Vimalkumar Jeyakumar, Nikhil Handigol, Brandon Heller


Buffers in Internet routers that see large numbers of flows can be significantly reduced, without sacrificing throughput – in fact, by a √N factor, where N is the number of flows.

All Internet routers contain buffers to hold packets during times of congestion. The size of the buffers is dictated by the dynamics of TCP’s congestion control algorithm. The goal is to make sure that when a link is congested, it is busy 100% of the time, which is equivalent to making sure the buffer never goes empty.  The common assumption was that each link needs a buffer of size RTT x C,  where RTT is the average round-trip time of a flow passing across the link, and C is the data-rate of the bottleneck link, to ensure full throughput for TCP.

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