Differentiated Predictive Fair Service for TCP Flows
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Citation (published version)Matta, Ibrahim; Guo, Liang. "Differentiated Predictive Fair Service for TCP Flows", Technical Report BUCS-2000-012, Computer Science Department, Boston University, May 17, 2000. [Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/1806]
The majority of the traffic (bytes) flowing over the Internet today have been attributed to the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). This strong presence of TCP has recently spurred further investigations into its congestion avoidance mechanism and its effect on the performance of short and long data transfers. At the same time, the rising interest in enhancing Internet services while keeping the implementation cost low has led to several service-differentiation proposals. In such service-differentiation architectures, much of the complexity is placed only in access routers, which classify and mark packets from different flows. Core routers can then allocate enough resources to each class of packets so as to satisfy delivery requirements, such as predictable (consistent) and fair service. In this paper, we investigate the interaction among short and long TCP flows, and how TCP service can be improved by employing a low-cost service-differentiation scheme. Through control-theoretic arguments and extensive simulations, we show the utility of isolating TCP flows into two classes based on their lifetime/size, namely one class of short flows and another of long flows. With such class-based isolation, short and long TCP flows have separate service queues at routers. This protects each class of flows from the other as they possess different characteristics, such as burstiness of arrivals/departures and congestion/sending window dynamics. We show the benefits of isolation, in terms of better predictability and fairness, over traditional shared queueing systems with both tail-drop and Random-Early-Drop (RED) packet dropping policies. The proposed class-based isolation of TCP flows has several advantages: (1) the implementation cost is low since it only requires core routers to maintain per-class (rather than per-flow) state; (2) it promises to be an effective traffic engineering tool for improved predictability and fairness for both short and long TCP flows; and (3) stringent delay requirements of short interactive transfers can be met by increasing the amount of resources allocated to the class of short flows.