Transport Area Working Group                                  B. Briscoe
Internet-Draft                                                  BT & UCL
Intended status: Informational                             July 06, 2007
Expires: January 7, 2008

               Flow Rate Fairness: Dismantling a Religion

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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The IETF Trust (2007).


   Resource allocation and accountability have been major unresolved
   problems with the Internet ever since its inception.  The reason we
   never resolve these issues is a broken idea of what the problem is.
   The applied research and standards communities are using completely
   unrealistic and impractical fairness criteria.  The resulting
   mechanisms don't even allocate the right thing and they don't
   allocate it between the right entities.  We explain as bluntly as we
   can that thinking about fairness mechanisms like TCP in terms of

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   sharing out flow rates has no intellectual heritage from any concept
   of fairness in philosophy or social science, or indeed real life.
   Comparing flow rates should never again be used for claims of
   fairness in production networks.  Instead, we should judge fairness
   mechanisms on how they share out the `cost' of each user's actions on

Summary of Changes (to be removed by the RFC Editor on Publication)

   Full diffs created using the rfcdiff tool are available at

   From -01 to -02 (the present version):

      Introduction: Added motivation for more optimal fairness so ISPs
      don't try to make allocations more optimal manually using DPI etc.
      Clarified minimal impact on 'legacy' protocols using flow rate
      fairness as a goal, even if it is no longer a goal for future

      Section 3.1: clarified that cost fairness and re-ECN are not
      equivalent in any sense.

      Considerably clarified Section 4 "Cost, not Benefit", explaining
      better why the product of congestion and rate represents the cost
      to other users and why being able to reduce prices towards cost is
      desirable for users.  Emphasised that cost fairness does not
      require congestion pricing and we do not recommend it.  Also
      emphasised that ISPs don't have to use the congestion metric to
      enforce cost fairness, even if it is available.  Clarified that
      fairness is relevant within more Diffserv behaviour aggregates
      than just best effort.  Clarified that congestion includes
      congestion of lower layer resources including radio resources etc.
      Recommended Siris's algorithm rather than MulTCP.

      Section 5.2 "Comparing Costs": expanded on the marginal cost
      example.  Re-emphasised that putting a limit on congestion in a
      service level agreement is not congestion pricing.

      Section 7 "Seminal Literature": added Jain's index of fairness.

      Added reference to the new TFRC-SP RFC in Section 8.3 on TFRC and
      in Section 9 on "Implications for the RFC Series".

      Section 8.5 on "Packet Size and Fairness": Summarised advice in
      referenced I-D.

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      Updated references and numerous other minor edits and

   From -00 to -01:

      Toned down the polemic.

      Added Section 8 "Critiques of Specific Schemes", adding
      subsections on TCP and WFQ to previously disparate material on
      max-min fairness, TFRC & router-based fairness approaches like
      XCP, which have been shortened and clarified.  Also added
      subsections on TCP-style fairness wrt.  RTT and packet size that
      has been copied by other transports.

      Added substantial new Section 9 "Implications for the RFC Series".
      Added to the introduction the importance of the issue and the
      general implications.

      Created an expanded and clarified new subsection Section 5.2
      "Comparing Costs" from text previously at the end of Section 5.1
      "Something to Integrate the Allocations"

      Added quote on flow granularity from RFC2309 & RFC2914.

      Clarified and expanded Section 5.3.2 "Enforcing Cost Fairness".

      Various clarifications throughout.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
   2.  Requirements notation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
   3.  Fair Allocation of What Among What?  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
     3.1.  Structure of Document  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
   4.  Cost, not Benefit  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
   5.  Economic Entities not Flows  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
     5.1.  Something to Integrate the Allocations . . . . . . . . . . 14
     5.2.  Comparing Costs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
     5.3.  Enforcement of Fairness  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
       5.3.1.  Cheating with Whitewashed or Split Flow Identities . . 18
       5.3.2.  Enforcing Cost Fairness  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
   6.  Fairness between Fairnesses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
   7.  The Seminal Literature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
   8.  Critiques of Specific Schemes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
     8.1.  Max-min flow rate fairness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
     8.2.  TCP  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
     8.3.  TFRC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
     8.4.  RTT and Fairness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
     8.5.  Packet Size and Fairness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
     8.6.  XCP and router-based fairness schemes  . . . . . . . . . . 30
     8.7.  WFQ  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
   9.  Implications for the RFC Series  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
   10. IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
   11. Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
   12. Conclusions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
   13. Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
   14. Comments Solicited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
   15. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
     15.1. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
     15.2. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
   Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
   Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements . . . . . . . . . . 44

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1.  Introduction

      "But he has nothing on at all."

         _The Emperor's New Clothes, Hans Christian Andersen_

   This document is deliberately destructive.  It sets out to destroy an
   ideology that is blocking progress--the idea that fairness between
   multiplexed packet traffic can be achieved by controlling relative
   flow rates alone.  Flow rate fairness was the goal behind fair
   resource allocation in widely deployed protocols like weighted fair
   queuing  [WFQ], TCP congestion control [RFC2581] and TCP-friendly
   rate control [RFC3448].  But it is actually just unsubstantiated
   dogma to say that equal flow rates are fair.  This is why resource
   allocation and accountability keep reappearing on every list of
   requirements for the Internet architecture (e.g. [NewArchReq]), but
   never get solved.  Obscured by this broken idea, we wouldn't know a
   good solution from a bad one.

   Controlling relative flow rates _alone_ is a completely impractical
   way of going about the problem.  To be realistic for large-scale
   Internet deployment, relative flow rates should be the _outcome_ of
   another fairness mechanism, not the mechanism itself.  That other
   mechanism should share out the `cost' of one user's actions on
   others--how much each user's transfers restrict other transfers,
   given capacity constraints.  Then flow rates will depend on a deeper
   level of fairness that has so far remained unnamed in the literature,
   but is best termed `cost fairness'.

   It really is only the idea of flow rate fairness that needs
   destroying--nearly everything we've engineered can remain.  The
   Internet architecture needs some minor additions, but otherwise it is
   largely already suited to cost fairness.

   The metric required to arbitrate cost fairness is simply volume of
   congestion, that is congestion times the bit rate of each user
   causing it, taken over time.  In engineering terms, for each user it
   can be measured very easily as the amount of data the user sent that
   was dropped.  Or with explicit congestion notification
   (ECN [RFC3168]) the amount of each user's data to have been
   congestion marked.  Importantly, unlike flow rates, this metric
   integrates easily and correctly across different flows on different
   paths and across time, so it can be easily incorporated into future
   service level agreements of ISPs.

   What we call cost fairness has been in the literature for nearly a

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   decade, but it hasn't been put so bluntly before.  We were moved to
   spell it out unambiguously (and avoiding maths), because this isn't
   just some dry academic fairness debate that might change allocation
   percentages somewhere in the third decimal place.  The outcomes due
   to flow rate fairness that we see on the Internet today are
   hopelessly unlike the outcomes that would result from cost fairness.

   Not that the outcomes we see are the deliberate intent of flow rate
   fairness.  They are the random result of an absence of fairness
   control, because flow rate fairness isn't even capable of reasoning
   about questions like, "How many flows is it fair to start between two
   endpoints? or over different routes?" or, "What rate is fair for a
   flow that has been running longer than another?".

   Resource allocation and accountability are two issues that reappear
   on every list of requirements for a new Internet
   architecture [NewArchReq].  We could have started filling this
   architectural vacuum a decade ago, but architecture not only requires
   foundational ideas, it also requires consensus.  In 1997, the basis
   of the dominant consensus was completely undermined, but its
   believers didn't even notice.

   While everyone prevaricates, novel p2p applications have started to
   thoroughly exploit this architectural vacuum with no guilt or shame,
   by just running more flows for longer.  Application developers
   assume, and they have been led to assume, that fairness is dealt with
   by TCP at the transport layer.  In response some ISPs are deploying
   kludges like volume caps or throttling specific applications using
   deep packet inspection.  Innocent experimental probing has turned
   into an arms race.  The p2p community's early concern for the good of
   the Internet is being set aside, aided and abetted by commercial
   concerns, in pursuit of a more pressing battle against the ISPs that
   are fighting back.  Bystanders sharing the same capacity are
   suffering heavy collateral damage.

   This trend has spread beyond the p2p community.  There is now no
   shame in opening multiple TCP connections, or offering VoIP or video
   streaming software without any congestion control.

   Whether the prevailing notion of flow rate fairness has been the root
   cause or not, there will certainly be no solution until the
   networking community gets its head out of the sand and understands
   how unrealistic its view is; and how important this issue is--a
   conflict between the vested interests of real businesses and real

   Certainly fairness is not a question of technical function--any
   allocation `works'.  But allowing self-interest to go largely

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   unchecked leads to an outcome hopelessly skewed away from one that
   would better satisfy more people more of the time.  ISPs intuitively
   know that their capacity isn't being shared in the best interests of
   the majority of their customers.  This is why technologies like deep
   packet inspection middleboxes have been developed--ISPs know that
   throttling certain applications puts them at a considerable
   competitive advantage over ISPs that don't.  These middleboxes are
   blocking the potential of the Internet to evolve future applications,
   but instead of wringing our hands over this issue, we should provide
   a protocol architecture that does a much better job of automatically
   sharing out Internet capacity.  Then ISPs won't need these kludges to
   protect the experience of their customers.

   But isn't it a basic article of faith that multiple views of fairness
   should be able to co-exist, the choice depending on policy?
   Absolutely correct--and we shall return to how this can be done
   later.  But that doesn't mean we have to give the time of day to any
   random idea of fairness.

   Fair allocation of rates between flows was used in good faith as a
   guiding principle, but it isn't based on any respected definition of
   fairness from philosophy or the social sciences.  It has just
   gradually become the way things are done in networking.  But it's
   actually self-referential dogma.  Or put more bluntly, bonkers.

   We expect to be fair to people, groups of people, institutions,
   companies--things the security community would call `principals'.
   But a flow is merely an information transfer between two
   applications.  Where does the argument come from that information
   transfers should have equal rights with each other?  It's equivalent
   to claiming food rations are fair because the boxes are all the same
   size, irrespective of how many boxes each person gets or how often
   they get them.

