Towards More Complete Models of TCP Latency and Throughput

Recently, several researchers have developed equations for modeling TCP behaviors, such as the expected throughput or latency, based on Markov chains derived from TCP with additional simplifying assumptions. In this paper, we suggest new directions for Markov chain analyses of TCP. Our first contribution is to closely examine not just the expectation but the entire cumulative distribution function of transfer times under various models. Particularly for short or medium transfers, the distribution is likely to be more useful than the expectation in terms of measuring end-user satisfaction. We find that the shapes of TCP cumulative distribution functions are remarkably robust to small changes in the model. Our results suggest that simplifying Markov analyses can be extended to yield approximations for the entire distribution as well as for the expectation.

Our second contribution is to consider correction procedures to enhance these models. A correction procedure is a rule of thumb that allows equations from one model to be used in other situations. As an example, several analyses use a Drop-Tail loss model. We determine correction procedures for the deviation between this model and other natural loss models based on simulations. The existence of a simple correction procedure in this instance suggests that the high-level behavior of TCP is robust against changes in the loss model.

To appear in the Journal of Superocomputing.