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Wireless access networks in the form of wireless local area networks, home networks, and cellular networks are becoming an integral part of the Internet. Unlike wired networks, random packet loss due to bit errors is not negligible in wireless networks, and this causes significant performance degradation of transmission control protocol (TCP). We propose and study a novel end-to-end congestion control mechanism called TCP Veno that is simple and effective for dealing with random packet loss. A key ingredient of Veno is that it monitors the network congestion level and uses that information to decide whether packet losses are likely to be due to congestion or random bit errors. Specifically: (1) it refines the multiplicative decrease algorithm of TCP Reno-the most widely deployed TCP version in practice-by adjusting the slow-start threshold according to the perceived network congestion level rather than a fixed drop factor and (2) it refines the linear increase algorithm so that the connection can stay longer in an operating region in which the network bandwidth is fully utilized. Based on extensive network testbed experiments and live Internet measurements, we show that Veno can achieve significant throughput improvements without adversely affecting other concurrent TCP connections, including other concurrent Reno connections. In typical wireless access networks with 1% random packet loss rate, throughput improvement of up to 80% can be demonstrated. A salient feature of Veno is that it modifies only the sender-side protocol of Reno without changing the receiver-side protocol stack.
Date of Publication: Feb 2003