   Because flows don't deserve rights in real life, it is not surprising
   that two loopholes the size of barn doors appear when trying to
   allocate rate fairly to flows in a non-cooperative environment.  If
   at every instant a resource is shared among the flows competing for a
   share, any real-world entity can gain by i) creating more flows than
   anyone else, and ii) keeping them going longer than anyone else.

   We appeal to the networking community to quietly set aside rate
   fairness between flows.  It had its time, but now it has been shown
   to be unfounded, unrealistic and impractical.  Future papers and
   standards proposals claiming fairness on the basis of flow rates
   should be rejected.  This does not mean we need to phase out 'legacy'
   protocols that aimed for flow rate fairness--they will continue to
   function adequately (Section 9); they simply might not make best use

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   of future service level agreements offered by ISPs.  But no-one
   should ever set flow rate fairness as a goal in future Internet
   protocols--it places arbitrary requirements on the system that can't
   be met and wouldn't achieve any meaningful sort of fairness even if
   they could be met.

   Alternatively, someone should write a defence of flow rate fairness.
   Continuing to use flow rate fairness as the dominant ideology,
   without rebutting Kelly's seminal 1997 paper that undermined it, just
   leaves the Internet community divided into religious sects, making a
   mockery of the scientific process towards consensus.

2.  Requirements notation

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

3.  Fair Allocation of What Among What?

   The issue with flow rate fairness is far more basic than whether
   allocations should be max-min, proportional or whatever.  Flow rate
   fairness doesn't even allocate the correct thing.  And it doesn't
   allocate it among the correct entities either.  At this most basic
   level we will contrast the two main contending views:

   o  Allocate rate among flows (flow rate fairness)

   o  Allocate congestion cost among the bits sent by economic entities
      (cost fairness)

   When cost fairness was proposed, it stated its case in terms of the
   dominant belief system--flow rate fairness.  Unfortunately, this
   meant that the dominant belief system didn't notice it had been
   struck an intellectual death blow.  Its believers carried on
   regardless and it remains dominant today.

   As a result, one sees talk of weighted proportional fairness in the
   same context as proportional, max-min or min-max fairness as if they
   are all members of the same set.  They are not.  Weighted
   proportional fairness has an extra weight parameter w that all the
   others lack.  With weighted proportional fairness, the interesting
   bit is what regulates users in their choice of w.  Otherwise, it
   would hardly be a useful definition of fairness to say it is fair for
   flow A to go w times as fast as flow B, if the user behind flow A has
   free choice of w.

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   In fact, it turns out that the interesting bit is nothing to do with
   flows, or their weights.  For internetworking the _only_ interesting
   definition of fairness depends on the allocation of cost among the
   bits sent by economic entities, regardless of which flows the bits
   are in.  A user's choice of w then depends on that.

3.1.  Structure of Document

   The body of this document is structured around our question, "Fair
   allocation of what among what?":

   o  Section 4 answers the "...of what...?" question, explaining why
      fair allocation of costs is a sufficient and realistic form of
      fairness, and allocation of rate is not.

   o  Section 5 answers the "...among what?" question, explaining why
      fairness among economic entities naturally spans all flows from
      that entity across the Internet (space) and across time, whereas
      fairness among flows can only be myopic; in one location and at
      one instant.  Also, to demonstrate that it would be practical to
      enforce cost fairness, we briefly outline a protocol proposal
      called re-ECN.  Note that cost fairness and re-ECN are in no sense
      equivalent; re-ECN is just one possible way in which cost fairness
      might be enforced and anyway re-ECN was actually designed to
      enforce both cost fairness and flow rate fairness.

   Having debunked the dominant ideology of flow rate fairness, and
   replaced it with cost fairness, in Section 6 we discuss how other
   forms of fairness can be asserted locally.  Then, before we draw
   conclusions, Section 7 maps the progression of seminal ideas in the
   literature on which this memo is based and Section 8 outlines
   concrete criticisms of specific fairness schemes: max-min flow rate
   fairness, TCP, TFRC, WFQ and XCP as well as discussions of dependence
   on RTT and packet size.  Finally, Section 9 surveys which RFCs will
   have to be updated if we are to stop using flow rate fairness as a
   goal for future IETF protocols.  A FAQ Web page [FairFAQ] is also
   planned to answer some frequently asked questions that didn't fit
   easily into the main flow of this document.

4.  Cost, not Benefit

   The issues of fair allocation of resources comes under the domain of
   political economy, with philosophy reasoning about our judgements.
   In Section 6 we will discuss how different fairness policies can co-
   exist.  But to answer our question, "Fair allocation of what?" we
   start from the premise used in microeconomics (and life) that
   fairness concerns comparing benefits, costs or both.

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   The benefit of a data transfer can be assumed to increase with flow
   rate, but the shape and size of the function relating the two (the
   utility function) is unknown, subjective and private to each user.
   Flow rate itself is an extremely inadequate measure for comparing
   benefits: user benefit per bit rate might be ten orders of magnitude
   different for different types of flow (e.g. SMS and video).  So
   different applications might derive completely different benefits
   from equal flow rates and equal benefits might be derived from very
   different flow rates.

   Turning to the cost of a data transfer across a network, flow rate
   alone is not the measure of that either.  Cost is also dependent on
   the level of congestion on the path.  This is counter-intuitive for
   some people so we shall explain a little further.  Once a network has
   been provisioned at a certain size, it doesn't cost a network
   operator any more whether a user sends more data or not.  But if the
   network becomes congested, each user restricts every other user,
   which can be interpreted as a cost _to all_--an externality in
   economic terms.  When there is no congestion, more usage costs
   nothing.  But at each instant that congestion exists, continued usage
   of the congested resource leads to a cost to all those trying to use
   it.  This cost is proportional to the risk of data not being
   forwarded--the loss rate.  Each user causes the cost to everyone else
   as well as to themselves.

   Kelly showed [wPropFair] that the system becomes optimal if the blame
   for congestion is attributed among all the users causing it, in
   proportion to their bit rates.  That's exactly what routers are
   designed to do anyway.  During congestion, a queue randomly
   distributes the losses so all flows see about the same loss rate (or
   ECN marking rate); if a flow has twice the bit rate of another it
   should see twice the losses.  In this respect random early detection
   (RED [RFC2309]) is slightly fairer than drop tail, but to a first
   order approximation they both meet this criterion.

   So in networking, the usage cost of one flow's behaviour depends on
   the congestion volume it causes, which is the product of its
   instantaneous flow rate and congestion on its path, integrated over
   time.  For instance, if two users are sending at 200kbps and 300kbps
   into a 450kbps line for 0.5s, congestion is (200+300-450)/(200+300) =
   10% so the congestion volume each causes is 200kx 10%x 0.5 = 10kb and
   15kb respectively.

   So cost depends not only on flow rate, but on congestion as well.
   Typically congestion might be in the fractions of a percent but it
   varies from zero to tens of percent.  So, flow rate can never alone
   serve as a measure of cost.

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   To summarise so far, flow rate is a hopelessly incorrect proxy both
   for benefit and for cost.  Even if the intent was to equalise
   benefits, equalising flow-rates wouldn't achieve it.  Even if the
   intent was to equalise costs, equalising flow-rates wouldn't achieve

   But actually a realistic resource allocation mechanism only needs to
   concern itself with costs, then benefits will look after themselves.
   In life, as long as people cover the cost of their actions, it is
   generally considered fair enough.  If one person enjoys a hot shower
   more than their neighbour enjoys the toast they made with equal units
   of electricity, no-one expects the one who enjoyed the shower to have
   to pay more.  If someone makes more of their lot in life than
   another, some complain it's not fair, but most call this envy, not
   unfairness.  Market economics works on the same premise
   (unsurprisingly given life and market economics are closely related).

   The ideal of pure microeconomics is to ensure that everyone pays as
   little as possible (the cost) for the things they value.  The reason
   we try to ensure markets are competitive is that any provider who
   tries to sell above cost price will be undercut by a competitor.  And
   once things are sold at cost, the idea is that people will choose not
   to have an item if they will get less benefit from it than it costs.
   Being prevented from having something if you aren't prepared to cover
   the cost is a basic level of fairness that is particularly important
   when the cost is suffered by others around you.

   The problem with the current Internet architecture is that the cost
   of usage (congestion volume) is hidden from network providers.
   Everyone would like prices to drop towards cost, but even if Internet
   provision gets more competitive, there is no mechanism to reveal what
   the costs are.  So no-one can stop certain users causing more costs
   to others than they have paid for (except by using the damaging
   kludges mentioned early).

   So far, we have only used the pure microeconomics of a market.  But
   this only ensures benefits are as fairly distributed as is consistent
   with the pre-existing inequalities in life, setting aside other forms
   of fairness that might be required (the concern of political
   economy).  But once we have a feasible, scalable system that
   counterbalances basic self-interest and at least implements one
   defined form of fairness, we will show (in Section 6) how to build
   other forms of fairness within that.

   To further summarise so far, making people accountable for the cost
   of their actions is a basic form of fairness, and we can only achieve
   various more sophisticated forms of fairness if a basic market
   mechanism can make people accountable for the costs of their actions

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   (and various market failures are avoided).

   We deliberately say `make people accountable' to avoid the phrase
   `make people pay', because users tend to prefer flat rate
   subscription for Internet access not unpredictable congestion
   charges.  So, ISPs will want to be able to limit the congestion costs
   their users are able to cause (Section 5.3.2), rather than charge
   them for whatever unlimited costs they cause.  We are certainly not
   advocating congestion pricing for retail users.  No matter how many
   times we say this, people still wrongly jump to this conclusion.  So
   note well again: we neither require nor recommend that retail users
   pay congestion prices to be able to achieve cost fairness.

   Indeed, all we are saying is that a congestion metric should be
   visible to those ISPs who want to include it in their service level
   agreements.  We are _not_ saying ISPs _should_ do this, just that it
   is in everyone's interests that the costs people cause can be limited
   to what they have paid.  So the Internet architecture should be
   _able_ to reveal a cost metric.

