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TCP Trunking

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Abstract:

A TCP trunk is an IP tunnel under TCP control, capable of carrying packets from any number of user flows. By exploiting properties of TCP, a TCP trunk provides elastic and reliable transmission over a network, and automatically shares the network fairly with other competing trunks. Moreover, by aggregating user flows into a single trunk flow, TCP trunking can significantly reduce the number of flows that the network needs to manage, thereby allowing use of simplified management to achieve improved perfor mance. For example, when dealing with only a small number of TCP trunk flows, a router with a simple FIFO buffer can experience low packet loss rates. A TCP trunk is a "soft" circuit in the sense that it requires no flow states to be maintained inside the network. Setting up a TCP trunk involves only configuring the two end nodes. This is in contrast with traditional methods of configuring circuits via signaling of network nodes. A simple packet-dropping mechanism based on packet accounting at the transmitter of a TCP trunk assures that, when the trunk reduces its bandwidth in response to network congestion, user TCP flows carried by the trunk will reduce their bandwidths by the same proportion. Simu lation results have demonstrated that TCP trunks can provide improved network performance to users, while achieving high network utilization.

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