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Continuing the process of improvements made to TCP through the addition of new algorithms in Tahoe and Reno, TCP SACK aims to provide robustness to TCP in the presence of multiple losses from the same window. In this paper we present analytic models to estimate the latency and steady-state throughput of TCP Tahoe, Reno, and SACK and validate our models using both simulations and TCP traces collected from the Internet. In addition to being the first models for the latency of finite Tahoe and SACK flows, our model for the latency of TCP Reno gives a more accurate estimation of the transfer times than existing models. The improved accuracy is partly due to a more accurate modeling of the timeouts, evolution of cwnd during slow start and the delayed ACK timer. Our models also show that, under the losses introduced by the droptail queues which dominate most routers in the Internet, current implementations of SACK can fail to provide adequate protection against timeouts and a loss of roughly more than half the packets in a round will lead to timeouts. We also show that with independent losses SACK performs better than Tahoe and Reno and, as losses become correlated, Tahoe can outperform both Reno and SACK.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2003