   If we do make users truly accountable for the cost of the congestion
   they cause, a form of fairness between flow rates emerges
   automatically.  As everyone increases the rate of each of their
   flows, congestion rises.  As congestion rises, everyone pays due
   regard to the share of the cost attributed to them.  So, each
   individual will want their congestion control algorithm to
   continuously adjust its rate to maximise their net utility--benefit
   minus cost.  Kelly [wPropFair] shows that even if each user keeps
   their utility function private but we _model_ all the different users
   by an arbitrary weight that scales their utility function relative to
   others, users will allocate themselves flow rates so that the cost
   they cause will equal the weight they choose--weighted proportional

   But such a flow rate allocation is not the measure of fairness, it is
   merely a possible _outcome_ caused by cost fairness, given some
   assumptions about how to model the shape of users' private utility
   functions.  Enforcing underlying cost fairness is in itself a
   sufficient form of fairness.  We repeat: _the resulting relative flow
   rates are not the measure of fairness_.

   Most importantly, Kelly proved cost fairness would lead everyone to
   maximise their combined aggregate utility across the whole Internet.
   In other words, if anyone was allocated more and someone else less,
   the outcome would be less aggregate utility as a whole.  This is why
   cost fairness is so important, as other forms of fairness cannot be
   better, unless some major flaw is found in Kelly's assumptions.
   Kelly _et al_ also proved that, even though relative flow rates would

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   likely be very different from those seen today, the Internet would
   remain stable given reasonable constraints and
   assumptions [wPropStab].

   While on the subject of assumptions, we should add that the benefit
   of a real-time application depends on jitter, not just transfer rate.
   But simple scaling arguments show that it will be possible for
   network operators to minimise congestion delay as networks increase
   in capacity ([SelfMan] S.2), an argument supported by recent research
   showing that router buffers are often significantly
   oversized [BufSizUp].

   We should also point out that fairness can be relevant within any
   Diffserv behaviour aggregate [RFC2475], not just best effort, and
   that congestion is not solely a property of network layer buffers.
   Path congestion can consist of contributions from near-exhaustion of
   all sorts of physical resources at all layers: e.g. radio transmitter
   power, spectrum interference and battery power.  Siris
   [ECNFixedWireless] explains how all these can and should be collected
   together along a path into ECN markings at the network layer to be
   fed back to the source transport.

   These are what we mean by reasonable assumptions around Kelly's
   fairness definition.  On the other hand, no-one has even tried to
   claim that flow rate equality achieves any fairness objective.  It
   has just been asserted as an arbitrary engineer's dogma.  This is why
   flow rate fairness is so open to criticism as unrealistic--having no
   basis in any recognised form of fairness in real life, science or

   Proponents of flow-rate fairness might be forgiven for aiming for an
   `unrealistic' form of fairness if a `realistic' form was difficult to
   implement in practice.  In fact, it is flow rate fairness that is
   completely impractical to enforce (Section 5.3.1).  The reason we are
   resurrecting cost fairness is that we believe there are now much more
   practical ways to enforce it--ways that are built around existing
   Internet congestion control but, unlike Kelly's, they don't require
   all ISPs to change their retail model to congestion charging
   (Section 5.3.2).

   But how would users "allocate themselves flow rates in proportion to
   the share of the cost that they cause"?  If they were made
   accountable for congestion, they would install a version of TCP with
   a weight parameter, at least for TCP-based applications.
   MulTCP [MulTCP] is a simple example of such a TCP.  An application
   can give it a parameter w to emulate the congestion behaviour of w
   TCP flows.  MulTCP is conceptually useful for those familiar with
   TCP, but it has various failings (e.g. w<1 became increasingly

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   problematic).  Instead we would recommend an algorithm such as
   Siris's weighted window-based control [WindowPropFair].

   Of course, most users wouldn't want the fuss of weighting each
   individual flow.  But if they chose to set policies on average for
   large classes of flows (or to accept the defaults set by application
   developers), the resulting suboptimal outcome for themselves would be
   their own private choice to trade optimality against hassle.  The
   underlying fairness criterion would still be met: that people should
   be accountable for the costs they cause to others.

   In contrast, with flow-rate fairness, two flows may cause orders of
   magnitude different costs to others (for instance if one has been
   running orders of magnitude longer) by running at equal rates.
   Nowhere do we find any justification for the dogma that flow rates
   must be equal to be fair.  Nowhere do we find any rebuttal of Kelly's
   destruction of flow rate fairness, even after ten years.

5.  Economic Entities not Flows

5.1.  Something to Integrate the Allocations

   Imagine loaves of bread are regularly delivered to a famine-struck
   refugee camp.  Each time a loaf is brought out, a queue forms and the
   loaf is divided equally among those in the queue.  If the individuals
   who appear in each queue are always different, except for one who
   always appears in every queue, would it still be fair to share each
   loaf equally among those in each queue?

   This example shows that realistic fairness policies must depend on an
   individual's history.  But if that isn't a convincing argument, it
   doesn't have to be.  We don't have to show that fairness policies
   _must_ depend on history, only that realistic ones _probably will_.
   So a fairness mechanism that claims to support commercially realistic
   fairness policies must be structured to hold individual history
   without destroying scalability.  And here, `individual' means some
   real-world entity with an economic existence, not a flow.

   Router-based flow rate fairness mechanisms tend to have to be myopic.
   To be otherwise would seem to require holding the history of most
   Internet connected individuals on most routers, because a flow from
   nearly any individual in the world might appear at nearly any router.
   So instead, router-based schemes tend to share out flow rate at each
   instant without regard to individual history--and unfortunately
   without regard to commercial reality.

   Instead of arbitrating fairness on routers, fairness can be and

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   already is arbitrated where state can be held scalably--at the
   endpoints where the congestion costs of each individual are already
   collected together.  One reason for our frustration with the
   networking community's focus on flow rate fairness is that the TCP/
   IP-based architecture of the Internet already has a structure very
   close to that required to arbitrate fairness based on the costs that
   individuals cause, rather than on flow rates.

   Congested routers generate cost signals (losses or ECN marks) that
   are carried to the transport causing the congestion, piggy-backed in
   the packet stream either as gaps in the transport stream or as ECN
   marks.  These congestion signals are already fed back to the sending
   transport by nearly all transport protocols.  And congestion control
   algorithms like TCP already adapt their flow rates in response to
   congestion.  So all we would need to change would be to use a
   weighted TCP algorithm [WindowPropFair] (or equivalent for inelastic
   applications) that could weight itself under the control of a process
   overarching all the flows of one user, which would take into account
   the user's cost history across all flows.

   Of course, there is no incentive for anyone to voluntarily subject
   themselves to such fairness (nonetheless, they already subject
   themselves to TCP which voluntarily halves its rate whenever it
   senses congestion).  But as we shall see in Section 5.3.1, policing
   fairness between individuals (and between networks) at their point of
   attachment to the Internet has already been solved, whereas getting
   every router to police fairness between every individual connected to
   the Internet is a pipe dream, because it would be extremely
   complicated for routers to have to know about individuals globally.

5.2.  Comparing Costs

   So, how come one attachment point can arbitrate fairness between
   everyone on the Internet when it only knows about locally attached
   individuals?  Do we have to add some fully connected mesh of co-
   ordination messages between every endpoint in the world?  The answer
   is no, because, in a very subtle sense, we already have such a mesh.
   Fairness at one endpoint is kept in line with all the others by the
   commonly aligned discipline of _cost_ throughout the globe.  Cost in
   any part of the world has an exchange value with cost in any other
   part, because, wherever there's an Internet attachment, there's a
   connection with the global economy.

   Different types of users (heavy users, light users, servers, server
   farms, companies) will want to be able to cause different volumes of
   congestion.  As long as congestion can be equated to cost, it can be
   related to the amount each user has paid for their attachment to the
   Internet.  Even if some localised authority asserts a non-economic

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   variant of fairness between some sub-set of users (e.g. in a
   university or corporation), the authority as a whole will still align
   its understanding of cost with that of the global economy (see
   Section 6) on Fairness between Fairnesses.

   To be able to compare costs globally, we cannot merely talk of volume
   of congestion as a cost to other users without calibrating it--
   without specifying how it relates to monetary cost.  In a competitive
   market, the monetary cost that should be assigned to congestion
   volume turns out to be the marginal cost of the capacity needed to
   alleviate the congestion [PrCong] (see FAQ [FairFAQ] for details).

   The term `marginal' cost is used in economics for the slope of the
   curve of cost against capacity.  To take a toy example, imagine a
   10Gbps interface card costs $1,000 and the cost follows a rough
   square root law so that a 20Gbps interface card will cost about
   $1,400 (2 times the capacity costs sqrt(2) times as much).  Even
   though the average cost of the 10Gbps card is $100 per Gbps, the
   marginal cost is only $50 per Gbps.  (Because: If X is capacity, C is
   cost and k is a constant, we have assumed C = k sqrt(X), so marginal
   cost = dC/dX = k/2sqrt(X) = C/2X, which is half of the average cost =
   C/X).  This implies an 11Gbps card (if cards could be upgraded with
   such fine granularity) would cost about $1,050.

   Note that when we say that the cost of congestion equates to the
   marginal cost of capacity, we are not introducing any additional
   cost; we are merely categorising cost into sub-divisions.  So, an
   existing flat fee Internet charge should be considered to consist of
   parts to cover:

   o  operational (non-capacity) costs;

   o  capacity upgrade costs to alleviate congestion (the $50/Gbps
      marginal cost);

   o  the balance of the average cost of capacity ($100-$50=$50/Gbps).

   The distinction between the last two is important, because the cost
   of capacity is traditionally shared out in proportion to access link
   capacity.  But different users with the same access link capacity can
   cause _hugely_ different volumes of congestion across time and across
   all the Internet links they regularly use, so it is fair to share out
   the upgrade cost part in proportion to congestion caused, not access
   link capacity.

   Once a cost is assigned to congestion that equates to the cost of
   alleviating it, users will only cause congestion if they want extra
   capacity enough to be willing to pay its cost (e.g. using up

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   congestion quota they have paid for).  Of course, there will be no
   need to be too precise about that rule.  Perhaps some people might be
   allowed to get more than they pay for and others less.  Perhaps some
   people will be prepared to pay for what others get, and so on.

   But, in a system the size of the Internet, there has to be some
   handle to arbitrate how much cost some users cause to others.  Flow
   rate fairness comes nowhere near being up to the job.  It just isn't
   realistic to create a system the size of the Internet and define
   fairness within the system without reference to fairness outside the
   system--in the real world where everyone grudgingly accepts that
   fairness usually means "you get what you pay for".

