[e2e] Ressource Fairness or Througput Fairness, was Re: Opportunistic Scheduling.

Detlef Bosau detlef.bosau at web.de
Tue Jul 24 17:41:08 PDT 2007

Dave Eckhardt wrote:
>> One difficulty was, and during the last years I learned that this is
>> perhaps the most basic reason why adaptation of multimedia documents in
>> mobile networks is condemned to fail before it's even started, that
>> there is no serious possibility to have a long-term or even medium-term
>> prediction of a wireless channel's properties.
> As far as I can tell, this is indeed fiendishly difficult. 

With particular respect to my own experience in 2000 to 2002: Is it 
_difficult_? Or is it _hopeless_?
One professor told me: "Why don´t you do channel identification? That´s 
a nice challenge!"
>  A couple of
> times people asked for my bit-level traces in order to fit some sort of
> model to them, but nobody who did so was ever heard from again... this

I know about Rayleigh channel models. And to my understanding, these 
models are simply necessary e.g. to make UMTS work.

However, this is a typical misconception between CS and EE. Rayleigh 
channel models do not attempt to do any kind of prediction or forecast. 
They attempt to identify the actual channel state. First of all: The 
temporal perspective is "the next timeslot", i.e. about 10 ms in UMTS 
and about 2 ms in HSDPA. Second: An estimation of the next timeslot may 
fail. So, we have a problem for one timeslot. No longer. What I needed / 
was expected to do / however we can call it is to do prediction for a 
much longer period of time. E.g. 10 or 20 seconds. And I really think, 
this is hopeless.

> is one reason why my scheduling approach was essentially reactive rather
> than predictive, and works without needing to measure error rates.  It

I think, we cannot be "predictive". We can, seriously spoken, only be 

> would be easy enough to plug in an oracle if one were available, of course.


That´s another reason why I see a difference between data and media. An 
often used buzz word is "adaptivity". And when we talk about 
"adaptivity" in mobile networks, anybody tries to "adapt" applications 
etc. In 2000, I was pointed to approaches like Odyssee (Brian Noble) or 
the SMIL standard.

What I think now, is that we perhaps should better talk about 
robustness, when we talk about media. (The discussion adaptivity vs. 
robustness is a stoneaged one, e.g. in electrical engineering and 
systems theory.) Of course, we can - and do actually - talk about 
adapation for data flows. Actually, HSDPA does coding scheme adaptation 
on layer 2 each time slot. However, the user´s perception of data flows 
and media flows and the user´s requirements are different.

And of course, there is such a weird think as "QoS mapping" that 
attempts to find a correlation or relationship or whatever between 
(baiscally _informal_ and _non_ technical) requirements based upon 
user´s perception and (basically _formal_ and _technical_) 
specifications in networking.

Which bit error rate corresponds to "pleasant to look at"? Or which 
transport delay jitter corresponds to "acceptable for a phone talk"? And 
wich average bit rate corresponds to "pleasant to listen at"? And how 
would Beethoven have answered this question  in his youth? And how in is 
later life when he was deaf?

>> But when I read your paper, I saw two TCP flows and one Audio flow and
>> one Video flow.  And then I saw something on throughput, which is necessarily
>> comparing peaches and oranges in that case, because no one is interested in
>> TCP throughput.  One is typically interested in TCP _goodput_.  And that has
>> to take into account of couse TCP retransmissions and can be "slightly"
>> differ from any kind of L2 throughput in faulty networks.
> I have never been a fan of the word "goodput".  One layer's "goodput" is

But isn´t the goodput, particularly of a TCP flow, what a user perceives?
> just the "throughput" of the next layer up, after all--if the higher layer
> is thrashing, your "goodput" isn't any good, and you have no way of knowing
> that.  Since there are pre-existing words for "effort" and "outcome",  it
> makes sense to me to use them.

Provoking question: How much layers do we need? IIRC in the Internet, we 
typically think of four layers.
Subnet, Network, Transport, Application. The OSI 7 layers often are too 
complex. When I look at mobile networks, GPRS, UMTS and the like, we 
again gather layers.

I spent much of my time during the last years in discussions and in 
thinking about the layers in these networks and I always have the 
question in mind: "Do we inevitably need this layer?" Does an additional 
layer make a system more clear and simple? Or does it only add 
complexity? A terrible examples are the numerous "convergence layers" in 
mobile networks were perhaps old and grey haired engineers attempt to 
salvage the fruits of their use.
"80 years ago, when George V. was still king of the United Kingdom, we 
used something like X.25 and therefore we must have a convergence layer 
wich abstracts the link layer to a generic link layer and then a 
convergence layer which encapsulates IP and X.25 in a generic 
convergence layer which is then placed between X.25 and IP and the 
abstract convergence layer" etc. etc. etc.

