Skip to Main Content
Wireless networks (including wireless mesh networks) provide opportunities for using multiple paths. Multihoming of hosts, possibly using different technologies and providers, also makes it attractive for end-to-end transport connections to exploit multiple paths. In this paper, we propose a multipath transport protocol, based on a carefully crafted set of enhancements to TCP, that effectively utilizes the available bandwidth and diversity provided by heterogeneous, lossy wireless paths. Our Multi-Path LOss-Tolerant (MPLOT) transport protocol can be used to obtain significant goodput gains in wireless networks, subject to bursty, correlated losses with average loss rates as high as 50%. MPLOT is built around the principle of separability of reliability and congestion control functions in an end-to-end transport protocol. Congestion control is performed separately on individual paths, and the reliability mechanism works over the aggregate set of paths available for an end-to-end session. MPLOT distinguishes between congestion and link losses through Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN), and uses Forward Error Correction (FEC) coding to recover from data losses. MPLOT uses a dynamic packet mapping based on the current path characteristics to choose a path for a packet. Use of erasure codes and block-level recovery ensures that in MPLOT the receiving transport entity can recover all data as long as a necessary number of packets in the block are received, irrespective of which packets are lost. We present a theoretical analysis of the different design choices of MPLOT and show that MPLOT chooses its policies and parameters such that a desirable tradeoff between goodput with data recovery delay is attained. We evaluate MPLOT, through simulations, under a variety of test scenarios and demonstrate that it effectively exploits path diversity in addition to efficiently aggregating path bandwidths while remaining fair to a conventional TCP flow on each path.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2012