Stochastic Modeling and Simulation of the TCP protocol

University dissertation from Uppsala : Avdelningen för matematisk statistik

Abstract: The success of the current Internet relies to a large extent on a cooperation between the users and the network. The network signals its current state to the users by marking or dropping packets. The users then strive to maximize the sending rate without causing network congestion. To achieve this, the users implement a flow-control algorithm that controls the rate at which data packets are sent into the Internet. More specifically, the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is used by the users to adjust the sending rate in response to changing network conditions. TCP uses the observation of packet loss events and estimates of the round trip time (RTT) to adjust its sending rate. In this thesis we investigate and propose stochastic models for TCP. The models are used to estimate network performance like throughput, link utilization, and packet loss rate. The first part of the thesis introduces the TCP protocol and contains an extensive TCP modeling survey that summarizes the most important TCP modeling work. Reviewed models are categorized as renewal theory models, fixed-point methods, fluid models, processor sharing models or control theoretic models. The merits of respective category is discussed and guidelines for which framework to use for future TCP modeling is given. The second part of the thesis contains six papers on TCP modeling. Within the renewal theory framework we propose single source TCP-Tahoe and TCP-NewReno models. We investigate the performance of these protocols in both a DropTail and a RED queuing environment. The aspects of TCP performance that are inherently depending on the actual implementation of the flow-control algorithm are singled out from what depends on the queuing environment.Using the fixed-point framework, we propose models that estimate packet loss rate and link utilization for a network with multiple TCP-Vegas, TCP-SACK and TCP-Reno on/off sources. The TCP-Vegas model is novel and is the first model capable of estimating the network's operating point for TCP-Vegas sources sending on/off traffic. All TCP and network models in the contributed research papers are validated via simulations with the network simulator ns-2. This thesis serves both as an introduction to TCP and as an extensive orientation about state of the art stochastic TCP models.

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