[Search] [txt|pdfized|bibtex] [Tracker] [Email] [Nits]
Versions: 00                                                            
Internet Engineering Task Force                         Matt Mathis
INTERNET DRAFT                                           Jeff Semke
draft-mathis-tcp-ratehalving-00.txt                        PSC
                                                    Jamshid Mahdavi
                                                        August 1999
                                            Expires:  February 2000

           The Rate-Halving Algorithm for TCP Congestion Control

                          Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with
   all provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026.  Internet-Drafts are working
   documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its areas,
   and its working groups.  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet- Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

   The list of Internet-Draft Shadow Directories can be accessed at


   This draft provides a detailed description of the Rate-Halving
   algorithm.  As specified by RFC2581, Fast Recovery adjusts the
   congestion window (cwnd) by transmitting new data only during the
   second half of the recovery interval.  The Rate-Halving algorithm
   adjusts the congestion window by spacing transmissions at the rate of
   one data segment per two segments acknowledged over the entire
   recovery period, thereby sustaining the self-clocking of TCP and
   avoiding a burst.  Since it is largely independent of the details of
   the data retransmission strategy, the Rate-Halving algorithm can be
   used with several standard and experimental TCP implementations:
   NewReno, SACK, and ECN.

   This algorithm was first proposed by Janey Hoe [Hoe95].

1. Introduction

   All "Reno TCP" implementations include TCP Fast Retransmit and Fast
   Recovery algorithms [RFC2581].  Fast retransmit relies on three
   duplicate acknowledgements to trigger the retransmission of a single
   lost segment.  Once the Fast Retransmit has occurred, TCP then waits
   for enough additional duplicate ACKs to arrive, indicating that half
   of the data in flight has left the network.  Only when this has
   occurred will TCP send additional new data.

   The consequence of this delay is that the entire new window of data
   is transmitted in one half of one Round Trip Time (RTT). This burst
   can cause repeated bursts in successive RTTs following the recovery,
   which can result in overall additional burstiness on the network.

   Hoe [Hoe95] suggested that during Fast Recovery the TCP data sender
   space out retransmissions and new data on alternate acknowledgements
   across the entire recovery RTT.  (Note that this eliminates the half
   RTT lull in sending which occurs in Reno TCP.)

   This document describes a Rate-Halving algorithm which implements
   Hoe's idea.  It explains how to implement the algorithm under
   NewReno, SACK, and ECN-style TCP implementations.  This document does
   not discuss the other suggestions in [Hoe95] and [Hoe96], such as a
   change to the ssthresh parameter during Slow-Start, or the NewReno
   proposal [RFC2582].

   Rate-Halving has a number of other useful properties as well.  It
   results in a slightly lower final value for cwnd following recovery,
   which has been suggested by Floyd and others as the more correct
   value.  The Rate-Halving algorithm provides proper adjustments to the
   congestion window in response to congestion signals such as a lost
   segment or an ECN-Echo bit [RFC2481].  These adjustments are largely
   independent of the strategy used to retransmit missing segments,
   allowing Rate-Halving to be extended for use in other TCP
   implementations or even non-TCP transport protocols.

   Definitions of terms and variables that are used throughout the rest
   of the document can be found in Section 2.  Section 3 provides an
   overview of the Rate-Halving algorithm.  Section 4 presents a
   detailed specification of the algorithm.  Section 5 contains related
   commentary, and Section 6 discusses interactions between Rate-Halving
   and other components of TCP.

2. Definitions

   The following terms are used throughout the document, and are defined
   here for clarity.  The definitions within quotations in this section
   are included from the cited documents.

   SENDER MAXIMUM SEGMENT SIZE (SMSS):  "The SMSS is the size of the
      largest segment that the sender can transmit.  This value can be
      based on the maximum transmission unit of the network, the path
      MTU discovery [RFC1191] algorithm, RMSS, or other factors.  The
      size does not include the TCP/IP headers and options." from

   ADJUSTMENT INTERVAL:  The time during which TCP reduces the
      congestion window after experiencing congestion.

   REPAIR INTERVAL:  The time during which TCP retransmits lost

   RATE-HALVING STATE (rh_state):  A state variable indicating what
      form of adjustments are being performed during adjustment
      intervals.  The Rate-Halving states are described in Section 4.1.

   CONGESTION WINDOW (cwnd):  "A TCP state variable that limits the
      amount of data a TCP can send.  At any given time, a TCP MUST NOT
      send data with a sequence number higher than the sum of the
      highest acknowledged sequence number and the minimum of cwnd and
      rwnd." from [RFC2581].  Cwnd, as used by Reno and NewReno TCPs, is
      used as an offset from snd_una (the highest-sequence segment
      acknowledged by the receiver, indicating that all segments less
      than snd_una have been received).  During recovery, Reno and
      NewReno artificially inflate cwnd as dupacks are received.

