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Title: Internet congestion control for variable-rate TCP traffic
Author: Biswas, Md. Israfil
ISNI:       0000 0004 2722 0580
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2011
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The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) has been designed for reliable data transport over the Internet. The performance of TCP is strongly influenced by its congestion control algorithms that limit the amount of traffic a sender can transmit based on end-to-end available capacity estimations. These algorithms proved successful in environments where applications rate requirements can be easily anticipated, as is the case for traditional bulk data transfer or interactive applications. However, an important new class of Internet applications has emerged that exhibit significant variations of transmission rate over time. Variable-rate traffic poses a new challenge for congestion control, especially for applications that need to share the limited capacity of a bottleneck over a long delay Internet path (e.g., paths that include satellite links). This thesis first analyses TCP performance of bursty applications that do not send data continuously, but generate data in bursts separated by periods in which little or no data is sent. Simulation analysis shows that standard TCP methods do not provide efficient support for bursty applications that produce variable-rate traffic, especially over long delay paths. Although alternative forms of congestion control like TCP-Friendly Rate Control and the Datagram Congestion Control Protocol have been proposed, they did not achieve widespread deployment. Therefore many current applications that rely upon User Datagram Protocol are not congestion controlled. The use of non-standard or proprietary methods decreases the effectiveness of Internet congestion control and poses a threat to the Internet stability. Solutions are therefore needed to allow bursty applications to use TCP. Chapter three evaluates Congestion Window Validation (CWV), an IETF experimental specification that was proposed to improve support for bursty applications over TCP. It concluded that CWV is too conservative to support many bursty applications and does not provide an incentive to encourage use by application designers. Instead, application designers often avoid generating variable-rate traffic by padding idle periods, which has been shown to waste network resources. CWV is therefore shown to not provide an acceptable solution for variable-rate traffic. In response to this shortfall, a new modification to TCP, TCP-JAGO, is proposed. This allows variable-rate traffic to restart quickly after an inactive (i.e., idle) period and to effectively utilise available network resources while sending at a lower rate than the available rate (i.e., during an application-limited period). The analysis in Chapter five shows that JAGO provides faster convergence to a steady-state rate and improves throughput by more efficiently utilising the network. TCP-JAGO is also shown to provide an appropriate response when congestion is experienced after restart. Variable-rate TCP traffic can also be impacted by the Initial Window algorithm at the start or during the restart of a session. Chapter six considers this problem, where TCP has no prior indication of the network state. A recent proposal for a larger initial window is analysed. Issues and advantages of using a large IW over a range of scenarios are discussed. The thesis concludes by presenting recommendations to improve TCP support for bursty applications. This also provides an incentive for application designers to choose TCP for variable-rate traffic.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TCP/IP (Computer network protocol) ; Internet governance