Performance Evaluation of UDP Traffic Affected by TCP Flows

Yoshiaki HORI
Yuji OIE

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E81-B    No.8    pp.1616-1623
Publication Date: 1998/08/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Issue on Multimedia Communications in Heterogeneous Network Environments)
Category: Transport Protocols
packet loss,  UDP,  TCP,  WAN,  real-time communication,  

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On wide area networks (WANs), UDP has likely been used for real-time applications, such as video and audio. UDP supplies minimized transmission delay by omitting the connection setup process, flow control, and retransmission. Meanwhile, more than 80 percent of the WAN resources are occupied by Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) traffic. As opposed to UDP's simplicity, TCP adopts a unique flow control mechanism with sliding windows. Hence, the quality of service (QoS) of real-time applications using UDP is affected by TCP traffic and its flow control mechanism whenever TCP and UDP share a bottleneck node. In this paper, the characteristics of UDP packet loss are investigated through simulations of WANs conveying UDP and TCP traffic simultaneously. In particular, the effects of TCP flow control on the packet loss of real-time audio are examined to discover how real-time audio should be transmitted with the minimum packet loss, while it is competing with TCP traffic for the bandwidth. The result obtained was that UDP packet loss occurs more often and successively when the congestion windows of TCP connections are synchronized. Especially in this case, the best performance of real-time audio applications can be obtained when they send-small sized packets without reducing their transmission rates.