   Note that we use the phrase "you get what you pay for" not just "you
   pay for what you get".  In Kelly's original formulation, users had to
   pay for the congestion they caused, which was unlikely to be taken up
   commercially.  But the reason we are revitalising Kelly's work is
   that recent advances (Section 5.3.2) should allow ISPs to keep their
   popular flat fee pricing packages along with a service level
   agreement that ensures users cannot cause excessive congestion (e.g.
   not more congestion cost than their flat fee pays for).  Note that
   limiting congestion is _not_ congestion pricing, just as a volume cap
   is not volume charging.

   The engineering details of all these commercially realistic
   accountability systems don't have to concern the research or
   standards communities in networking.  It is sufficient to design
   protocols so that congestion costs _can_ be integrated into one
   simple counter across different flows and across time for some higher
   layer to use, so that senders _can_ be made accountable for the
   congestion they cause.  Systems and protocols intended for Internet
   deployment do not have to _always_ realise the sort of fairness over
   time that we find around us in the real world, but they must _be
   able_ to.

   This subtle connection with the global economy at every Internet
   attachment point ensures that there is no need for some system to
   decide how far back the history of each individual's costs should
   still be taken into account.  Once the cost that one entity causes to
   others (integrated over time and over all its flows) has been
   suffered by that entity itself (e.g. by subtracting from a quota), it
   can be forgotten.  Just like the costs for all the other benefits
   everyone assimilates in their daily lives.  And the concept of a
   customer account also naturally ensures that a user cannot escape
   accountability merely by roaming or mobility.

   Finally, note well that this `ISP' and `customer' terminology doesn't
   preclude peer-to-peer creations that arbitrate fair use of the

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   resources of a self-provided community network [ArchP2pEcon].

5.3.  Enforcement of Fairness

5.3.1.  Cheating with Whitewashed or Split Flow Identities

   In the real world of deployed networks, if it is easy to cheat the
   fairness mechanism to get an unfair allocation, it's hardly a useful
   fairness mechanism.  All known flow rate fairness mechanisms are wide
   open to cheating.  The network community cannot continue in denial of
   this glaring inconsistency if we claim to be designing commercially
   realistic protocols.

   For instance, if I am the customer of a system giving max-min flow
   rate allocations, it is in my interest to split the identities of my
   flows into lots of little flows until they are all less than the
   minimum allocation.  Then the system will dance to my tune and reduce
   the allocations of everyone else in order to increase all the
   allocations of my little flows.  The more I split my traffic down
   across more and more identifiers, the larger share of the resource
   all my flows taken together will get.

   If a history-based fairness mechanism (Section 5.1) believes it
   should allocate fewer resources to one flow identifier that it
   considers has already been given enough, it is trivially easy for the
   source behind that identifier to create a new identifier with a
   whitewashed reputation for its traffic.

   And it's no good imagining that a router will be able to tell which
   flow IDs are actually all from the same entity (either in the
   security sense or the economic sense), because routers have to
   arbitrate between flows emanating from networks many domains away.
   They cannot be expected to know which sets of flow identifiers should
   be treated as a single entity.  Flows between a pair of IP addresses
   may even be attributable to more than one entity, for instance, an IP
   address may be shared by many hundreds of accounts on a Web or e-mail
   hosting site or behind a NAT.  And anyway, even if entities could be
   identified separately, not all entities are equal, for instance
   compare your granny's PC with a large server.

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         |See draft-briscoe-tsvarea-fair-02.pdf version for figure here

      Figure 1: Splitting flow identifiers to cheat against flow rate

   Bottleneck policers [pBox],[XCHOKe],[AFD], suffer from the same
   inherent problem.  They look for a flow ID at a bottleneck that is
   consuming much more bit rate than other flows in order to police use
   of TCP.  But anyone can cheat by simply running multiple TCP flows.
   If the policer looks for cheating pairs of source-destination IP
   addresses, without regard to port numbers, a pair of corresponding
   nodes can still cheat by creating extra flows from spoofed source
   addresses after telling each other out of band where to send
   acknowledgements (or just using error correcting coding, not acks).

   Alternatively, pairs of corresponding nodes can collude to share
   parts of each other's flows.  For instance, if the three pairs of
   nodes in Figure 1 are trying to communicate, the senders can act as
   stepping stones for each other so that their three (n) flows appear
   as nine (n^2) across the bottleneck link in the middle.  In effect,
   they have created a routing overlay, much like BitTorrent file-
   sharing software does.  If one pair of naive nodes competes for this
   bottleneck against n pairs of nodes adopting this strategy, it will
   get about n times smaller share than each of the other pairs,
   assuming n is large.

   These inherent problems with how to define flow granularity were
   understood when recommendations on active queue management (AQM) were
   made [RFC2309], also quoted in the IETF's best current practice on
   congestion control [RFC2914].  The problem was known to be

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   particularly acute in the context of the above bottleneck policer
   ideas, which were current at the time.  But the answer was left open
   "We would guess that the source/destination host pair gives the most
   appropriate granularity in many circumstances.  The granularity of
   flows for congestion management is, at least in part, a policy
   question that needs to be addressed in the wider IETF community.".

   Given identifiers can generally be freely created in cyberspace, it
   is well-known that they shouldn't be relied on for resource
   allocation (or more generally for negative
   reputation) [FrRideP2p],[CheapPseud].  Kelly [wPropFair] chose cost-
   based fairness (his term was `pricing per unit share') because it was
   immune to this problem--it allocates cost to bits not to flows and
   hence doesn't rely on any cyber-identifiers.

   In summary, once one accepts that fairness should be based on
   concepts from social science, fairness can only be meaningful between
   entities with real-world identities--humans, organisations,
   institutions, businesses.  Otherwise two entities can claim to have
   arbitrarily many flows between them, making fairness between flows
   completely meaningless.

5.3.2.  Enforcing Cost Fairness

   If enforcing flow rate fairness is impractical, is enforcing cost
   fairness any more achievable?  Happily, the Internet's architecture
   is already suited to carrying the right cost information for cost
   fairness mechanisms to be enforced in a non-cooperative environment.

   Kelly's stated motivation for his focus on pricing was so that the
   system would be applicable to a non-cooperative environment.  In
   1999, Gibbens and Kelly went further, pointing out [Evol_cc] that
   ECN [RFC3168] provided an ideal basis on which to base cost fairness.
   The idea was simply for network operators to ECN mark traffic at
   congested routers without regard to flows, then to apply a price to
   the volume of traffic carrying ECN marks, which would make the
   transport endpoints accountable for the congestion they caused.

   However, understandably, the idea of Internet retailers charging
   their end-customers directly for congestion met strong resistance.
   Customers are known to be highly averse to unpredictable charges for
   services ([PMP] S.5) so Kelly's duration charging for each Internet
   flow was unlikely to replace flat monthly charging.

   Many threw out the baby with the bath water, associating Kelly's
   theoretical work solely with its suggested pricing model.  But over
   the ensuing years, an active research community has sought to keep
   the underlying theory but wrapped around with more realistic and

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   flexible pricing and service possibilities.

   Indeed the recent proposal called re-ECN [Re-TCP] claims to do just
   that.  We will give an overview or re-ECN below, but first we must
   make it absolutely clear that re-ECN shouldn't be equated with cost
   fairness.  Re-ECN could provide one way to achieve cost fairness but
   other mechanisms might also be feasible.  Also re-ECN was designed to
   be able to enforce flow rate fairness as well as cost fairness.

   So here the discussion is confined to whether the economic structure
   and functional effect on the network service that re-ECN aspires to
   is valid.  If it is, the research agenda should be focused on
   producing that outcome, even if re-ECN itself isn't the answer.
   (Readers tempted to game re-ECN shouldn't rely on the brief
   description here; rather they should use the full spec above, which,
   as of mid-2007, documents one outstanding vulnerability and defences
   against other known attacks.)

   Re-ECN aims not to constrain retail pricing, requiring no change to
   typical flat rate Internet contracts.  But it enables addition of a
   policer that can limit the volume of congestion a customer's sent
   traffic causes over, say, a moving month.  Thus, if endpoint
   congestion control doesn't voluntarily act fairly the network ingress
   can force it to.  It is expected that various styles of policing
   (including none) will evolve through market selection.  Policing can
   be per-user or per flow, but bulk per-user policing is sufficient for
   cost fairness.

   Although Gibbens & Kelly rightly identified that standard ECN reveals
   the necessary information for cost-based fairness, it doesn't reveal
   it in the right place for network layer policing--at the _sender's_
   network attachment.  In the current TCP/IP architecture, congestion
   information emerges from the end of a forward data path, which is the
   last point in the feedback loop that any network operator can
   reliably intercept it--the wrong end for policing the sender.

   Re-ECN reveals congestion at the start of a data path while managing
   to preserve IP's connectionless datagram model.  It makes delivery
   conditional on the sender `pre-loading' packet streams with enough
   `credit' to remain non-negative despite being decremented by
   congestion experienced along the path.  It should then be in _both_
   the endpoints' interests for the sender to use a pattern of feedback
   where the sender re-inserts the feedback from each congestion event
   into the next sent packet as a `credit' (re-feedback [Re-fb]).  It
   should also be in the sender's interest to start every flow slowly
   and with some initial `credit' while it establishes the path's
   congestion level.

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   Like Kelly's original proposal, re-ECN uses ECN routers (and
   receivers) unchanged to ensure the cost of congestion is communicated
   to each transport causing it, precisely in proportion to their bit
   rates, without any per-flow processing in the network.  But, unlike
   Kelly, sources not receivers are held responsible and the network
   cannot raise unsolicited charges without the sender deliberately
   marking packets itself.

   Re-ECN also aims to ensure cost-fairness between whole networks.
   Because the congestion level in every stream of packets decrements
   towards zero, at an inter-domain border both neighbouring networks
   can count the bulk volume of congestion that the passing packets are
   causing downstream of the border.  If the downstream neighbour
   penalises the upstream neighbour proportionate to this volume of
   congestion (complementing fixed capacity charges), the upstream
   network should in turn want to ensure its upstream users (or
   networks) are accountable for their share of these costs arriving
   from their borders.

