Combined Multipath Routing and Congestion Control: a Robust Internet Architecture

Network management is complicated by uncertain traffic patterns and workloads. Flexible routing schemes mitigate some of the problems by making the exact location of capacity less important: if there is available capacity the routing scheme will find it. In this paper we propose a combined multipath routing and congestion control architecture that gives performance improvements to the end user and simplifies network dimensioning. We advocate multihoming and stepping stone routers to provide path diversity, and a congestion controller and path selection algorithm that automatically balances traffic across the lowest cost paths. A notable feature of a multipath congestion controller is that it cannot be tuned to a single RTT, hence it differs from standard TCP with respect to RTT bias. Scalability of the architecture results from implementing the algorithms at end-systems. We illustrate on network topologies of interest the performance impact of our architecture: active use of two paths can (i) halve response times and (ii) double the load that a network can carry.

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TypeTechReport
NumberMSR-TR-2005-111
Pages6
InstitutionMicrosoft Research
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