Receiver-Based ACK Splitting Mechanism for TCP over Wired/Wireless Heterogeneous Networks

Go HASEGAWA  Masashi NAKATA  Hirotaka NAKANO  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E90-B    No.5    pp.1132-1141
Publication Date: 2007/05/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1345
DOI: 10.1093/ietcom/e90-b.5.1132
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Network
TCP,  wired/wireless heterogeneous networks,  ACK splitting mechanism,  congestion control mechanism,  

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With the rapid development of wireless network technologies, heterogeneous networks with wired and wireless links are becoming common. However, the performance of TCP data transmission deteriorates significantly when a TCP connection traverses such networks, mainly because of packet losses caused by the high bit error rate of wireless links. Many solutions for this problem have been proposed in the past literature. However, most of them have various drawbacks, such as difficulties in their deployment by the wireless access network provider and end users, violation of TCP's end-to-end principle by splitting the TCP connection, or inapplicability to IP-level encrypted traffic because the base station needs to access the TCP header. In this paper, we propose a new mechanism without such drawbacks to improve the performance of TCP over wired and wireless heterogeneous networks. Our mechanism employs a receiver-based approach, which does not need modifications to be made to the sender TCP or the base station. It uses the ACK-splitting method for increasing the congestion window size quickly in order to restrain the throughput degradation caused by packet losses due to the high bit error rate of wireless links. We evaluate the performance of our mechanism and show that our mechanism can increase throughput by up to 94% in a UMTS network. The simulation results also show that our mechanism does not significantly deteriorate even when the receiver cannot perfectly distinguish whether packet losses are due to network congestion or bit errors on the wireless links.