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The behavior of TCP over DOCSIS-based CATV networks

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1 Author(s)
Wanjiun Liao ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Nat. Taiwan Univ., Taipei, Taiwan

This paper studies the impact of the data-over-cable service interface specification (DOCSIS) media-access control (MAC) protocol on the performance of the transmission control protocol (TCP) in hybrid fiber coax (HFC) broadband access networks. We find that the asymmetry ratio expressed in existing work cannot adequately explain the behavior of TCP in DOCSIS-based networks. To better capture the effect of DOCSIS on TCP, we express the asymmetry ratio (denoted by eta) in another way (denoted by k), considering the time-division multiple-access-like MAC layer operation of DOCSIS. When eta>1, TCP behaves as in a symmetric network, and when etales1, the system acts as in an asymmetric network, and the performance of TCP degrades. We find that the number of simultaneous TCP transfers significantly affects the asymmetry ratio. When the number of active transfers is below two times the maximum number of pending requests in a transmission period, the value of eta is larger than one, regardless of the value of k. However, when the number of active transfers becomes very large, the effect of DOCSIS on TCP becomes negligible, and the asymmetry ratio is determined by the bandwidth ratio of the channels times the length ratio of data and acknowledgement packets. Based on eta, we develop the round-trip delay of sending a data packet for both one-way and two-way transfers, and discuss the buffer requirement at the head end. The accuracy of the analytical model is validated by ns-2 simulations. The analytical result can provide useful guidelines in the design of slot allocation or scheduling mechanisms for any DOCSIS-based broadband access networks, including the emerging IEEE 802.16 WiMAX networks

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Communications  (Volume:54 ,  Issue: 9 )