TCP over Second (2.5G) and Third (3G) Generation Wireless Networks
RFC 3481

Document Type RFC - Best Current Practice (February 2003; No errata)
Also known as BCP 71
Last updated 2015-10-14
Stream IETF
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IESG IESG state RFC 3481 (Best Current Practice)
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Responsible AD Allison Mankin
IESG note The revised draft came out with the fixes, Scott removed last block.
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Network Working Group                                    H. Inamura, Ed.
Request for Comments: 3481                              NTT DoCoMo, Inc.
BCP: 71                                               G. Montenegro, Ed.
Category: Best Current Practice            Sun Microsystems Laboratories
                                                                  Europe
                                                               R. Ludwig
                                                       Ericsson Research
                                                               A. Gurtov
                                                                  Sonera
                                                             F. Khafizov
                                                         Nortel Networks
                                                           February 2003

   TCP over Second (2.5G) and Third (3G) Generation Wireless Networks

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet Best Current Practices for the
   Internet Community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2003).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   This document describes a profile for optimizing TCP to adapt so that
   it handles paths including second (2.5G) and third (3G) generation
   wireless networks.  It describes the relevant characteristics of 2.5G
   and 3G networks, and specific features of example deployments of such
   networks.  It then recommends TCP algorithm choices for nodes known
   to be starting or ending on such paths, and it also discusses open
   issues.  The configuration options recommended in this document are
   commonly found in modern TCP stacks, and are widely available
   standards-track mechanisms that the community considers safe for use
   on the general Internet.

Inamura, et al.          Best Current Practice                  [Page 1]
RFC 3481                    TCP over 2.5G/3G               February 2003

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  2.5G and 3G Link Characteristics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
       2.1  Latency. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
       2.2  Data Rates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
       2.3  Asymmetry  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
       2.4  Delay Spikes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
       2.5  Packet Loss Due to Corruption. . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
       2.6  Intersystem Handovers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
       2.7  Bandwidth Oscillation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   3.  Example 2.5G and 3G Deployments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
       3.1  2.5G Technologies: GPRS, HSCSD and CDMA2000 1XRTT. . . .   8
       3.2  A 3G Technology: W-CDMA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
       3.3  A 3G Technology: CDMA2000 1X-EV. . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   4.  TCP over 2.5G and 3G. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
       4.1  Appropriate Window Size (Sender & Receiver). . . . . . .  11
       4.2  Increased Initial Window (Sender). . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       4.3  Limited Transmit (Sender). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       4.4  IP MTU Larger than Default . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       4.5  Path MTU Discovery (Sender & Intermediate Routers) . . .  13
       4.6  Selective Acknowledgments (Sender & Receiver). . . . . .  13
       4.7  Explicit Congestion Notification (Sender, Receiver &
            Intermediate Routers). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
       4.8  TCP Timestamps Option (Sender & Receiver). . . . . . . .  13
       4.9  Disabling RFC 1144 TCP/IP Header Compression (Wireless
            Host)   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
       4.10 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
   5.  Open Issues  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
   6.  Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
   7.  IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
   8.  Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
   9.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
   10. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
   11. Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
   12. Full Copyright Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Inamura, et al.          Best Current Practice                  [Page 2]
RFC 3481                    TCP over 2.5G/3G               February 2003

1. Introduction

   The second generation cellular systems are commonly referred to as
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