Towards end-host-based identification of competing protocols against TCP in a bottleneck link

Idris A. Rai, Abdul Serwadda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Classical Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) designs have never considered the identity of the competing transport protocol as useful information to TCP sources in congestion control mechanisms. When competing against a TCP flow on a bottleneck link, a User Datagram Protocol (UDP) flow can unfairly occupy the entire link bandwidth and suffocate all TCP flows on the link. If it were possible for a TCP source to know the type of transport protocol that deprives it of link access, perhaps it would be better for the TCP source to react in a way which prevents total starvation. In this paper, we use coefficient of variation and power spectral density of throughput traces to identify the presence of UDP transport protocols that compete against TCP flows on bottleneck links. Our results show clear traits that differentiate the presence of competing UDP flows from TCP flows independent of round-trip times variations. Signatures that we identified include an increase in coefficient of variation whenever a competing UDP flow joins the bottleneck link for the first time, noisy spectral density representation of a TCP flow when competing against a UDP flow in the bottleneck link, and a dominant frequency with outstanding power in the presence of TCP competition only. In addition, the results show that signatures for congestion caused by competing UDP flows are different from signatures due to congestion caused by competing TCP flows regardless of their round-trip times. The results in this paper present the first steps towards development of more 'intelligent' congestion control algorithms with added capability of knowing the identity of aggressor protocols against TCP, and subsequently using this additional information for rate control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-77
Number of pages19
JournalAnnales des Telecommunications/Annals of Telecommunications
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Bandwidth hogging
  • Coefficient of variation
  • Power spectral density
  • Transmission Control Protocol
  • User Datagram Protocol


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