   Each network could choose to share out its downstream costs between
   its upstream customers by some other fairness policy than cost
   (including absence of policy, which ensures incremental deployment).
   So, on the grander scale, re-ECN aims to ensure that networks have to
   be fair to each other, and that different fairness policies can co-
   exist, which is the subject of the next section.

6.  Fairness between Fairnesses

   A social anthropologist would be able to give numerous examples of
   tribes and societies holding differing opinions on fairness.  But, we
   must also recognise that societal views of fairness are heavily
   influenced by the fairness that a market would produce [SovJstce].
   Just as gravity pre-dated Newton, the invisible hand of the
   (maturing) market had been allocating resources in society long
   before Adam Smith noticed, particularly where the larger picture of
   trade between societies was concerned.  Equality is sometimes
   considered fair for life's essentials, but in life few expect to get
   an equal share of every cake for nothing.  As a society, we accept
   that a reasonably competitive market mechanism does produce a
   `realistic' form of fairness; a form of fairness that people
   grudgingly accept they have to live with, where the buyer gets no
   more than she pays for, at a competitive price that reflects the
   effort expended by the seller.

   However, monarchs, governments, charities and so on have also been
   stamping their own view of fairness on this backdrop, sometimes less
   equal sometimes more.  But even if different allocation schemes are

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   chosen locally, perhaps taking account of social inequality, on a
   global scale arbitration between local views on fairness has largely
   been through market economics--we are not asking anyone to judge
   whether this is good or bad, it just is.  The Internet should at
   least be able to cope with the world as it is (as well as how it
   might be).  This doesn't imply we believe that economic forces are
   somehow above policy control.  Rather, we observe that market forces
   (aside from wars) have been the default _global_ resource allocation
   mechanism over many centuries.  In the Greco-Roman civilisations, in
   the Buddhist, Confucian and later in the Islamic world, trade was a
   necessary but not central aspect of life.  And over the last two
   decades, Western civilisations have been going through a phase of
   `economics imperialism', where attempting to exert policy control
   over economics is even viewed as counter-productive.

   However, we must not assume the current globalisation trend [Saul05]
   heralds the end of history.  The Internet should be able to reflect
   the shifting of societal forces as different local fairness regimes
   come and go--`design for tussle' [Tussle].  On the whole,
   interworking of resource allocation between most parts of the
   Internet must _be able_ to be based on market economics, but it
   should be possible to apply other fairness criteria locally.  For
   instance, a University might choose to allocate network resources to
   each student equally rather than by how much their parents can
   afford.  But the network resources one whole University gets relative
   to another institution depend on how much each pays their service

   With arbitration of fairness at the network edge, these enclaves
   where local fairness prevails can be virtual networks of disparate
   users; they need not align with physical network boundaries and users
   could roam too, with their service level agreement following them.  A
   distance-learning University or company with a mobile sales-force
   could buy quotas from different networks and redistribute the
   aggregate among its members using its own view of fairness.  Or whole
   countries might arrange to subsidise a minimum universal service
   obligation for Internet _usage_, but still, the country as a whole
   would be expected to pay its way in the world.

   On the other hand, in market-led countries, commercial ISPs might
   solely allocate resources proportionate to customer subscriptions.
   Local pockets of heterogeneity will exist, from computer clubs to
   NATO, but the overall fabric of resource allocation gluing all these
   pockets together at the (inter)network layer is likely to be market-

   This is what we mean by `realistic'--fitting the commercial reality
   of a global market economy.  We are fully aware that the power of

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   market economics can be stretched too far; controlling aspects of
   society where economic assumptions break down (prompting Samuelson to
   describe Friedman as "...somebody who had learned how to spell banana
   but didn't know where to stop" [Swed90]).  But we are not advocating
   that one religion should replace another--market economics replacing
   flow rate fairness.  However, in the case of Internet resource
   allocation, it must at least _be possible_ to use market economics,
   despite its known failings, given it is currently the most
   appropriate tool for managing conflicting demands on resources from
   any part of the globe.

   A market is meant to optimise allocations in the face of conflicts of
   self-interest.  If we want to assert other fairness regimes, we must
   recognise this acts against self-interest.  If we don't understand
   how to overcome self-interest, its invisible hand will force its will
   on us some other way, distorting our attempts to work against it.
   This is why the loopholes in flow rate fairness are being so
   thoroughly exploited.

   And this is our point.  A market _mechanism_ has to be _designed_.  A
   weak design will be exploited mercilessly.  The designs behind flow
   rate fairness are worse than weak.  They are not even aware that, as
   resource allocation mechanisms, they _should_ be able to meet the
   stringent requirements of a good market mechanism, such as forgery-
   resistant `currency', information symmetry, internalisation of
   externalities and so forth.

   If we did wish to promote the cause of equality, equalising flow
   rates would in no way achieve our ends.  In fact, it would only
   promote the cause of selfishness and malice, because flows don't
   equate to people, so its broken logic can be thoroughly exploited.
   Only by providing a bullet-proof mechanism to arbitrate self-
   interest, can we then move on to allocate resources locally in other

7.  The Seminal Literature

   For a rigorous tutorial on the various form of fairness, the reader
   is referred to Le Boudec [ccFairTut].

   Max-min flow rate fairness has a long history in networking, with
   research to find distributed (router-based) max-min algorithms
   starting in 1980 [DeMaxMin] and Nagle proposing a novel approach in
   1985 [RFC0970].  All these early `fair queuing' algorithms considered
   fairness should be considered among sources and that equality implied
   fairness.  Indeed, in 1984, Jain et al proposed an index of fairness
   [FairIdx] that quantified how far a set of shares were from equality.

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   In 1989, to solve the problem of some sources deserving more rate
   than others, the authors of `weighted fair queuing' (WFQ) proposed
   that per-source destination pair would be a better model of the size
   of different sources.  It was admitted that a source could deny
   service to other sources by faking transfers with numerous
   destinations, but a reasonable trade-off between efficiency and
   security was required [WFQ].  Recently, an approach called
   Justice [Jstce] has proposed a return to (weighted) per source fair
   queuing, but with configurable link weights throughout the network.
   However, all these `fair queuing' approaches allocate bit rate as
   their measure of fairness.

   TCP congestion control was also introduced in the late 1980s [TCPcc],
   based on the assumption that it would be fair if flow rates through a
   single bottleneck converged on equality.

   In 1991, Mazumdar _et al_ [UtilFair] pointed out that there was
   nothing special about max-min fair rate allocation, and that other
   _ad hoc_ definitions of fairness perhaps based on ratios of
   individual demands would be no less valid.  Instead Mazumdar _et al_
   advocated that it would be precise to base a definition of fairness
   on game theory, specifically the Nash bargaining solution.  This
   resulted in proportional fairness, but still using the rate allocated
   to flows as the measure of fairness.

   In 1997, Kelly considered that Mazumdar's use of co-operative game
   theory was unlikely to be relevant to public networks where fairness
   would have to be enforced.  Instead he introduced _weighted_
   proportional fairness [wPropFair], which finally broke the link
   between fairness and flow rates.  However, the break in tradition
   wasn't obvious because the new form of fairness could easily be
   expressed in terms of flow rates, essentially using the weight of a
   flow as a `fiddle-factor'.

   Kelly showed that all a network had to do to achieve fairness in its
   economic sense (cost fairness) was to share the cost of congestion
   among bits (not flows).  Then, as long as the network made users
   experience the cost of their bits, users could choose any size flows
   they wished.  But their choice would be regulated by their own trade
   off between how much they valued bit rate and the charge for

   Kelly's fairness with respect to bit rate per unit charge could also
   be (and was) framed in terms of fairness between flows by allowing
   the user an arbitrary choice of weight per flow.  But Kelly pointed
   out that a flow could be divided into sub-flows without changing the
   overall rate allocation to all the sub-flows taken together; the user
   merely had to imagine that the weight she assigned to one flow could

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   be subdivided proportionately into its sub-flows.

   Kelly's work built on MacKie-Mason & Varian's seminal paper on the
   economics of networks from 1995, "Pricing Congestible Network
   Resources" [PrCong].  This work explained the dual role of congestion
   costs in controlling demand and regulating supply, in welfare
   maximising, competitive and monopoly markets.

   In his 1997 paper, Kelly framed cost fairness in terms of weighted
   proportional fairness of flow rates in order to relate to an ATM
   technology context.  With ATM's flow-based user-network interface,
   users had to declare the weight they chose for their flows to the
   network.  But by 1998 Kelly _et al_ applied this work [wPropStab] to
   an Internet setting where flows were not part of the user's interface
   with the network, so flow weights could become a purely private
   device, internal to the user's rate control algorithm.  Nonetheless,
   the _outcome_ at the flow level was still weighted proportional
   fairness, and the underlying fairness that produced this outcome was
   still based solely on sharing the cost of congestion among bits.

   Back in 1995, Shenker had identified two main types of network
   traffic: elastic and inelastic, distinguished respectively by their
   concave and sigmoid utility functions [FundUtil].  Whatever the
   utility function, Kelly teaches us that covering congestion costs is
   sufficient to achieve fairness.  But then the outcome (in terms of
   flow rates) depends on the type of utility function:

   o  Weighted proportionally fair flow rates will be the outcome for
      elastic traffic streaming;

   o  Inelastic traffic flows hit a discontinuity once congestion rises
      beyond a certain level, at which point no-one derives any useful
      value unless some are given zero rate, leading to a need for some
      form of admission control, whether self-admission control or
      arbitrated by the network [DCAC].  This was the theoretical
      backing to the IETF working group recently chartered to
      standardise admission control using pre-congestion notification
      (PCN) [PCNcharter].

   o  Key & Massoulie identified a third major class of network traffic
      where utility is derived solely from the duration required to
      complete transfer of a fixed volume of data [UtilFile].  They
      proposed that, if cost fairness applied, self-interested
      congestion control would toggle between full line rate and zero
      (with occasional probes).  Such behaviour alone can destabilise
      the network, but it can be stabilised by mixing with streaming
      traffic [FairIntgr].  Research on the second order incentives
      necessary to encourage stability continues.  Policing rather than

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      pricing congestion is one way to safeguard everyone's common
      interest in stability.

   Since these seminal papers in the late 1990s, theoretical refinement
   has continued, but the main thrust of research has been to find more
   realistic and practical ways of applying the insights, a process
   which is now bearing fruit (see Section 5.3.2).

