A User-level, Reliable and Reconfigurable Transport Layer Protocol
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Over the past 15 years, the Internet has proven itself to be one of the most influential inventions that humankind has ever conceived. The success of the Internet can be largely attributed to its stability and ease of access. Among the various pieces of technologies that constitute the Internet, TCP/IP can be regarded as the cornerstone to the Internet’s impressive scalability and stability. Many researchers have been and are currently actively engaged in the studies on the optimization of TCP’s performance in various network environments. This thesis presents an alternative transport layer protocol called RRTP, which is designed to provide reliable transport layer services to software applications. The motivation for this work comes from the fact that the most commonly used versions of TCP perform unsatisfactorily when they are deployed over non-conventional network platforms such as cellular/wireless, satellite, and long fat pipe networks. These non-conventional networks usually have higher network latency and link failure rate as compared with the conventional wired networks and the classic versions of TCP are unable to adapt to these characteristics. This thesis attempts to address this problem by introducing a user-level, reliable, and reconfigurable transport layer protocol that runs on top of UDP and appropriately tends to the characteristics of non-conventional networks that TCP by default ignores. A novel aspect of RRTP lies in identifying three key characteristic parameters of a network to optimize its performance. The single most important contribution of this work is its empirical demonstration of the fact that parameter-based, user-configurable, flow-control and congestion-control algorithms are highly effective at adapting to and fully utilizing various networks. This fact is demonstrated through experiments designed to benchmark the performance of RRTP against that of TCP on simulated as well as real-life networks. The experimental results indicate that the performance of RRTP consistently match and exceed TCP’s performance on all major network platforms. This leads to the conclusion that a user-level, reliable, and reconfigurable transport-layer protocol, which possesses the essential characteristics of RRTP, would serve as a viable replacement for TCP over today’s heterogeneous network platforms.