   RATE-HALVING CONGESTION WINDOW (rhcwnd): In order to differentiate
      the usage of cwnd within Rate-Halving from the cwnd used by Reno
      and NewReno [RFC2582], we introduce a new but comparable
      congestion window variable called rhcwnd.  Rhcwnd is not inflated
      by dupacks during congestion episodes.  It represents the amount
      of data that the sender is allowed to have outstanding.  It is not
      considered an offset to snd_una, but rather a count of the data in
      flight, regardless of whether the segments contain new or
      retransmitted data.

   PRIOR_RHCWND (prior_rhcwnd): The value of rhcwnd saved when the
      adjustment interval begins.

   LOSS WINDOW (LW):  "The loss window is the size of the congestion
      window after a TCP sender detects loss using its retransmission
      timer." from [RFC2581]

   MAX_SEQ (max_seq): The maximum sequence number transmitted for
      the current connection.

   PRIOR_MAX_SEQ (prior_max_seq): The maximum sequence number
      transmitted before the start of an adjustment interval.

   FORWARD ACKNOWLEDGEMENT (fack): The highest sequence number known to
      have reached the receiver, plus one.  (This includes SACK
      information, and is different than the variable snd.una when
      losses have occurred).  The use of the fack state variable (and
      the retran_data state variable, below) was originally described by
      Mathis [MM96].  The details for setting fack can be found in
      Section 6.1.2.

   DUPLICATE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (dupacks): Acknowledgments that carry the
      same sequence number as an earlier acknowledgment.  In order to
      qualify as a dupack, the ack must carry no data, and must not be a
      window update.  Dupacks provide an indication that the segment
      following the sequence number in the dupack may have been lost,
      but that some future segment has been received.  The state
      variable "dupacks" is a count of the current number of
      "outstanding" dupacks.  By "outstanding", we mean dupacks which
      have been received, and which represent data not yet covered by

   PARTIAL ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Following congestion, these are "ACKs which
      cover new data, but not all the data outstanding when loss was
      detected" from [RFC2582].

   FULL ACKNOWLEDGMENT: Following congestion, an ACK which covers all
      data outstanding when a loss was detected (i.e. an ack that is
      greater than or equal to prior_max_seq.)

   RETRANSMITTED DATA (retran_data):  The amount of retransmitted data
      outstanding in the network.

   NUM_RETRANS (num_retrans): The number of bytes retransmitted during
      the current repair interval.

   ECN-ECHO ACK PACKET:  "If the sender receives an ECN-Echo ACK packet
      (that is, an ACK packet with the ECN-Echo flag set in the TCP
      header), then the sender knows that congestion was encountered in
      the network on the path from the sender to the receiver.  The
      indication of congestion should be treated just as a congestion
      loss in non-ECN-Capable TCP." from [RFC2481].

   In addition to the above definitions, we use the following commonly-
   used TCP state variables and terms:  ssthresh [RFC2581], snd.una,
   snd.nxt [RFC793], and segment [RFC2581].

3. Overview of the Rate-Halving Algorithm

   The Rate-Halving (RH) algorithm is designed to reduce the congestion
   window following the detection of congestion in the network.
   Rate-Halving reduces rhcwnd over one round trip by transmitting one
   new segment for every two segments acknowledged by the receiver.  The
   Rate-Halving algorithm also detects the end of this round trip,
   employing several different checks to perform this detection most
   accurately.  The choice of which segment to send at any given point
   in time is completely independent of the Rate-Halving algorithm,
   allowing Rate-Halving to be used simultaneously with ECN (where no
   retransmissions occur) [RFC2481], NewReno (where retransmissions are
   spread out one per RTT) [RFC2582], or SACK (where holes are filled
   soon after they are detected) [RFC2018].

   As a result of the separation of window reduction from data
   retransmission, the term "recovery" ceases to have a clear meaning.
   We replace it with two terms: "adjustment interval" (referring to the
   round trip containing the window adjustment) and "repair interval"
   (referring to the retransmission of missing data).  The adjustment
   interval is entered immediately upon indication of the possible onset
   of congestion.  Two possible indications of congestion are presence
   of the ECN-Echo bit, or indications of a packet loss via duplicate
   ACK or via presence of a SACK block.