8.  Critiques of Specific Schemes

8.1.  Max-min flow rate fairness

   In 1997, Kelly demonstrated [wPropFair] that realistic users would
   not choose max-min flow rate fairness if they were accountable for
   the congestion they caused to others.  Users would only choose max-
   min if they valued bit rate with an unrealistically extreme set of
   utility functions that were all identical and that all valued low bit
   rate infinitesimally less than high bit rate.  To spell Kelly's
   result out even more bluntly, max-min fair rate allocation would only
   be considered fair if _everyone_ valued bit rate in a really weird
   way: that is, they all valued very low bit rate hardly any less than
   very high bit rate and they all valued bit rate exactly the same as
   each other.  (Note that max-min could be meaningful if allocating
   something like utility among users, but not rate among flows.)

8.2.  TCP

   TCP's congestion avoidance [RFC2581] leads to a form of fairness
   similar to cost fairness, except it is myopic, only being concerned
   with each instant in time and with each flow, as explained in
   Section 5.  To be cost fair each user would have to take account of
   costs across time and across flows, and weight each TCP flow
   according to its importance to them, as can be done with
   MulTCP [MulTCP].

8.3.  TFRC

   An algorithm that converges on the same flow rate as TCP at
   equilibrium is called TCP-friendly.  It can only claim to be TCP-
   compatible if it also exhibits the same dynamics as the TCP
   specification [RFC2581].  Certain streaming applications won't work
   unless they are allowed a more sluggish response to congestion than
   TCP's, so researchers invented TCP-friendly rate control
   (TFRC [RFC3448]) to define fair use of the network in competition
   with TCP-compatible flows.

   `TCP-friendly' congestion control currently has proposed standard

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   status in the IETF [RFC3448], and it is incorporated into one of the
   congestion control profiles of the new datagram congestion control
   protocol (DCCP [RFC4342]) that is also a proposed standard.  An
   experimental small packet variant has also been proposed [RFC4828].

   Given TFRC aims to emulate TCP, by far its most significant fairness
   problems are those it shares with TCP as just mentioned.  However,
   even if we set aside this myopia in time and within flows, TFRC
   exhibits an extra fairness problem because its design was based
   wholly on the broken idea that it is fair for a TCP-friendly flow to
   get the same rate as a TCP-compatible flow.

         |See draft-briscoe-tsvarea-fair-02.pdf version for figure here

        Figure 2: Schematic showing `TCP-friendly' flows cause more
     congestion than TCP. A TCP-friendly flow is smoother than a TCP-
     compatible one but with the same mean rate if measured over long
   enough time. Therefore at times of high congestion (t_2) it uses more
     bandwidth than TCP while at times of low congestion (t_1) it uses

   To explain, we need to remember that both congestion and flow rate
   vary over time.  A more nimble congestion response like TCP's can
   mirror changing congestion fairly faithfully.  It reduces its rate
   quickly during periods of higher congestion and increases again more
   quickly whenever congestion falls.  In Figure 2 the resulting
   schematic plots of congestion and flow rate are shown as mirror
   images of each other.  A more sluggish rate response is not as good
   at tracking the fast-changing congestion process.  So the sluggish
   flow more often uses higher bandwidth when congestion is high, and

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   more often uses lower bandwidth when congestion is low, causing more
   volume of congestion on average.  Giving more during times of plenty
   doesn't compensate for taking it back during times of scarcity.

8.4.  RTT and Fairness

   TCP, and congestion controls such as SCTP [RFC2960] that inherit from
   it, converge on a rate that is inversely proportional to round trip
   time (RTT).  This is due to TCP's original design goal of avoiding
   adding more than one segment to the data in flight each RTT.

   Congestion controls certainly have to take RTT delay in the feedback
   loop into account to ensure stability.  Nonetheless, It is perfectly
   possible to design a robust congestion control that responds more
   slowly to changes on longer paths, but still converges to the same
   rate as it would with a shorter RTT.  FAST TCP [FAST] is an example
   of such a congestion control.  Siris's weighted window-based
   congestion controller [WindowPropFair] also has dynamics that are
   sensitive to RTT, while converging on a bit-rate that is independent
   of RTT.

   RTT is not in itself a factor that affects fairness.  In fact, once a
   sender is accountable for the congestion it causes, it will be in its
   own interests to be more cautious on longer RTT paths, as it has
   proportionately more data in flight so it risks causing more
   congestion before it can react.

   Broadly the extra risk of causing congestion with larger RTTs is
   usually sufficient to encourage behaviour that leads to stability.
   However, this gross generalisation needs to be couched in assumptions
   and constraints that are beyond the scope of this memo (and beyond my
   ability to keep up with the literature).

8.5.  Packet Size and Fairness

   The issue of how to take packet size into account is covered in
   [BytePktMark].  In summary, it advises that packet size should not be
   adjusted for in the network (i.e. not in the AQM algorithm), which
   merely drops (marks) every packet with the current drop (marking)
   probability.  Instead, the transport (rate control algorithm) should
   take account of the size of lost or ECN marked packets.  Essentially
   an ECN marked packet should be treated by the transport as if every
   byte is ECN marked, just as every byte is dropped when a packet it

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8.6.  XCP and router-based fairness schemes

   This document has focused on the fairness ideas we see in the
   production networks around us today.  However, our most pressing
   concern is that these broken ideas also pervade the community working
   on replacing the Internet architecture.  It is well-known that TCP
   congestion control is running out of dynamic range and many proposals
   for replacements that can take advantage of higher link capacities by
   accelerating faster have been put forward.  XCP was the first of a
   family of router-based hi-speed congestion control mechanism, but it
   is particularly of interest because it claims to allow different
   fairness criteria to be configured.

   However, XCP fairness is based on the myopic flow-rate-based view
   that we have so roundly criticised in this document.  For instance,
   XCP claims to be able to achieve a weighted proportional fair rate
   allocation ([XCP] S.6) by adding a weight field to each packet, but
   it glosses over how anyone could regulate each user's choice of the
   weight.  If we compare weighted fair XCP with Kelly's original ATM-
   based weighted proportional fairness, the weight parameter advises
   network equipment on what allocation it should give each flow, but
   there is no direct congestion information in the XCP protocol that
   could be used at the ingress to make each source accountable for its
   choice of weight.

   Further, we believe it will be necessary to be able to apply
   different fairness criteria to different subsets of users of a
   network and subsets across an internetwork as outlined in Section 6.
   We cannot immediately see how this would be feasible with router-
   based approaches like XCP, where routers would seem to have to know
   what sort of fairness each IP address was keeping to, and each router
   would seem to have to share information on the history of each user
   with potentially every other router in the world (as explained in
   Section 5.1).

   A combination of XCP's protocol fields could yield approximate
   congestion information to integrate each sender's congestion cost
   history at the access network close to the sender.  This would allow
   the user's choice of weight to be regulated and enable different
   forms of fairness to be asserted locally.  But one then has to
   question whether it would be simpler for the end system to do the
   rate control, given it has to give routers all the information they
   need to arbitrate fairness between flows anyway.

8.7.  WFQ

   Weighed fair queuing aims to isolate the capacity that a flow
   receives from excessive load applied by other flows, while at the

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   same time ensuring the router's capacity is fully utilised.  WFQ
   allocates capacity per-flow not per-user, so it is vulnerable to the
   flow ID splitting games described in Section 5.3.1 and it only
   controls fairness over flow lifetimes, not over user history.  A
   comparison of cost fairness against WFQ (both as originally defined
   and as sold commercially) would be interesting given features of the
   two approaches overlap even though they don't have the same goals.
   But this subject would require a dedicated paper.

9.  Implications for the RFC Series

   This document points out that the question of cost-fairness between
   congestion controls sits above the transport layer as a policy
   concern.  Applications would then exert policy control over
   congestion control in transport protocols (e.g.  by setting a
   weight).  This implies that the IETF should not be (and never has
   been) the arbiter of cost-fairness between its protocols, but it
   should still be responsible for their stability and perhaps their
   efficiency.  This contrasts with the current position where the IETF
   takes responsibility for the fairness of its congestion control
   algorithms, because they are not under policy control.  This would
   seem to have wide-ranging implications on the current approach to
   congestion control standardisation throughout the IETF's RFC series.

   RFCs on congestion control fall into the following categories with
   respect to who is mandated (or encouraged) to do what:

   o  Those that specify a congestion control algorithm as a building
      block without specifying where it should be used (e.g.  TFRC
      [RFC3448] and TFRC-SP [RFC4828]);

   o  Those that specify the implementation of congestion control for a
      specific transport which often draw on building block congestion
      controls such as TFRC above or TCP (e.g.  TCP [RFC2581], SCTP
      [RFC2960], the DCCP CCIDs [RFC4341][RFC4342] and the RTP profiles
      such as that for RTP/AVP [RFC3551] and RTP/AVPF with earlier
      feedback [RFC4585] as well as a number of experimental unicast and
      multicast protocols);

   o  Those that specify that hosts must implement a particular
      transport (e.g. the `Requirements for Internet Hosts' [RFC1122]);

   o  Those that specify what hosts must do if they implement certain
      congestion control enhancements (e.g. the `Congestion Manager'

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   o  Those that specify that applications must implement safe
      congestion control behaviour (e.g.  HTTP/1.1 [RFC2616] and RTP

   o  Those that specify the meaning of congestion notifications and how
      buffer implementations should generate them (e.g. recommendations
      on AQM [RFC2309] and explicit congestion notification [RFC3168]);

   o  Those that specify best current practice, guidelines and
      principles for designers of congestion control (e.g. the `Gateway
      Congestion Control Survey' [RFC1254], recommendations on AQM
      [RFC2309], `Congestion Control Principles' [RFC2914], `General
      Architectural and Policy Considerations' [RFC3426] and IAB
      Concerns Regarding Congestion Control for Voice Traffic

   o  Those that recommend how new transport protocols should interact
      with existing ones (e.g. recommendations on AQM [RFC2309],
      Criteria for Evaluating Reliable Multicast Transports [RFC2357],
      `Congestion Control Principles' [RFC2914] and guidelines for new
      RTP profiles [RFC3550]).