Whenever I see these terrible architecture diagrams which gather tons of 
layers and protocols, my hair turns as grey as with these old engineers :-)

And each layer redefines its one meaning of effort and outcome. And with 
each layer you have another "QoS mapping".

In the end, the lowest layer has no idea what the user basically 
intended to achieve.

Perhaps a part of my problems eight years ago is that I never was a 
multimedia guy. But when I think of the whole bunch of paper I read 
about layers and QoS mapping in multimedia systems, I´m much less a 
multimedia guy today than I was eight years ago.

I was confronted with strange "QoS profiles" and the like, and when you 
attempt to make adaptation decisions as e.g. in SMIL, you deal exactly 
with those values - and I found it extremely difficult to maintain the 
relationship between these technical parameters and the most important 
question in networking at all: What does the user want to do?
What are the user´s needs? What does the user perceive? What is 
acceptable for the user? And what, particularly in adaptation, is simply 
annoying? And I never was convinced of bothering an innocent user with 
slide bars and parameter tuning knobs and profiles etc. he never will 
deal with. This is perhaps I worked lots of years at user´s help desks 
and in direct contact with users, and so I know from my own experience 
that users are simply completely overstraind by these knobs and slide 
bars and bells and whistles and don´t know how to handle them - and so 
we have basically two classes of users. The one class of users simply 
ignores this stuff and the other class of users plays around with this 
stuff and does more harm than good.

> What we were trying to accomplish was conceptualizing the scheduling of
> high-error wireless links in terms of effort-fair vs. outcome-fair,
> arguing that a hybrid is frequently desirable, and demonstrating a basic
> implementation.
> It's fine with me if you wish to argue that for data outcome should be
> measured as "100%-correct packet bytes with latency below 250 ms" but
> that for voice outcome should be measured in terms of "85%-correct
> packet bytes with latency below 50 ms".  And I wouldn't object if you

 From my COMCAR experience, I first miss the possibility to model / 
define / implement "85 % correct", see the discussion with Noel.

The second concern is that we still have to map this unto a user´s 
perspective. For data it´s easy: If you check your bank account via home 
banking, you obviously don´t want to be cheated by faulty data. And if 
you edit a document which is stored on a file server, you don´t want to 
corrupt it more and more each time you read and write it.

O.k., at a second glance it´s not as easy as it seems: If you download 
some new installation CD for your linux installation, you perhaps want 
this download to complete within your remaining lifetime :-)

But what is acceptable to the user when it comes to media / multimedia 
systems / multimedia documents?

> wanted to argue that effort should be measured in watt-hz-seconds or
> some other measure of how much spectrum resource is expended.
> But I believe that in a high-error environment it *does* make sense to
> integrate scheduling of disparate flow types according to a tradeoff
> between effort and outcome (and we were arguing for a particular model
> very different from utility curves).
> Note that a couple messages back my motivating example for cell phones
> was that an operator may be able to very slightly degrade the voice quality
> of some customers in order to "unfairly" boost the experience of another
> customer in a "dead spot", and that this might keep the customer talking

This is the well known idea of "graceful degradation".
Up to that time it sounds fine.
In the next step, you define degradation paths.
And from that point on it becomes fiendish.

There are many technical concepts how we can do this.

Is any of them accepted by the users?

> instead of hanging up.  No part of that example depends on TCP, "goodput",
> persistent ARQ, etc.  The key issue is the notion of fairness.
> I don't think we know "the story" on running voice over data-centric networks
> versus running data over voice-centric networks or whether there is a neutral
> ground.  Last time I looked Real Audio was mostly running over TCP, not UDP...


But what´s the reason? One reason is that nobody uses Real Audio 
conversational. So, the final reason is: Data for Real Audio is 
downloaded to the user´s site and than played back - from disk or memory.

So, we have data transport. No media streaming.

O.k., sometimes the user is cheated with large buffers and preload and 
pseudo-lifestreams. And depending on the network quality the stuff 
frequently hangs - until it´s eventually hung up by the user.