   During the adjustment interval, the window is reduced by sending one
   data segment for each two segments which are acknowledged, as per the
   Rate-Halving algorithm (described in detail below).  At the end of
   the adjustment interval, additional checks are made to update
   ssthresh and to ensure that the final value of rhcwnd is appropriate.
   Due to the additional window reduction for the lost data, the final
   value for rhcwnd is 1/2 of the correctly delivered portion of the
   window of data which was in the network at the time of detection.

4. Complete Rate-Halving Algorithm

   This section describes the complete Rate-Halving algorithm.  Most of
   the complexity of the specification is a result of the need for
   backwards compatibility with hosts that do not support SACK or ECN.

   For all subsections of this section, additional discussion and
   explanation may be found in Section 5 under the same subsection

4.1 Rate-Halving states

   Rate-Halving is specified as a state machine with the following

   RH_INCR - Rate-Halving is not performing any downward window
      adjustment.   This corresponds to TCP being in either Slow-start
      or the linear increase region.

   RH_EXACT - Rate-Halving is reducing the window with accurate knowledge
      of what data has left the network.   This state normally follows
      congestion indicated by ECN or SACK.

   RH_EST - Rate-Halving is reducing the window while estimating the
      amount of data that has left the network.   This state is
      analagous to Reno's Fast Recovery.

   RH_EST_REPAIR - Rate-Halving is holding the window constant while
      repairing multiple holes in a manner similar to NewReno on
      successive round trips after the window adjustment has completed.

        +----------------+                     +----------------+
        | RH_INCR        |-------------------->| RH_EXACT       |
        |                | 4.4 New SACK or ECN |                |
        | 4.2 Grow rhcwnd|                     | 4.6 Reduce     |
        |                |<--------------------|     rhcwnd     |
        | 4.3 Transmit   | 4.8 Minor reorder   |                |
        |                |                     | 4.3 Transmit   |
        |                |<--------------------|                |
        |                | 4.10 New data ACKed |                |
        |                | 4.14 Bound          |                |
        |                |                     |                |
        |                |<--------------------|                |
        |                | 4.15 Retransmit     |                |
        |                |        Timeout      |                |
        +----------------+                     +----------------+
          ^  ^  ^  ^  |                                       |
          |  |  |  |  |                                       |
          |  |  |  |  |                                       v
          |  |  |  |  |                                       |
      4.14|  |  |  |  v                           +-----------+
     Bound|  |  |  |  |                           | 4.5 Dupacks
          |  |  |  |  +---------------------------+
      4.13|  |  |  |                  4.5 Dupacks |
    Adjust|  |  |  +---------------+              |
          |  |  |                  |              |
      4.11|  |  +---------------+  |              |
      Full|  |                  |  |              |
       Ack|  +---------------+  |  |              |
          |                  |  |  |              v
        +----------------+   |  |  |           +----------------+
        | RH_EST_REPAIR  |   |  |  +-<---------| RH_EST         |
        |                |   |  |  4.8 Reorder |                |
        | 4.9 Partial ACK|   |  |              | 4.7 Reduce     |
        |                |   |  +-<------------|     rhcwnd     |
        | 4.3 Transmit   |   |    4.11 Full Ack|                |
        |                |   |    4.13 Adjust  | 4.3 Transmit   |
        |                |   ^    4.14 Bound   |                |
        |                |   |                 | 4.9 Partial ACK|
        |                |->-+---------<-------|                |
        |                | 4.15 Timeout        |                |
        |                |                     |                |
        |                |<--------------------|                |
        |                | 4.12 Exit if rhcwnd |                |
        |                |  <= prior_rhcwnd/2  |                |
        |                |                     |                |
        |                |-------------------->|                |
        |                | 4.5 Re-enter        |                |
        +----------------+                     +----------------+

4.2 Increasing Rhcwnd

   Upon receipt of a new ACK in RH_INCR, apply Congestion Avoidance or
   Slow-start per RFC2581 only when:

      snd.nxt - fack + retran_data + SMSS >= rhcwnd

4.3 Data Transmission

   While honoring all other sending constraints (such as receiver window),
   in any state, transmit data of length "len" if

      (snd.nxt - fack + retran_data + len) < rhcwnd

   If the data is a retransmission,

      retran_data += len

4.4 Entering RH_EXACT State

   Transition from RH_INCR to RH_EXACT if the ACK either carries an
   ECN-Echo bit, or indicates a new hole via a SACK option.

   Store the following information:

      prior_rhcwnd = rhcwnd
      prior_max_seq = max_seq

4.5 Entering RH_EST State

   From either RH_INCR or RH_EXACT, transition to RH_EST upon receipt of
   a dupack with no SACK options.

