path: root/Documentation/networking
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authorAndreas Petlund <apetlund@simula.no>2010-02-18 02:45:45 (GMT)
committerDavid S. Miller <davem@davemloft.net>2010-02-18 23:43:07 (GMT)
commit5aa4b32fc86408705337e941ed716880c63d1590 (patch)
tree7385d30e16f2c7203a74a3723728b7e8c6ecfa7b /Documentation/networking
parent16cad981863344ef779ab703545bb6f261a0f0ce (diff)
net: TCP thin-stream detection
Inline function to dynamically detect thin streams based on the number of packets in flight. Used to dynamically trigger thin-stream mechanisms if enabled by ioctl or sysctl. Signed-off-by: Andreas Petlund <apetlund@simula.no> Signed-off-by: David S. Miller <davem@davemloft.net>
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+Thin-streams and TCP
+A wide range of Internet-based services that use reliable transport
+protocols display what we call thin-stream properties. This means
+that the application sends data with such a low rate that the
+retransmission mechanisms of the transport protocol are not fully
+effective. In time-dependent scenarios (like online games, control
+systems, stock trading etc.) where the user experience depends
+on the data delivery latency, packet loss can be devastating for
+the service quality. Extreme latencies are caused by TCP's
+dependency on the arrival of new data from the application to trigger
+retransmissions effectively through fast retransmit instead of
+waiting for long timeouts.
+After analysing a large number of time-dependent interactive
+applications, we have seen that they often produce thin streams
+and also stay with this traffic pattern throughout its entire
+lifespan. The combination of time-dependency and the fact that the
+streams provoke high latencies when using TCP is unfortunate.
+In order to reduce application-layer latency when packets are lost,
+a set of mechanisms has been made, which address these latency issues
+for thin streams. In short, if the kernel detects a thin stream,
+the retransmission mechanisms are modified in the following manner:
+1) If the stream is thin, fast retransmit on the first dupACK.
+2) If the stream is thin, do not apply exponential backoff.
+These enhancements are applied only if the stream is detected as
+thin. This is accomplished by defining a threshold for the number
+of packets in flight. If there are less than 4 packets in flight,
+fast retransmissions can not be triggered, and the stream is prone
+to experience high retransmission latencies.
+Since these mechanisms are targeted at time-dependent applications,
+they must be specifically activated by the application using the
+tcp_thin_linear_timeouts and tcp_thin_dupack sysctls. Both
+modifications are turned off by default.
+More information on the modifications, as well as a wide range of
+experimental data can be found here:
+"Improving latency for interactive, thin-stream applications over
+reliable transport"

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