BBR is a new congestion control algorithm (CCA) deployed for Chromium QUIC and the Linux kernel. As the default CCA for YouTube (which commands 11+% of Internet traffic), BBR has rapidly become a major player in Internet congestion control. BBR’s fairness or friendliness to other connections has recently come under scrutiny as measurements from multiple research groups have shown undesirable outcomes when BBR competes with traditional CCAs. One such outcome is a fixed, 40% proportion of link capacity consumed by a single BBR flow when competing with as many as 16 loss-based algorithms like Cubic or Reno. In this short paper, we provide the first model capturing BBR’s behavior in competition with loss-based CCAs. Our model is coupled with practical experiments to validate its implications. The key lesson is this: under competition, BBR becomes window-limited by its ‘in-flight cap’ which then determines BBR’s bandwidth consumption. By modeling the value of BBR’s in-flight cap under varying network conditions, we can predict BBR’s throughput when competing against Cubic flows with a median error of 5%, and against Reno with a median of 8%.
Revisiting TCP congestion control throughput models & fairness properties at scale
Much of our understanding of congestion control algorithm (CCA) throughput and fairness is derived from models and measurements that (implicitly) assume congestion occurs in the last mile. That is, these studies evaluated CCAs in “small scale” edge settings at the scale of tens of flows and up to a few hundred Mbps bandwidths. However, recent measurements show that congestion can also occur at the core of the Internet on inter-provider links, where thousands of flows share high bandwidth links. Hence, a natural question is: Does our understanding of CCA throughput and fairness continue to hold at the scale found in the core of the Internet, with 1000s of flows and Gbps bandwidths? Our preliminary experimental study finds that some expectations derived in the edge setting do not hold at scale. For example, using loss rate as a parameter to the Mathis model to estimate TCP NewReno throughput works well in edge settings, but does not provide accurate throughput estimates when thousands of flows compete at high bandwidths. In addition, BBR – which achieves good fairness at the edge when competing solely with other BBR flows – can become very unfair to other BBR flows at the scale of the core of more »
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Google published the first release of the Bottleneck Bandwidth and Round-trip Time (BBR) congestion control algorithm in 2016. Since then, BBR has gained a widespread attention due to its ability to operate efficiently in the presence of packet loss and in scenarios where routers are equipped with small buffers. These characteristics were not attainable with traditional loss-based congestion control algorithms such as CUBIC and Reno. BBRv2 is a recent congestion control algorithm proposed as an improvement to its predecessor, BBRv1. Preliminary work suggests that BBRv2 maintains the high throughput and the bounded queueing delay properties of BBRv1. However, the literature has been missing an evaluation of BBRv2 under different network conditions. This paper presents an experimental evaluation of BBRv2 Alpha (v2alpha-2019-07-28) on Mininet, considering alternative active queue management (AQM) algorithms, routers with different buffer sizes, variable packet loss rates and round-trip times (RTTs), and small and large numbers of TCP flows. Emulation results show that BBRv2 tolerates much higher random packet loss rates than loss-based algorithms but slightly lower than BBRv1. The results also confirm that BBRv2 has better coexistence with loss-based algorithms and lower retransmission rates than BBRv1, and that it produces low queuing delay even with large buffers.more »
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