   From the RH_EST_REPAIR state, transition to RH_EST upon receipt of an
   ACK with the ECN-Echo bit set.

   If the transition is from RH_INCR or RH_EST_REPAIR to RH_EST, store
   the following information:

      prior_rhcwnd = rhcwnd
      prior_max_seq = max_seq

4.6 Reduction of Rhcwnd in RH_EXACT State

   For each ACK received while in state RH_EXACT, reduce rhcwnd by 1/2
   the distance fack advances plus 1/2 the size of any new holes.

4.7 Reduction of Rhcwnd in RH_EST State

   For each dupack received while in state RH_EST:

      rhcwnd  -= SMSS/2
      fack     = min((fack + SMSS), max_seq)
      dupacks += 1

4.8 Detection of Reordering; Return to RH_INCR

   Reordering detection applies only if an ECN-Echo has not been received
   and a retransmission has not been sent since the adjustment interval

   In RH_EXACT, reordering has occurred if an ACK arrives carrying no
   ECN-Echo bit and no SACK blocks.

   In RH_EST, reordering has occurred if a partial or full ACK arrives.

   If reordering is detected, transition to RH_INCR and restore the
   value of rhcwnd, without performing the bounding checks of 4.14:

      rhcwnd = prior_rhcwnd;

4.9 Processing Partial Acks in RH_EST / RH_EST_REPAIR

   For each partial acknowledgement received in RH_EST or RH_EST_REPAIR:

   1. Set retran_data to 0.
   2. Reduce dupacks by [(bytes of data acked)/SMSS - 1].
   3. For the purpose of data transmission, note that a new hole exists
      at snd.una.  The new hole is eligible for retransmission if
      dupacks > 3, after being reduced in step 2.

4.10 Completion of RH_EXACT; Return to RH_INCR

   In RH_EXACT, Rate Halving is complete if one of the following occurs
   (indicating that a round trip time has passed):

   1. An ACK or SACK arrives which acknowledges data beyond

   2. An ACK or SACK arrives which acknowledges a segment retransmitted
      after entering the RH_EXACT state.

   Transition to state RH_INCR and perform the bounding checks in 4.14.

4.11 Completion of RH_EST and RH_EST_REPAIR; Return to RH_INCR

   In state RH_EST or RH_EST_REPAIR, adjustment and repair are both
   complete when a full acknowledgement is received (i.e. snd.una >=

   When this occurs, transition to state RH_INCR, perform the estimation
   adjustment in 4.13, followed by the bounding checks in 4.14.

4.12 "NewReno" Case: Transition from RH_EST to RH_EST_REPAIR

   In state RH_EST, adjustment (but not repair) is complete when

      rhcwnd <= prior_rhcwnd / 2

   Transition from state RH_EST to state RH_EST_REPAIR.

4.13 Corrections for Estimation upon return to RH_INCR

   When adjustment and repair are complete after an estimated recovery,
   perform the following adjustment to compute the correct value for

      rhcwnd = (prior_rhcwnd - num_retrans) / 2;

4.14 Application of Bounding Paremeters

   When transitioning back to RH_INCR, update the TCP state variables
   as follows:

      if (rhcwnd > prior_rhcwnd/2) rhcwnd = prior_rhcwnd/2;
      ssthresh = rhcwnd;
      if (ssthresh < prior_rhcwnd/4) ssthresh = prior_rhcwnd/4;

   Check for a new condition that would cause entry into another
   adjustment interval (e.g. the presence of SACK blocks reporting a new
   hole (beyond prior_max_seq).

4.15 Retransmission Timeouts

   If a timeout occurs while in a non-RH_INCR state, set

      ssthresh = prior_rhcwnd / 2
      rhcwnd = LW

   and return to the RH_INCR.

   Otherwise, if a timeout occurs while in RH_INCR, set

      ssthresh = rhcwnd /2
      rhcwnd = LW

5. Discussion of Rate-Halving Algorithm

   Each of the subsections of Section 5 provide discussion for the
   corresponding subsection of Section 4.

5.1 Rate-Halving States

   The Rate-Halving algorithm may be viewed as a finite state machine
   with four states.  These states are independent of whether the TCP
   connection is in Congestion Avoidance or Slow-start.

