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Understanding and improving TCP performance over networks with minimum rate guarantees

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4 Author(s)
Wu-chang Feng ; Dept. of Electr. Eng. & Comput. Sci., Michigan Univ., Ann Arbor, MI, USA ; Kandlur, D.D. ; Saha, D. ; Shin, K.G.

A large number of Internet applications are sensitive to overload conditions in the network. While these applications have been designed to adapt somewhat to the varying conditions in the Internet, they can benefit greatly from an increased level of predictability in network services. We propose minor extensions to the packet queueing and discard mechanisms used in routers, coupled with simple control mechanisms at the source that enable the network to guarantee minimal levels of throughput to different sessions while sharing the residual network capacity in a cooperative manner. The service realized by the proposed mechanisms is an interpretation of the controlled-load service being standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force. Although controlled-load service can be used in conjunction with any transport protocol, our focus in this paper is on understanding its interaction with Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). Specifically, we study the dynamics of TCP traffic in an integrated services network that simultaneously supports both best-effort and controlled-load sessions. In light of this study, we propose and experiment with modifications to TCP's congestion control mechanisms in order to improve its performance in networks where a minimum transmission rate is guaranteed. We then investigate the effect of network transients, such as changes in traffic load and in service levels, on the performance of controlled-load as well as best-effort connections. To capture the evolution of integrated services in the Internet, we also consider situations where only a selective set of routers are capable of providing service differentiation between best-effort and controlled-load traffic. Finally, we show how the service mechanisms proposed here can be embedded within other packet and link scheduling frameworks in a fully evolved integrated services Internet

Published in:

Networking, IEEE/ACM Transactions on  (Volume:7 ,  Issue: 2 )