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Service Differentiation for Delay-Sensitive Applications: An Optimization-Based Approach

Peter Key, L. Massoulie, and Jonathan Shapiro


This paper deals with the performance of delay-sensitive applications running over a network that offers multiple classes of service. We first discuss the gain in utilisation allowed by the introduction of several classes of service. To this end we compare the pairs of achievable rates, or schedulable regions , for two types of applications with two distinct delay requirements that make use of a single resource, with either no differentiation, simple priority-based differentiation, or earliest-deadline-first scheduling-based differentiation. The main observations are that the gain achieved by differentiation is essentially affected by traffic burstiness, and that the two differentiation schemes yield very similar performance. We then discuss what feedback information should be sent to traffic sources from different classes, casting the problem in the framework of optimisation-based congestion control. We establish a connection between the sample-path shadow price rationale for feedback synthesis and the rare perturbation analysis technique for gradient estimation in discrete event systems theory. Based on this connection, we propose several marking schemes, for simple priority-based differentiation with a measure of cost based on loss of delay, and also for earliest-deadline-first-based differentiation with loss-based cost. The interaction of these marking algorithms with simple congestion control algorithms is studied via simulations.


Publication typeTechReport
InstitutionMicrosoft Research
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