we find a lower bound on the required protocol information per message. This lower bound is the sum of two terms, one for the message length information, which depends only on the distribution of message lengths, and the other for the message start information, which depends only on the product of the source-receiver pair arrival rate and the expected delay for transmitting the message. Two strategies are developed which, in the limit of large numbers of sources and receivers, almost meet the lower bound on protocol information.