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Host-to-Host Congestion Control for TCP

The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) carries most Internet traffic, so performance of the Internet depends to a great extent on how well TCP works. Performance characteristics of a particular version of TCP are defined by the congestion control algorithm it employs. This paper presents a survey of various congestion control proposals that preserve the original host-to-host idea of TCP—namely, that neither sender nor receiver relies on any explicit notification from the network. The proposed solutions focus on a variety of problems, starting with the basic problem of eliminating the phenomenon of congestion collapse, and also include the problems of effectively using the available network resources in different types of environments (wired, wireless, high-speed, long-delay, etc.). In a shared, highly distributed, and heterogeneous environment such as the Internet, effective network use depends not only on how well a single TCP based application can utilize the network capacity, but also on how well it cooperates with other applications transmitting data through the same network. Our survey shows that over the last 20 years many host-to-host techniques have been developed that address several problems with different levels of reliability and precision. There have been enhancements allowing senders to detect fast packet losses and route changes. Other techniques have the ability to estimate the loss rate, the bottleneck buffer size, and level of congestion. The survey describes each congestion control alternative, its strengths and its weaknesses. Additionally, techniques that are in common use or available for testing are described.



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