Trade & Cap: A Customer-Managed, Market-Based System for Trading Bandwidth Allowances at a Shared Link
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Citation (published version)Londono, Jorge; Bestavros, Azer; Laoutaris, Nikolaos. "Trade and Cap: A Customer-Managed, Market-Based System for Trading Bandwidth Allowances at a Shared Link", Technical Report BUCS-TR-2009-025, Computer Science Department, Boston University, July 29, 2009. [Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/1749]
We propose Trade & Cap (T&C), an economics-inspired mechanism that incentivizes users to voluntarily coordinate their consumption of the bandwidth of a shared resource (e.g., a DSLAM link) so as to converge on what they perceive to be an equitable allocation, while ensuring efficient resource utilization. Under T&C, rather than acting as an arbiter, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) acts as an enforcer of what the community of rational users sharing the resource decides is a fair allocation of that resource. Our T&C mechanism proceeds in two phases. In the first, software agents acting on behalf of users engage in a strategic trading game in which each user agent selfishly chooses bandwidth slots to reserve in support of primary, interactive network usage activities. In the second phase, each user is allowed to acquire additional bandwidth slots in support of presumed open-ended need for fluid bandwidth, catering to secondary applications. The acquisition of this fluid bandwidth is subject to the remaining "buying power" of each user and by prevalent "market prices" – both of which are determined by the results of the trading phase and a desirable aggregate cap on link utilization. We present analytical results that establish the underpinnings of our T&C mechanism, including game-theoretic results pertaining to the trading phase, and pricing of fluid bandwidth allocation pertaining to the capping phase. Using real network traces, we present extensive experimental results that demonstrate the benefits of our scheme, which we also show to be practical by highlighting the salient features of an efficient implementation architecture.