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The Internet is a collection of packet-based hop-by-hop routed networks. Internet traffic engineering is the process of allocating resources to meet the performance requirements of users and operators for their traffic. Current mechanisms for doing so, exemplified by TCP's congestion control or the variety of packet marking disciplines, concentrate on allocating resources on a per-packet basis or at data timescales. This article motivates the need for traffic engineering in the Internet at other timescales, namely control and management timescales, and presents three mechanisms for this. It also presents a scenario to show how these mechanisms increase the flexibility of operators' service offerings and potentially also ease problems of Internet management.
Date of Publication: Oct 2002