[e2e] Reacting to corruption based loss

Detlef Bosau detlef.bosau at web.de
Tue Jun 28 12:34:29 PDT 2005

Wesley Eddy wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 28, 2005 at 02:12:40AM +0200, Detlef Bosau wrote:
> >
> > I see the point. But one question remains (admittedly, I did not yet
> > read the paper, therefore I apologize if you have given the answer
> > there).
> There is much better information in the paper than this email provides,
> but I'll try to answer anyways :).

Thanks a lot.

Just one question in advance. What is the rationale behind the error
rates used in your simulation? 

>From first glance at your thesis and your papers, I see packet
corruption rates varying from about 0.001 to 0.1. Ist this correct?
In that case I do not understand your choice. Even 0.1 is far too low
for mobile networks _without_ RLP. And 0.001 seems to me much too high
for wirebound networks and for mobile networs _with_ RLP. But I´m sure,
that Alex will provide additional information here.

Corruption rates in mobile networks vary on extremely broad ranges. What
I´ve read so far, some papers use BER (_Block_ Error Rates, because
radio blocks
are the entity used by RLP) values 1 %, 2 %, 3 %, 4 %, 5%, other ones
use 5 %, 10 %, 15 %.

So let us take 5 % for the moment. This appears to me a reasonable radio
block corruption rate which can be found in many papers, so hopefully it
is sometimes met even in reality. (Perhas, some person experienced with
mobile networks can provide details here.)

So, if you consider a mobile network _without_ RLP, and if you consider
for example IP packets of 500 byte = 4000 bits = ca. 23 radio blocks,
assuming the 171 bit/block I mentioned yesterday as an example, then the
probability for a packet to remain intact in the presence of a block
corruption rate 0.05 is
(1-0.05)^23 = 0.31. In other words: Your IP packet corruption rate is
about seventy percent. So, for mobile links, I would have expected
corruption rates about 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9 to meet realistic values.

That is why I did not give pure e2e approaches in the "mobile access net
scenario" further consideration, because with packet corruption rates
0.7 or 0.8 congestion control does not matter. It´s simply not the
problem. The problem are the inacceptable rate of packet retransmissions
which is not only annoying for the user, because it takes large numbers
of transmissions and large amounts of time to have a packet eventually
delivered. It is annoying for the rest of the world as well, because
even wirebound network links with small corruption rates would be
occupied by retransmissions.

This was exactly the moment, where I abolished the idea of using pure
e2e recovery for TCP including mobile channels.

In fact, I think, in practical mobile networks the NOs have never given
it a thought. From what I see, there is no mobile network without RLP,
even good ol´ GSM
has a reliable character / byte (?) stream used for various purposes.
However, it took a long time to see this point. Personally, I have
thought about pure e2e solutions for lossy channels for a really long

I can honestly say that I have thrown away about 3 years of work because
it suddenly became clear to me that I´ve done
work for the waste basket.

Please correct me if I´m wrong there. But I´m totally convinced that in
really lossy networks, e.g. mobile wireless links, congestion control
and loss differentiation simply _miss_ the problem. 

In mobile networks, I think it is unevitable to make use of the RLP
mechanisms which typically decrease packet corruption
rates to 10^-3 or 10^-9 (sic!), whatever you prefer. (However, I´ve
never seen a _reliable_ packet transfer there, and I think it´s to avoid
problems caused by "everlasting packets" when there is no possibility to
restrict the number of sending attempts by a finite limit.)

> > How do you achieve _fairness_, when beta may vary?
> The paper splits this into two questions, so that it makes more sense:
> 1) Are a bunch of competing CETEN flows "fair" to each other?
> and
> 2) Are CETEN flows "friendly" to competing "legacy" TCP flows?
> Define fair to mean "equal sharing of resources", and define friendly (in
> a way that's a bit different from what TFRC uses) to mean "doesn't reduce
> the throughput of a normal competing TCP flow any more than another normal
> TCP flow would."  In other words, by fairness, we mean to say that the
> enhanced TCP only gains performance improvements from utilizing unused
> link capacity, not by stealing from competing flows.

Hm ;-)

Of course, there are lots of situations, where a Sender cannot exploit
the capacity of the link. In real situations you will often meet the
situation that a backbone´s bandwidth by fare exceeds the bandwidth used
in access links.

However, in quite a number of situations, links are fully occupied by
actual flows. In other words: There is no unused link capacity. And in
fact, in those situations adding a new flow to the network _of_ _course_
means to take away ressources from existing flows and use them for the
new one. I remember a slide set from a talk given by Len Kleinrock,
where he pointed out the directive "Keep the line full!". In fact, this
is the very basis for affordable network communication. And this holds
true not only for packet switched networks but for any kind of networks,
consider e.g. the telephone system.

> The answers given to these questions in the paper are:
> 1) Yes, in fact, at high error rates, CETEN flows are more fair to each
> other than normal TCP flows are.  Under CETEN, each flow has it's own
> floating point value for beta that's computed from observations of its
> own TCP behavior and some hints on error rates observed by routers; so
> it's safe to say that few flows have the same beta, although for most
> long-lived flows the beta values should be fairly closely grouped.  The
> paper has experimental (simulation-based) evidence that acceptable
> fairness can be acheived even if beta isn't totally uniformly
> distributed.


One remark from my own ns2-experience: Even in simple dumbbell
scenarios, with only a few flows, it takes some time for a number of
flows to reach fairness.
To my understanding, this was due to the fact that often flows are
poorly interleaved and therefore "implicit congestion notification"
(ICN, AKA "droped packets" ;-)) did not reach all senders at the same
time and sometimes not all senders received the same number of ICN.

I´m not quite sure, how exactly this matches real networs, because I
always consider the possibility of simulation artefacts etc.

Thus, I set value on the theoratical basis here. Although I play around
with the ns2 a lot (and even my PTE stuff is implemented with the ns2)
and of
course _one_ ns2 simulation may yield a counterexample to disprove an
approach, I personaly would not rely too much on simulation results

For the traditional AIMD scheme, it´s quite easy to see that AIMD
sequences starting from different initial vaules will end up in the 
same sawtooth as long as alpha and beta are equally chosen for all
competing flows.

In case of different values for beta, even two competing  AIMD sequences
starting from a fair share at the starting point (e.g. both
from zero) would become unfair after the first congestion event and
never would reach fairness again. If I had a pencil and a piece of paper
here, I would 
make a little sketch on that matter and the situation would becaome
clear within three lines or so ;-) The periods between the congestion
events will become longer and longer, and the flow with the lesser beta
will disappear in the long run.

Consinder to starting value (0,0), beta 1 = 1/2, beta 2 = 1/3.
Congestion event: Sum of two values is 1. Alpha arbitrary but equaly
chosen for both flows.

Then the sequence is:
Start: (0,0)
Congestion at (1/2, 1/2)
after congestion handling: (1/4,1/6)
Congestion at (0.542, 0.459(
after congestion handling (0.271, 0.153)


I think, my objection is obvious: Different values for beta will never
reach a fair share.

Detlef Bosau
Galileistrasse 30
70565 Stuttgart
Mail: detlef.bosau at web.de
Web: http://www.detlef-bosau.de
Mobile: +49 172 681 9937

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