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In this paper, we address the problem of optimal decentralized traffic engineering when multiple paths are available for each call. More precisely, given a set of possible paths for each call, we aim at distributing the traffic among the available paths in order to maximize a given utility function. To solve this problem, we propose a large family of decentralized sending rate control laws having the property that each of the members of this family "steers" the traffic allocation to an optimal operation point. The approach taken relies on the control theory concept of Sliding Modes. These control laws allow each ingress node to independently adjust its traffic sending rates and/or redistribute its sending rates among multiple paths. The only nonlocal information needed is binary feedback from each congested node in the path. The control laws presented are applicable to a large class of utility functions, namely, utility functions that can be expressed as the sum of concave functions of the sending rates. We show that the technique can be applied not only to usual rate adaptive traffic with multiple paths, but also to rate adaptive traffic with minimum service requirements and/or maximum allowed sending rate and to assured service with targeted rate guarantee, all allowing for multiple paths. It is also shown that these control laws are robust with respect to failures; i.e., they automatically reroute traffic if a link failure occurs. Finally, we provide some insight on how to choose the "right" control law. In particular, we provide a way of choosing a member of the family of control laws that reduces the sending rate oscillation caused by implementation constraints like delays and quantization. An example of application of the approach delineated in this paper is also presented. This example provides some insights on the implementation aspects and illustrates the robustness of the control laws developed in this paper.
Date of Publication: June 2004