Peter Key and Laurent Massoulié
We discuss control strategies for communication networks such as the Internet.
We advocate the goal of welfare maximization as a paradigm for network resource
allocation. We explore the application of this paradigm to the case of parallel network
paths. We show that welfare maximization requires active balancing across
paths by data sources, and potentially requires implementation of novel transport
protocols. However, the only requirement from the underlying `network layer' is
to expose the marginal congestion cost of network paths to the `transport layer'.
We further illustrate the versatility of the corresponding layered architecture by
describing transport protocols with the following properties: they achieve welfare
maximization when each communication may use an arbitrary collection of paths,
available in an overlay, combined in series and parallel.We conclude by commenting
on incentives, pricing and open problems.
In Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A