Utility function of TCP

Lei Ye, Zhijun Wang, Hao Che, Henry B.C. Chan, Constantino M. Lagoa

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Scopus citations


    Understanding the TCP congestion control mechanism from a global optimization point of view is not only important in its own right, but also crucial to the design of other transport layer traffic control protocols with provable properties. In this paper, we derive a global utility function and the corresponding optimal control law, known as TCP control law, which maximizes the global utility. The TCP control law captures the essential behaviors of TCP, including slow start, congestion avoidance, and the binary nature of congestion feedback in TCP. We find that the utility function of TCP is linear in the slow start phase and is proportional to the additive increase rate and approaches the well-known logarithm function as the data rate becomes large in the congestion avoidance phase. We also find that understanding the slow start phase with a fixed threshold is critical to the design of new transport layer control protocols to enable quality of service features. Finally, as an application, we design a Minimum Rate Guaranteed (MRG) traffic control law that shares the same utility function as the TCP control law. Our simulation study of the MRG control law indicates that it is indeed TCP friendly and can provide minimum rate guarantee as long as the percentage of network resource consumed by the MRG flows is moderately small.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)800-805
    Number of pages6
    JournalComputer Communications
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - Mar 27 2009

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Computer Networks and Communications


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