Revisiting the fair queueing paradigm for end-to-end congestion control

Legout, Arnaud;Biersack, Ernst W
IEEE Network Magazine Volume 16 N°5 Issue on Internet performance furure wireless systems, September/October 2002

Today, the dominant paradigm for congestion control in the Internet is based on the notion of TCP-friendliness.
To be TCP-friendly, a source must behave in such a way as to achieve a bandwidth that is similar to the bandwidth obtained by a TCP flow that would observe the same Round Trip Time (RTT) and the same loss rate. However, with the success of the Internet comes the deployment of an increasing number of applications that do not use TCP as a transport protocol. These applications can often improve their own performance by not being TCP-friendly, which severely penalizes TCP flows. To design new applications to be TCP-friendly is often a difficult task.
The idea of the Fair Queueing (FQ) paradigm as a means to improve congestion control was first introduced by Keshav. While Keshav made a fundamental step toward a new paradigm for the design of congestion control protocols, he did not formalize his results so that his findings could be extended for the design of new congestion control protocols. We make this step and formally define the FQ paradigm as a paradigm for the design of new end-to-end congestion control protocols. This paradigm relies on FQ scheduling with per-flow scheduling and longest queue drop buffer management in each router. We assume only selfish and non-collaborative end users.
Our main contribution is the formal statement of the congestion control problem as a whole, which enables us to demonstrate the validity of the FQ paradigm. We also demonstrate that the FQ paradigm does not adversely impact the throughput of TCP flows and we explain how to apply the FQ paradigm for the design of new congestion control protocols. As a pragmatic validation of the FQ paradigm, we discuss a new multicast congestion control protocol called packet Pair receiver-driven Layered Multicast (PLM).

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