Lightweight Active Router-Queue Management for Multimedia Networking

A talk given by Mark Parris at the ACM/SPIE Multimedia Computing & Networking 1999 conference, San Jose, CA, January 1999

Abstract: The Internet research community is promoting active queue management in routers as a proactive means of addressing congestion in the Internet. Active queue management mechanisms such as Random Early Detection (RED) work well for TCP flows but can fail in the presence of unresponsive UDP flows. Recent proposals extend RED to strongly favor TCP and TCP-like flows and to actively penalize "misbehaving" flows. This is problematic for multimedia flows that, although potentially well-behaved, do not, or can not, satisfy the definition of a TCP-like flow. In this paper we investigate an extension to RED active queue management called Class-Based Thresholds (CBT). The goal of CBT is to reduce congestion in routers and to protect TCP from all UDP flows while also ensuring acceptable throughput and latency for well-behaved UDP flows. CBT attempts to realize a "better than best effort" service for well-behaved multimedia flows that is comparable to that achieved by a packet or link scheduling discipline, however, CBT does this by queue management rather than by scheduling. We present results of experiments comparing our mechanisms to plain RED and to FRED, a variant of RED designed to ensure fair allocation of bandwidth amongst flows. We also compare CBT to a packet scheduling scheme. The experiments show that CBT (1) realizes protection for TCP, and (2) provides throughput and end-to-end latency for tagged UDP flows, that is better than that under FRED and RED and comparable to that achieved by packet scheduling. Moreover CBT is a lighter-weight mechanism than FRED in terms of its state requirements and implementation complexity.

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