5.2 Increasing Rhcwnd

   The left hand term in 4.2 includes all outstanding transmitted and
   retransmitted segments that are still in the network, plus one
   additional segment to account for the effects of rounding due to

   This restriction assures that rhcwnd only grows as long as TCP
   actually succeeds in injecting enough data into the network to test
   the path.  If TCP is throttled by something other than rhcwnd, then
   there is no assurance that rhcwnd of data will actually fit into the

   This test should be done prior to taking any data which was ACKed or
   SACKed in the incoming segment into account.  This may be
   accomplished either by performing this check immediately upon
   receiving an ACK, or by remembering the total amount of new and
   retransmitted data ACKed or SACKed by the segment, and adding this to
   the term on the left hand side.

   Since it is never safe to open the window while estimating what data
   has left the network, Reno and NewReno can never open the window
   while dupacks are present - e.g during any adjustment or repair

5.3 Data Transmission

   Rhcwnd always specifies an amount of data allowed to be in flight in
   the network. The expression (snd.nxt - fack + retran_data + len) is a
   measure of the outstanding data.  Data may be transmitted whenever
   the amount of outstanding data is less than the amount allowed by

   Contrast this to Reno, where cwnd is used as an offset to snd.una,
   specifying which sequence numbers may be sent.  As a consequence the
   cwnd variable is overloaded during recovery (e.g. setting cwnd=SMSS
   to force Fast Retransmit.)

   To illustrate that the new semantics for rhcwnd in Rate-Halving are
   compatible with those of cwnd in Reno, observe that in Reno the
   boundary between being able to send data and not send data is:

      snd.nxt = snd.una + cwnd

      cwnd = rhcwnd - retran_data + dupacks*SMSS
      retran_data = 0 or 1 depending on whether a retransmission has
                    been sent.

   Substituting and rearranging the Reno equations yields equation 1:

      (1) rhcwnd = snd.nxt - snd.una - dupacks*SMSS + retran_data

   In Rate-Halving, the boundary occurs at:

      awnd = rhcwnd,

      awnd = snd.nxt - fack + retran_data
      fack = snd.una + losses + SACKed data

   Substituting and rearranging the Rate-Halving equations yields:

      (2) rhcwnd = snd.nxt - snd.una - losses - SACKed data +

   It can be seen that equations 1 and 2 are quite similar.  The losses
   known by Rate-Halving (via SACK options) are not known to Reno.  In
   addition, the amount of data that has left the network (indicated by
   SACK options to Rate-Halving) must be estimated by Reno as
   dupacks*SMSS.  Reno only allows one retransmitted segment per round
   trip, while Rate-Halving permits (and keeps track of) more.

   When SACK options are not used by the receiver, the Rate-Halving
   sender must estimate by using equation 1.

   Similar analysis can be applied to The "pipe" algorithm used for SACK
   in the "ns" [NS] simulator and some SACK implementations.

5.4 Entering RH_EXACT State

   Note that the sender can infer congestion by receiving a segment with
   the ECN-Echo bit set, or by receiving an Ack carrying a SACK option
   which indicates a new hole.  In both of these cases, the amount of
   data that has left the network is known, either because no data was
   lost, or the amount of data that was lost is reported by SACK

   In the case of a suspected loss, enter the adjustment interval
   immediately.  While this may seem to be a major change to TCP, in
   fact we retain the "3 Dupacks" check (and make it more robust) which
   is included in Reno TCP.  Segment retransmissions are determined by
   the SACK scoreboard, as discussed in section 6.2.1.  During the early
   portion of the adjustment interval, one new segment will generally be
   transmitted prior to retransmitting the lost segment which triggered
   the adjustment.

   The algorithm will detect if the segments have merely been reordered,
   and the adjustment is terminated (see section 5.8 below).

   Prior_rhcwnd and prior_max_seq will be used for end-of-adjustment

5.5 Entering RH_EST State

   The significance of this state is that the amount of data in the
   network is estimated, since exact information is not available
   through SACK options.

   If the prior state was RH_EST_REPAIR, then this is a new reduction
   triggered by detecting a new ECN prior to the completion of a
   NewReno-style repair.

   The sender can also infer congestion by receiving duplicate
   acknowledgements.  In this case, it is known that a segment was lost
   or misordered, but the number of missing segments is not known.  The
   number can only be estimated by counting the number of duplicate ACKs
   received.  Even if RH_EXACT was entered with an ECN-Echo, the RH_EST
   state can be entered from RH_EXACT if a dupack is later received.

5.6 Reduction of Rhcwnd in RH_EXACT State

   Rather than counting received ACKs, the distance (in bytes) that fack
   advances is explicitly used.  This ensures that the window is
   properly reduced even when the receiver is sending delayed ACKs
   during congestion episodes (such as with ECN).

