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Improving the performance of the transmission control protocol (TCP) in wireless Internet protocol (IP) communications has been an active research area. The performance degradation of TCP in wireless and wired-wireless hybrid networks is mainly due to its lack of the ability to differentiate the packet losses caused by network congestions from the losses caused by wireless link errors. In this paper, we propose a new TCP scheme, called TCP-Jersey, which is capable of distinguishing the wireless packet losses from the congestion packet losses, and reacting accordingly. TCP-Jersey consists of two key components, the available bandwidth estimation (ABE) algorithm and the congestion warning (CW) router configuration. ABE is a TCP sender side addition that continuously estimates the bandwidth available to the connection and guides the sender to adjust its transmission rate when the network becomes congested. CW is a configuration of network routers such that routers alert end stations by marking all packets when there is a sign of an incipient congestion. The marking of packets by the CW configured routers helps the sender of the TCP connection to effectively differentiate packet losses caused by network congestion from those caused by wireless link errors. This paper describes the design of TCP-Jersey, and presents results from experiments using the NS-2 network simulator. Results from simulations show that in a congestion free network with 1% of random wireless packet loss rate, TCP-Jersey achieves 17% and 85% improvements in goodput over TCP-Westwood and TCP-Reno, respectively; in a congested network where TCP flow competes with VoIP flows, with 1% of random wireless packet loss rate, TCP-Jersey achieves 9% and 76% improvements in goodput over TCP-Westwood and TCP-Reno, respectively. Our experiments of multiple TCP flows show that TCP-Jersey maintains the fair and friendly behavior with respect to other TCP flows.
Date of Publication: May 2004