   Generally, the RFC series standardises congestion control by
   specifying what implementations of a particular transport protocol
   should or must do in response to congestion events.  RFCs generally
   avoid mandating what users should do, or what networks should allow,
   which are considered policy concerns.  For instance, a TCP
   implementation must comply with the congestion control in RFC2581 to
   be able to claim it is standard TCP, but the RFCs haven't told
   applications that they must use TCP and they certainly haven't told
   users that they must only use applications that use TCP (or a TCP-
   fair alternative).

   Therefore, a move to an emphasis on policy control over congestion
   control will not require changes to the RFCs that specify the
   implementation of non-policy-based congestion control for specific
   transports, or congestion control building blocks.  These will stand
   as implementations that can be used by applications that do not
   desire policy control.  Similarly, mandating that a particular
   transport must be implemented on all hosts, only mandates that it
   must be available, not that applications must use it.

   The RFCs that specify that applications (HTTP/1.1 and RTP) must
   implement safe congestion control behaviour are sufficiently broadly
   stated that they are still meaningful after a shift of the congestion
   control goal-posts.

   The RFCs that define congestion notification (RED [RFC2309] and ECN

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   [RFC3168]) are critical standards for cost-fairness and they are
   already in line with what is required (except for the uncertainty in
   RFC2309 over byte-mode packet marking, is addressed in

   The RFCs that specify best current practice, guidelines and
   principles generally give excellent advice on congestion control.

   However, we will have to deal with the RFCs that recommended that
   applications should use congestion control that results in a flow
   rate similar to that TCP would achieve under the same conditions,
   specifically [RFC2309][RFC2357] and [RFC2914].  For instance RFC2357
   says, "Note that congestion control mechanisms that operate on the
   network more aggressively than TCP will face a great burden of proof
   that they don't threaten network stability."

   These RFCs were written in good faith based on the idea that the IETF
   is responsible for fairness between flow rates, but this memo has now
   shown that there is nothing at all special about flow rates that
   happen to be equal (when the number of flows from one user and flow
   durations are considered).  We can safely assume that the IETF
   certainly does not believe it should have any control over the
   duration of flows, or whether a user should open different flows
   across different parts of the Internet at different times.

   Therefore we will have to update this guidance on fairness to take
   account of the desires of users and of networks for a fairer outcome
   than we have at present.  This guidance will also have to address the
   concerns of the users of transports that implement currently
   standardised variants of flow-rate fairness.

   Some of these `legacy' flows would use more resources and others less
   if they were under policy control:

   o  A future network that protects careful users from aggressive users
      might well curtail some legacy flows sent by over-aggressive users
      (e.g. they might be using application that open many TCP
      connections that transfer for very long durations).

   o  Those legacy flows that use less than they would under policy
      control seem to be of concern, because they will receive a smaller
      share of capacity than they would if other flows were not policy-
      controlled.  However, they can upgrade to use policy control if
      they choose, and they have an incentive to do so.  The network
      will appear more congested than it used to for these flows, but
      they should still _function_ OK, given they were designed to work
      over a best efforts service.

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   Nonetheless, we need to discuss this issue further and reach
   community agreement on how best to handle the transition towards the
   different goal of the more rigorous form of fairness introduced in
   this memo, and the transition away from IETF control and towards user
   policy control of fairness.

10.  IANA Considerations

   This document includes no request to IANA.

11.  Security Considerations

   The whole of Section 5.3 discusses how there are no known ways of
   enforcing flow rate fairness securely in a non-cooperative
   environment like the current Internet, whereas practical, secure
   solutions have been proposed for enforcing cost-fairness.

12.  Conclusions

   The outstanding barrier to realistic resource allocation for the
   Internet is purely religious.  In much of the networking community
   you have to put fairness in terms of flow rates, otherwise your work
   is `obviously' irrelevant.  At minimum, you are an outcast, if not a
   heretic.  But actually basing fairness on flow rates is a false
   god--it has no grounding in philosophy, science, or for that matter
   `commercial reality'.

   It is a classic case of a hegemony where those living within the box
   have been unaware of the existence of the box, let alone the world
   outside the box.  This memo was written from frustration that no-one
   inside the box believed that voices outside the box should be
   listened to.  We expect complaints about the blunt style of this
   document, but it seemed the only way forward was to force the issue,
   by making the box look ridiculous in its own terms.

   Cost fairness was derived from economic concepts of fairness back in
   1997.  Flow rate fairness had been used in good faith as a guiding
   principle, but when it is seen through the wider angle of this
   economic analysis it is clearly broken, even on its own terms.  The
   criticism is far more damning than merely whether allocations are
   fair.  Both the thing being allocated (rate) and what it is allocated
   among (flows) now appear completely daft--both unrealistic and
   impractical.  However, most of the Internet community continued to
   judge fairness using flow rates, apparently unaware that this
   approach had been shown to have no intellectual basis.  In fact, flow

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   rate fairness algorithms are myopic in both space and time--they are
   completely unable to control fairness at all, because they don't
   adjust depending on how many flows users create nor on how long flows

   To be clear, this accusation applies to the so-called `fairness' that
   emerges from the TCP algorithm and the various fair queuing
   algorithms used in production networks.  And, more worryingly, this
   broken idea of flow rate fairness has carried over into the community
   working on replacing the Internet architecture.

   In real life, fairness generally concerns costs or benefits.  Flow
   rate doesn't come anywhere near being a good model of either.  User
   benefit per bit rate might be ten orders of magnitude different for
   different types of flow.  And cost depends on the product of bit rate
   with congestion, which is very variable and nothing like bit rate

   Worse, there is no evidence whatsoever that fairness between flows
   relates in any way to fairness between any real-world entities that
   one would expect to treat fairly, such as people or organisations.
   If fairness is defined between flows, users can just create more
   flows to get a larger allocation.  Worse still, fairness between
   flows is only defined instantaneously, which bears no relation to
   real-world fairness over time.  Once the idea of fairness based on
   integrating costs over time is understood, we cannot see any reason
   to take any form of instantaneous per-flow rate fairness seriously,
   ever again--whether max-min or TCP.

   Even if a system is being designed somehow isolated from the economy,
   where costs will never have to relate to real economic costs, we
   cannot see why anyone would adopt these forms of fairness that so
   badly relate to real-life fairness.  For instance, how can people
   still be designing schemes to achieve max-min flow rate fairness
   years after Kelly's proof that users would have to value bit rate in
   a really weird way in order for max-min fairness to be desirable?

   In contrast, cost fairness promises realistic solutions to all these
   issues.  Further, it seems more tractable to enforce, unlike flow
   rate fairness, which seems inherently broken in this respect.  We
   believe cost fairness is a coherent way forward with all the
   technical barriers overcome, or close to being overcome.  This is
   where the research & standards agenda should be focused.

   If anyone with aspirations to scientific credentials still wants to
   cling to flow rate fairness, they must justify their preposterous
   position with reference to some previously respected fairness notions
   in philosophy or social science.  In this memo, we have shown how the

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   whole ideology is unlikely to be up to such rigor.

13.  Acknowledgements

   Thanks are due to Scott Shenker for persuading me to write this,
   Louise Burness for insight into why people think the way they do, Ben
   Strulo for giving a better way of expressing it and Marc Wennink and
   Damon Wischik for challenging the ideas.  Also thanks to Arnaud
   Jacquet, Jon Crowcroft, Frank Kelly, Peter Key and Toby Moncaster for
   their useful reviews.  Thanks to Michael Welzl and Wes Eddy for their
   excellent survey of Congestion Control in the RFC Series
   [I-D.irtf-iccrg-cc-rfcs], on which Section 9 is based.  And thanks to
   the many people on the tsvwg mailing list who have raised questions
   or challenged assertions, in the process identifying where clarifying
   amendments were needed.  However, the author alone shoulders the
   blame for any offence caused by the bluntness of style.

14.  Comments Solicited

   Comments and questions are encouraged and very welcome.  They can be
   addressed to the IETF Transport Area mailing list
   <>, and/or to the authors.

15.  References

15.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC2309]  Braden, B., Clark, D., Crowcroft, J., Davie, B., Deering,
              S., Estrin, D., Floyd, S., Jacobson, V., Minshall, G.,
              Partridge, C., Peterson, L., Ramakrishnan, K., Shenker,
              S., Wroclawski, J., and L. Zhang, "Recommendations on
              Queue Management and Congestion Avoidance in the
              Internet", RFC 2309, April 1998.

   [RFC2357]  Mankin, A., Romanov, A., Bradner, S., and V. Paxson, "IETF
              Criteria for Evaluating Reliable Multicast Transport and
              Application Protocols", RFC 2357, June 1998.

   [RFC2914]  Floyd, S., "Congestion Control Principles", BCP 41,
              RFC 2914, September 2000.

   [RFC3168]  Ramakrishnan, K., Floyd, S., and D. Black, "The Addition

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              of Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) to IP",
              RFC 3168, September 2001.

15.2.  Informative References

   [AFD]      Pan, R., Breslau, L., Prabhaker, B., and S. Shenker,
              "Approximate Fairness Through Differential Dropping",
              CCR 33(2)23--40, April 2003.

              Strulo, B., Smith, A., and J. Farr, "An Architecture for
              Peer-to-Peer Economies", Proc. 3rd Int'l Conf. On Peer-to-
              Peer Computing (P2P 2003) pp208--209, 2003, <http://

              Ganjali, Y. and N. McKeown, "Update on Buffer Sizing in
              Internet Routers", ACM SIGCOMM CCR 36, October 2006,

              Briscoe, B., "Byte and Packet Congestion Notification",
              draft-briscoe-tsvwg-byte-pkt-mark-00 (work in progress),
              June 2007.

              Friedman, E. and P. Resnick, "The Social Cost of Cheap
              Pseudonyms", Journal of Economics and Management
              Strategy 10(2)173--199, 1998.

   [DCAC]     Gibbens, R. and F. Kelly, "Distributed connection
              acceptance control for a connectionless network", Proc.
              International Teletraffic Congress (ITC16) pp941--952,
              1999, <>.

              Jaffe, J., "A Decentralized, "Optimal", Multiple-User,
              Flow Control Algorithm", Proc. Fifth Int'l. Conf. On
              Computer Communications pp839--844, October 1980.