(I don´t know whether you are blessed by bushisms via podcast in the 
U.S., here in Germany the real patriot listens to the podcast speeches 
of Sancta Angela. But this is no contradition to my remark that the 
podcast is finaly hung up by an enervated listener.)
> let alone anything involving link-level options to deliver partially-mangled
> packets.  And initially GSM was kind of dubious for data because of the
> voice-centric deep interleaving, right? 

Admittedly, I don´t know whether GSM was really that bad for data.

I read tons of scientific papers about this and how disastrous it was. 
Now, as I mentioned before, I worked as a user help desk guy for many 
years in my life. And there were many users who didn´t know that GSM 
would not work with data - so they used it and were fine. That´s similar 
to the old story with the humble bee. Each engineering student is told 
that the humble bee could not fly. Only the the the humble bee does not 
know - and so she is happily flying.

I know that there are tons of papers and even PhD theses which claim the 
huge difficulties of GSM and data.
Now, GSM provided a data rate comparable to old telephone modems and the 
users worked with that succesfully and without difficulties. In fact, I 
did user support not only but amongst others for users who accessed 
their "Intranet"-data via GSM or checked their mail via GSM from about 
1995 on and did so for years and all the guys I talked about the papers 
I read from 2000 on which mentioned the huge difficulties with GSM and 
data looked at me as if I were fallen to earth from another planet.

That´s basically one reason, why I´m looking for any difficulties with 
data and wireless networking for nearly eight years now - and as you 
correctly guess from the sentences above, I´m absolutely no way 
convinced of many parts of the scientific literature I read so far. I 
think a huge number of so called scientifc papers and even PhD theses 
about this topics are simply and drastically spoken urban legends. And I 
think, and I´m somewhat bitter because of this, that we should be highly 
self critical about our claims and that we must not write tons of papers 
about spurious timeouts and loss differentiation problems etc. just in 
order to achieve "scientific honour" or a PhD or something like that - 
and the public ridicules about our work and some years later we have 
papers like the Hasenleitner paper which simply debunked the spurious 
timeout legend as pure nonsense. (And by the way: A look in Edge´s 
original work would have even done that. It´s undergraduate level that 
there is hardly anything as robust as Chebyshev´s inequality when it 
comes to confidence intervals and the like. So I wonder, why this topic 
was discussed at all.)

O.k. That was disgressive.

>  I think there are plenty of open
> questions.

> But I haven't yet seen anything to convince me that the concepts of effort-fair
> and outcome-fair don't make sense or that either one is better than a tunable
> hybrid.

O.k. For me, it would be nice to restrict the discussion a bit. What I 
have in mind when I talk about this problem is in fact the multi user 
diversity debate. There are lots of papers on this issue as well and 
there was some hype about this topic during the last ten, twelve years. 
And there is still some hype in writing sophisticated schedulers which 
exploit multi user diversity and adaptive channel coding and the like.

Perhaps, I´m about to see another failure of my own work and perhaps I´m 
going to be severely disappointed here as well.

Basically, there are two concerns.

First. We claim we would exploit multi user diversity and by doing so 
increase spectral efficency etc. etc.
Do we really? Or do we hope so?

Second. What I have seen so far in the lower layers of actual mobile 
wireless networks is highly complex and sophisticated. And I´m still to 
understand most of the details. However, I wonder how terms like "rate" 
are interpreted differently by CS and EE guys and I wonder why flow 
control issues, which are typical end to end issues, are dealt with 
locally and why there are much techniques integrated into the lower 
layers, the ramifictions of which on the end to end behaviour of the 
system are not yet clear.

Therefore the question whether we should pursue ressource fairness or 
throughput fairness is primarily which kind of fairness, if it is 
pursued on a wireless link, fits best into the current end to end 
Internet design?
And what is the real purpose of that "fairness"? To my knowledge, the 
original idea introduced by Knopp and Humblet and further discussed by 
Tse et al. simply wants to exploit multi user diversity and for this 
purpose some systems introduce sophisticated schedulers into the 
downlink channel.
- Do these systems really achieve what they want to do?
- Do these systems have ramifications on upper layers?
- Do these systems maintain the intended end to end behaviour of 
protocols / applications etc.?

Or is the multi user diversity debate as it is conducted at the moment 
just another hype?

That´s my original intention.



> Dave Eckhardt

Detlef Bosau                          Mail:  detlef.bosau at web.de
Galileistrasse 30                     Web:   http://www.detlef-bosau.de
70565 Stuttgart                       Skype: detlef.bosau
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