   Each SACK option that indicates a new hole triggers a reduction of
   rhcwnd by all of data that was lost plus 1/2 the data that was

   During RH, we reduce rhcwnd as data leaves the network.  The net
   effect is to cause the transmission of one new segment for every two
   segments reported by the receiver.

5.7 Reduction of Rhcwnd in RH_EST State

   Assume that each dupack is for a segment of size SMSS, and that the
   rate is being halved.  This estimate is designed to result in rhcwnd
   and fack values that are reasonable, given that more exact
   information is not available about which segments have left the
   network.  These estimates are comparable to (and no worse than) the
   estimates that Reno uses during Fast Recovery.  When the repair
   interval ends, final adjustments recalibrate rhcwnd and fack to their
   correct values.

5.8 Detection of Reordering; Return to RH_INCR

   Note that there is a choice of what do with the congestion window
   when segment reordering is detected.  In principle, rhcwnd could be
   set to an arbitrary function of prior_rhcwnd.

   For example, one could choose to penalize networks which reorder
   segments by forcibly reducing rhcwnd:

      rhcwnd = prior_rhcwnd / 2;

   A gentler form of reordering penalty would be to leave rchwnd as
   updated by Rate-Halving (Reduce rhcwnd as indicated in section 4.6 or
   4.7 until the reordering has been detected).

   The choice to restore rhcwnd results in no penalty for reordering:

      rhcwnd = prior_rhcwnd;

   This is functionally equivalent to today's Reno implementations, and
   may be less bursty in some cases.  (RH is less bursty in cases in
   which a single new segment is transmitted prior to detecting the
   reordering, resulting in a burst which is one segment smaller than
   the equivalent Reno burst).

   The optimal action is probably between these extremes, and should be
   the subject of future research.

5.9 Processing Partial Acks in RH_EST / RH_EST_REPAIR

   A partial ACK indicates that one hole has been filled (since it is
   now covered by an ACK) and that another one exists.  In step 1,
   retran_data is cleared since the retransmitted segments left the
   network when the partial ACK was generated.

   Some of the segments that generated duplicate ACKs are acknowledged
   by the partial ACK.  These segments must be accounted for in the
   count of dupacks, so step 2 reduces dupacks by the amount of data
   that has just been acknowledged.

   A new hole is indicated by the partial ack one round trip after the
   retransmission for the previous hole was sent.  The only way in which
   the segment indicated by the partial ack would be falsely
   retransmitted would be if the segment was reordered (delayed) by more
   than a round trip time.

   If the previous hole was caused by a reordered segment, then the
   partial ack may appear without sending a retransmission (and with
   dupacks < 3).  In this case, the new hole is not eligible for
   retransmission until dupacks >= 3.

5.10 Completion of RH_EXACT; Return to RH_INCR

   Under severe reordering (after retransmission) condition 2 may cause
   a premature exit from the adjustment interval.  This would leave
   rhcwnd too large.  However the bounding check in 4.14 will force the
   required 1/2 window reduction.

   Case 2 might be particularly tricky to implement for cases in which
   SACK, ECN, and NewReno are all supported.  Here are some guidelines
   for implementation:

   ACKs or SACKs which show the arrival of retransmitted data may not be
   reliable indicators of case 2.  This is because it is possible (and
   even likely) for the data repair interval to continue well beyond the
   end of the adjustment interval.  Should a second adjustment interval
   begin as a result of subsequent lost data, it is possible for holes
   to be filled which don't satisfy case 2.  Therefore, a more rigorous
   test is needed for retransmitted segments.

   Assuming that there is a SACK scoreboard, one possible implementation
   is to store an adjustment interval ID number with each
   retransmission.  This ID will clearly indicate during which
   adjustment interval a retransmission occurred.  (The ID may also be
   "zero" indicating the retransmissions occurred outside of an
   adjustment interval).  ACKs and SACKs which are received for
   retransmissions can then be definitively tested against condition 2.

5.11 Completion of RH_EST and RH_EST_REPAIR; Return to RH_INCR

   A full ack indicates that all segments that were outstanding at the
   first indication of congestion have been successfully received.
   Therefore, the adjustment and repair intervals should be completed,
   but final adjustments and checks must be made to ensure the validity
   of state variables.

5.12 "NewReno" Case: Transition from RH_EST to RH_EST_REPAIR

   When the window has been reduced by half, but a full ack has not yet
   been received, it is necessary to end the adjustment interval,
   holding the window constant while the repair interval completes.

   In the RH_EST_REPAIR state, rhcwnd is not increased or decreased.
   While in this state, retransmissions will be sent once per round trip
   time, as in NewReno until a full ACK ends the repair interval.