              Siris, V., "Resource Control for Elastic Traffic in CDMA
              Networks", Proc. ACM MOBICOM'02 , September 2002, <http://

   [Evol_cc]  Gibbens, R. and F. Kelly, "Resource pricing and the

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              evolution of congestion control", Automatica 35(12)1969--
              1985, December 1999,

   [FAST]     Jin, C., Wei, D., and S. Low, "FAST TCP: Motivation,
              Architecture, Algorithms, and Performance", Proc. IEEE
              Conference on Computer Communications (Infocom'04) ,
              March 2004,

   [FairFAQ]  Briscoe, B., "Cost Fairness FAQ", Web page , July 2007, <h

   [FairIdx]  Jain, R., Chiu, D., and W. Hawe, "A Quantitative Measure
              Of Fairness And Discrimination For Resource Allocation In
              Shared Computer Systems", DEC Research Report TR-301,
              September 1984,

              Key, P., Massoulie, L., Bain, A., and F. Kelly, "Fair
              Internet traffic integration: network flow models and
              analysis", Annales des Telecommunications 59 pp1338--1352,
              2004, <>.

              Feldman, M., Papadimitriou, C., Chuang, J., and I. Stoica,
              "FreeRiding and Whitewashing in Peer-to-Peer Systems",
              Proc. Workshop on Practice and Theory of Incentives in
              Networked Systems (PINS'04) pp228--236, 2004,

              Shenker, S., "Fundamental Design Issues for the Future
              Internet", IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in
              Communications 13(7)1176--1188, 1995,

              Welzl, M. and W. Eddy, "Congestion Control in the RFC
              Series", draft-irtf-iccrg-cc-rfcs-00 (work in progress),
              October 2006.

   [Jstce]    Eriksson, J., Faloutsos, M., and S. Krishnamurthy,
              "Justice: Flexible and Enforceable Per-Source Bandwidth
              Allocation", Proc. Networking pp1206--1218, 2005,

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   [MulTCP]   Crowcroft, J. and Ph. Oechslin, "Differentiated End to End
              Internet Services using a Weighted Proportional Fair
              Sharing TCP", CCR 28(3) 53--69, July 1998, <http://

              Braden, R., Clark, D., Shenker, S., and J. Wroclawski,
              "Developing a Next-Generation Internet Architecture",
              DARPA white paper , July 2000,

              IETF, "Congestion and Pre-Congestion Notification (pcn)",
              IETF w-g charter , Feb 2007,

   [PMP]      Odlyzko, A., "A modest proposal for preventing Internet
              congestion", AT&T technical report TR 97.35.1,
              September 1997,

   [PrCong]   MacKie-Mason, J. and H. Varian, "Pricing Congestible
              Network Resources", IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in
              Communications, `Advances in the Fundamentals of
              Networking' 13(7)1141--1149, 1995, <http://

   [RFC0970]  Nagle, J., "On packet switches with infinite storage",
              RFC 970, December 1985.

   [RFC1122]  Braden, R., "Requirements for Internet Hosts -
              Communication Layers", STD 3, RFC 1122, October 1989.

   [RFC1254]  Mankin, A. and K. Ramakrishnan, "Gateway Congestion
              Control Survey", RFC 1254, August 1991.

   [RFC2475]  Blake, S., Black, D., Carlson, M., Davies, E., Wang, Z.,
              and W. Weiss, "An Architecture for Differentiated
              Services", RFC 2475, December 1998.

   [RFC2581]  Allman, M., Paxson, V., and W. Stevens, "TCP Congestion
              Control", RFC 2581, April 1999.

   [RFC2616]  Fielding, R., Gettys, J., Mogul, J., Frystyk, H.,
              Masinter, L., Leach, P., and T. Berners-Lee, "Hypertext
              Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1", RFC 2616, June 1999.

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   [RFC2960]  Stewart, R., Xie, Q., Morneault, K., Sharp, C.,
              Schwarzbauer, H., Taylor, T., Rytina, I., Kalla, M.,
              Zhang, L., and V. Paxson, "Stream Control Transmission
              Protocol", RFC 2960, October 2000.

   [RFC3124]  Balakrishnan, H. and S. Seshan, "The Congestion Manager",
              RFC 3124, June 2001.

   [RFC3426]  Floyd, S., "General Architectural and Policy
              Considerations", RFC 3426, November 2002.

   [RFC3448]  Handley, M., Floyd, S., Padhye, J., and J. Widmer, "TCP
              Friendly Rate Control (TFRC): Protocol Specification",
              RFC 3448, January 2003.

   [RFC3550]  Schulzrinne, H., Casner, S., Frederick, R., and V.
              Jacobson, "RTP: A Transport Protocol for Real-Time
              Applications", STD 64, RFC 3550, July 2003.

   [RFC3551]  Schulzrinne, H. and S. Casner, "RTP Profile for Audio and
              Video Conferences with Minimal Control", STD 65, RFC 3551,
              July 2003.

   [RFC3714]  Floyd, S. and J. Kempf, "IAB Concerns Regarding Congestion
              Control for Voice Traffic in the Internet", RFC 3714,
              March 2004.

   [RFC4341]  Floyd, S. and E. Kohler, "Profile for Datagram Congestion
              Control Protocol (DCCP) Congestion Control ID 2: TCP-like
              Congestion Control", RFC 4341, March 2006.

   [RFC4342]  Floyd, S., Kohler, E., and J. Padhye, "Profile for
              Datagram Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP) Congestion
              Control ID 3: TCP-Friendly Rate Control (TFRC)", RFC 4342,
              March 2006.

   [RFC4585]  Ott, J., Wenger, S., Sato, N., Burmeister, C., and J. Rey,
              "Extended RTP Profile for Real-time Transport Control
              Protocol (RTCP)-Based Feedback (RTP/AVPF)", RFC 4585,
              July 2006.

   [RFC4828]  Floyd, S. and E. Kohler, "TCP Friendly Rate Control
              (TFRC): The Small-Packet (SP) Variant", RFC 4828,
              April 2007.

   [Re-TCP]   Briscoe, B., Jacquet, A., Salvatori, A., Koyabi, M., and
              T. Moncaster, "Re-ECN: Adding Accountability for Causing
              Congestion to TCP/IP", draft-briscoe-tsvwg-re-ecn-tcp-04

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Internet-Draft  Flow Rate Fairness:Dismantling a Religion      July 2007

              (work in progress), July 2007.

   [Re-fb]    Briscoe, B., Jacquet, A., Di Cairano-Gilfedder, C.,
              Salvatori, A., Soppera, A., and M. Koyabe, "Policing
              Congestion Response in an Internetwork Using Re-Feedback",
              ACM SIGCOMM CCR 35(4)277--288, August 2005, <http://

   [Saul05]   Saul, J., "The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention
              of the World", Pub: Viking, Canada ISBN: 0-670-06367-3,

   [SelfMan]  Kelly, F., "Models for a Self-Managed Internet",
              Philosophical Transactions of the Royal
              Society 358(1773)2335--2348, August 2000,

              Siderenko, S., "Characteristics of Perceptions of Social
              Justice in the Contemporary USSR", Chapter in:
              Transitional Agendas: Working Papers from the Summer
              School for Soviet Sociologists,  pub: Centre for Social
              Anthropology and Computing, University of Kent Ch3
              pp41--45, 1991,

   [Swed90]   Swedberg, R., "Economics and Sociology. Redefining their
              Boundaries: Conversations with Economists and
              Sociologists", Pub: Princeton University Press , 1990.

   [TCPcc]    Jacobson, V. and M. Karels, "Congestion Avoidance and
              Control", Proc. ACM SIGCOMM'88 Symposium, Computer
              Communication Review 18(4)314--329, Proc. ACM SIGCOMM'88
              Symposium, Computer Communication Review 18(4)314--329,
              August 1988, <>.

   [Tussle]   Clark, D., Sollins, K., Wroclawski, J., and R. Braden,
              "Tussle in Cyberspace: Defining Tomorrow's Internet", ACM
              SIGCOMM CCR 32(4)347--356, October 2002,

              Mazumdar, R., Mason, L., and C. Douligeris, "Fairness in
              Network Optimal Flow Control: Optimality of Product
              Forms", IEEE Transactions on Communications 39(5)775--782,
              May 1991, <

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              Key, P. and L. Massoulie, "User policies in a network
              implementing congestion pricing", Proc. Workshop on
              Internet Service Quality and Economics , December 1999, <h

   [WFQ]      Demers, A., Keshav, S., and S. Shenker, "Analysis and
              Simulation of a Fair-Queueing Algorithm", ACM SIGCOMM
              CCR 19(4)1--12, September 1989,

              Siris, V., "Service Differentiation and Performance of
              Weighted Window-Based Congestion Control and Packet
              Marking Algorithms in ECN Networks", Computer
              Communications 26(4) 314--326, 2002, <http://

   [XCHOKe]   Chhabra, P., Chuig, S., Goel, A., John, A., Kumar, A.,
              Saran, H., and R. Shorey, "XCHOKe: Malicious Source
              Control for Congestion Avoidance at Internet Gateways",
              Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Network
              Protocols (ICNP-02) , November 2002,

   [XCP]      Katabi, D., Handley, M., and C. Rohrs, "Congestion Control
              for High Bandwidth-Delay Product Networks", ACM SIGCOMM
              CCR 32(4)89--102, October 2002,

              Le Boudec, J-Y., "Rate Adaptation, Congestion Control and
              Fairness: A Tutorial", Web page , November 2005,

   [pBox]     Floyd, S. and K. Fall, "Promoting the Use of End-to-End
              Congestion Control in the Internet", IEEE/ACM Transactions
              on Networking 7(4) 458--472, August 1999,

              Kelly, F., "Charging and Rate Control for Elastic
              Traffic", European Transactions on Telecommunications 8

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              pp33--37, 1997,

              Kelly, F., Maulloo, A., and D. Tan, "Rate control for
              communication networks: shadow prices, proportional
              fairness and stability", Journal of the Operational
              Research Society 49(3) 237--252, 1998,

Author's Address

   Bob Briscoe
   BT & UCL
   B54/77, Adastral Park
   Martlesham Heath
   Ipswich  IP5 3RE

   Phone: +44 1473 645196

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Internet-Draft  Flow Rate Fairness:Dismantling a Religion      July 2007

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