TCP and Explicit Congestion Notification

TitleTCP and Explicit Congestion Notification
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsFloyd, S.
Published inACM Computer Communication Review
Other Numbers1624

This paper discusses the use of Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) mechanisms in the TCP/IP protocol. The first part proposes new guidelines for TCP's response to ECN mechanisms (e.g., Source Quench packets, ECN fields in packet headers). Next, using simulations, we explore the benefits and drawbacks of ECN in TCP/IP networks. Our simulations use RED gateways modified to set an ECN bit in the IP packet header as an indication of congestion, with Reno-style TCP modified to respond to ECN as well as to packet drops as indications of congestion. The simulations show that one advantage of ECN mechanisms is in avoiding unnecessary packet drops, and therefore avoiding unnecessary delay for packets from low-bandwidth delay-sensitive TCP connections. A second advantage of ECN mechanisms is in networks (generally LANs) where the effectiveness of TCP retransmit timers is limited by the coarse granularity of the TCP clock. The paper also discusses some implementation issues concerning specific ECN mechanisms in TCP/IP networks.

Bibliographic Notes

ACM Computer Communication Review, Vol. 24, No. 5, pp. 10-23

Abbreviated Authors

S. Floyd

ICSI Research Group

Networking and Security

ICSI Publication Type

Article in journal or magazine