5.13 Corrections for Estimation upon return to RH_INCR

   The final adjustment ensures that the resulting congestion window is
   half of the data that successfully passed through the network during
   the congested round trip.

5.14 Application of Bounding Paremeters

   At the end of the RH_EXACT state, rhcwnd has been set to
   (prior_rhcwnd-loss)/2, where loss is the number of bytes of data that
   have been lost during the current adjustment interval.

   In some cases, it is possible for rhcwnd to be set to an invalid
   result (such as severe reordering mentioned above or improper
   acknowledgement strategies of the receiver).

   Rate-Halving includes a set of Bounding Parameters which are used to
   guarantee that the Rate-Halving algorithm will make appropriate
   adjustments to the window.  The prior_rhcwnd/2 check guarantees that,
   no matter what else happens, rhcwnd will always be reduced by a
   factor of two.

   The prior_rhcwnd/4 check ensures that the TCP connection is not
   unduly harmed by extreme network conditions.  The choice to set
   ssthresh (rather than rhcwnd) to prior_rhcwnd/4 prevents sending a
   burst into the network as a result of suddenly increasing rhcwnd.  A
   short period of Slow-start will follow, allowing rhcwnd to quickly
   reach the bounding parameter of prior_rhcwnd/4.

   Note that it is possible to exit the adjustment interval on an ACK,
   and re-enter a new adjustment interval as a result of the same
   acknowledgement.  For example, an ACK may carry both acknowledgement
   of retransmitted data, causing an exit per 4.10 case 2, and an
   ECN-Echo bit (indicating that the retransmitted segment was marked),
   causing a new adjustment interval per 4.4.

5.15 Retransmission Timeouts

   Timeout behavior is nearly identical to Reno.  Since rhcwnd is
   reduced during non-RH_INCR states, it is necessary to use
   prior_rhcwnd to prevent an overly agressive adjustment in the
   ssthresh calculations.

   See section 6.2.2 for information about SACK reneging (SACK receiver
   discards data that it has already sent SACK blocks for [RFC2018]).

   Do not clear the exponential backoff multiplier after the timeout if
   the ECN-Echo bit is set on the ACK that results from the

6. Additional Implementation Notes

6.1 ACK processing

6.1.1 Order of actions to be taken

   Upon receiving an acknowledgement, the following actions should be

   1. Save a copy of the following state variables for use during
      processing of this ACK: snd.una, fack, retran_data.
   2. Update the scoreboard, snd.una, fack, and retran_data.
   3. Note if the ECN-Echo bit is set.
   4. Check for exit conditions from RH states (4.8, 4.10, 4.11).
   5. Check for transition to RH_EST_REPAIR state (4.12).
   6. Process partial ACKs (4.9).
   7. Check for entrance conditions for RH (4.4, 4.5).
   8. Adjust the window using state variables as they existed at the
      time the ACK was received (4.2, 4.6, 4.7).
   9. If the window allows (4.3), send a new segment or a retransmission
      as determined by the scoreboard (6.2.1).

6.1.2 Setting FACK

      When in the RH_EXACT or RH_INCR state:
         When each ACK is received, set the fack state variable to be
         the maximum of: (1) the highest sequence number which has been
         acknowledged plus one, and (2) the highest sequence number
         which has appeared in a SACK block plus one.

      When in the RH_EST or RH_EST_REPAIR state:
         When each ACK is received, set the fack state variable to be
         snd_una + (1 + dupacks) * SMSS.

6.2 Data Recovery

6.2.1 SACK Scoreboard

   A SACK scoreboard keeps track of data blocks that have been received
   after some data has been lost, as indicated by SACK options.  The
   data transmission rule of 4.3 indicates only WHEN to send data (based
   on congestion control), not WHAT data to send (based on reliable
   delivery).  The scoreboard keeps track of what data has been
   received, and indicates what data is eligible for retransmission.

   Reno TCP uses a threshold of 3 dupacks to determine that a missing
   segment has been lost, not just reordered.  By immediately entering
   the adjustment interval, not only can a Rate-Halving implementation
   apply the dupack threshold to the first loss, but also to all
   subsequent losses.  Mathis and Mahdavi presented a method for
   implementing this logic, termed thresholded retransmissions, in the
   scoreboard [MM97].  A data block is eligible for retransmission only
   after the hole has been observed at least three times, as indicated
   by dupacks, or SACK options with sequence numbers that are higher
   than the data block in question.

   If no data is eligible for retransmission, new data may be sent when
   allowed by the congestion window and the receiver's advertised window

   When no SACK information is available, such as in states RH_EST or
   RH_EST_REPAIR, a single-element scoreboard may be used to store loss
   and retransmission state information.

