TCP over CDMA2000 Networks: A Cross-Layer Measurement Study
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Modern cellular channels in 3G networks incorporate sophisticated power control and dynamic rate adaptation which can have significant impact on adaptive transport layer protocols, such as TCP. Though there exists studies that have evaluated the performance of TCP over such networks, they are based solely on observations at the transport layer and hence have no visibility into the impact of lower layer dynamics, which are a key characteristic of these networks. In this work, we present a detailed characterization of TCP behavior based on cross-layer measurement of transport layer, as well as RF and MAC layer parameters. In particular, through a series of active TCP/UDP experiments and measurement of the relevant variables at all three layers, we characterize both, the wireless scheduler and the radio link protocol in a commercial CDMA2000 network and assess their impact on TCP dynamics. Somewhat surprisingly, our findings indicate that the wireless scheduler is mostly insensitive to channel quality and sector load over short timescales and is mainly affected by the transport layer data rate. Furthermore, with the help of a robust correlation measure, Normalized Mutual Information, we were able to quantify the impact of the wireless scheduler and the radio link protocol on various TCP parameters such as the round trip time, throughput and packet loss rate.