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Improving TCP/IP performance over wireless networks

By Hari Balakrishnan, Srinivasan Seshan, Elan Amir and Randy H. Katz


TCP is a reliable transport protocol tuned to perform well in traditional networks made up of links with low bit-error rates. Networks with higher bit-error rates, such as those with wireless links and mobile hosts, violate many of the assumptions made by TCP, causing degraded end-to-end performance. In this paper, we describe the design and implementation of a simple protocol, called the snoop protocol, that improves TCP performance in wireless networks. The protocol modifies network-layer software mainly at a base station and preserves end-to-end TCP semantics. The main idea of the protocol is to cache packets at the base station and perform local retransmissions across the wireless link. We have implemented the snoop protocol on a wireless testbed consisting of IBM ThinkPad laptops and i486 base stations communicating over an AT&T Wavelan. Our experiments show that it is significantly more robust at dealing with unreliable wireless links as compared to normal TCP; we have achieved throughput speedups of up to 20 times over regular TCP in our experiments with the protocol

Year: 1995
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