Load factor based congestion control schemes have shown to enhance network performance, in terms of utilization, packet loss and delay. In these schemes, using more accurate representation of network load levels is likely to lead to a more efficient way of communicating congestion information to hosts. Increasing the amount of congestion information, however, may end up adversely affecting the performance of the network. This paper focuses on this trade-off and addresses two important and challenging questions: (i) How many congestion levels should be represented by the feedback signal to provide near-optimal performance? and (ii) What window adjustment policies must be in place to ensure robustness in the face of congestion and achieve efficient and fair bandwidth allocations in high Bandwidth-Delay Product (BDP) networks, while keeping low queues and negligible packet drop rates? Based on theoretical analysis and simulations, our results show that 3-bit feedback is sufficient for achieving near-optimal rate convergence to an efficient bandwidth allocation. While the performance gap between 2-bit and 3-bit schemes is large, gains follow the law of diminishing returns when more than 3 bits are used. Further, we show that using multiple back-off factors enables the protocol to adjust its fairness convergence rate, rate variations and responsiveness to congestion based on the degree of congestion at the bottleneck. Based on these insights, we design Multi-Level feedback Congestion control Protocol (MLCP). In addition to being efficient, MLCP converges to a fair bandwidth allocation in the presence of diverse RTT flows while maintaining near-zero packet drop rate and low persistent queue length. A fluid model for the protocol reinforces the stability properties that we observe in our simulations and provides a good theoretical grounding for MLCP.
- Congestion control
- Load factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Networks and Communications