16. TCP Congestion Control

16.1. Introduction

In this chapter we investigate how TCP approaches the issue of congestion control, which is most important in the context of bulk data transfers. Congestion control is a set of behaviors determined by algorithms that each TCP implements in an attempt to prevent the network from being overwhelmed by too large an aggregate offered traffic load. The basic approach is to have TCP slow down when it has reason to believe the network is about to be congested (or is already so congested that routers are discarding packets). The challenge is to determine exactly when and how TCP should slow down, and when it can speed up again.

TCP is a protocol designed to provide reliable delivery of data from one system ...

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