6.2.2 Retransmission timeout/SACK reneging

   RFC2018 recommends (with a SHOULD) that the scoreboard be cleared
   when a timeout is experienced, since the timeout might indicate that
   the SACK receiver may have reneged (discarded data that it has
   already sent a SACK option for).  If this RFC2018 recommendation is
   followed, then perform the following actions in addition to the
   actions specified in 4.15:

      snd.nxt = snd.una
      fack    = snd.una
      retran_data = 0

   It is believed to be safe to relax the SHOULD in RFC2018, such that
   when a retransmission timeout is experienced, the scoreboard can be
   kept in order to retain the information about which segments have
   already been received.  When allowing the scoreboard to be maintained
   through a timeout (conflicting with RFC2018), the following actions
   must be performed in addition to the actions specified in 4.15:

      snd.nxt = fack
      retran_data = 0

   In this case, snd.nxt is pulled back to fack, which is the highest
   sequence number known to have reached the receiver.  Normal
   transmissions will begin at this sequence number, and retransmissions
   will continue to be issued by the scoreboard.  (Following the
   timeout, fack will advance to the highest ACK or SACK block received.
   snd.nxt should be pulled ahead any time that fack > snd.nxt.)

   If the scoreboard is not discarded during a timeout, the sender must
   be able to detect that the receiver has reneged.  If snd.una advances
   to a block stored in the scoreboard, the sender knows that a SACK
   renege has occurred, and must clear the scoreboard, setting

      fack = snd.una
      snd.nxt = snd.una
      retran_data = 0

   There are three options for what should happen to the window when the
   sender detects that the receiver has reneged: 1) force a retransmit
   timeout, 2) cut the window in half, or 3) do nothing to the window.
   More experimentation is needed to determine the correct approach.

7. Acknowledgements

   The authors would like to acknowledge Janie Hoe's work, which
   introduced the concepts of sending new data during recovery and
   spacing out data segments during the round trip following a loss.
   The authors would also like to thank Van Jacobson and Sally Floyd for
   inspirational conversations about many of the ideas in this document.
   In addition, the authors are grateful to Mark Allman, Jitendra
   Padhye, and Khrys Myrddin for their constructive feedback about
   earlier drafts of this document.

8. References

   [Hoe95] J. Hoe, Startup Dynamics of TCP's Congestion Control and
   Avoidance Schemes. Master's Thesis, MIT, 1995.  URL "http://ana-

   [Hoe96] J. Hoe, Improving the Start-up Behavior of a Congestion
   Control Scheme for TCP.  In ACM SIGCOMM, August 1996.  URL

   [MM96] M. Mathis, J. Mahdavi, "Forward Acknowledgement: Refining TCP
   Congestion Control," SIGCOMM 96, August 1996.

   [MM97] M. Mathis, J. Mahdavi, "TCP Rate-Halving with Bounding
   Parameters," December 1997.
   URL "http://www.psc.edu/networking/papers/FACKnotes/current/".

   [NS] The UCB/LBNL/VINT Network Simulator (NS). URL "http://www-

   [RFC793] J. Postel, "Transmission Control Protocol," RFC793,
   September 1981.

   [RFC1191] J. Mogul, and S. Deering, "Path MTU Discovery," RFC1191,
   November 1990.

   [RFC2018] M. Mathis, J. Mahdavi, S. Floyd, and A. Romanow, "TCP
   Selective Acknowledgment Options," RFC2018, October 1996.

   [RFC2481] K. Ramakrishnan, and S. Floyd, "A Proposal to add Explicit
   Congestion Notification (ECN) to IP," RFC2481, January 1999.

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

   [RFC2582] S. Floyd, and T. Henderson, "The NewReno Modification to
   TCP's Fast Recovery Algorithm," RFC2582, April 1999.

9. Security Considerations

   RFC 2581 discusses general security considerations concerning TCP
   congestion control.  This document describes a specific algorithm
   that conforms with the congestion control requirements of RFC 2581,
   and so those considerations apply to this algorithm, too.  There are
   no known additional security concerns for this specific algorithm.


   Matthew Mathis and Jeffrey Semke
   Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
   4400 Fifth Avenue
   Pittsburgh, PA  15213

   EMail: mathis@psc.edu, semke@psc.edu

   Jamshid Mahdavi
   Novell, Inc.
   Mailstop: SJF-B492
   2211 North First Street
   San Jose, CA  95131

   EMail: mahdavi@novell.com, kml@novell.com