CCWG Working Group - IETF 118

Chair Slides - Chairs, onsite, 10 minutes

5033bis

Martin Duke, onsite, 60 minutes

Non-standard and unspecified algorithms (#35): What are our
expectations for testing?

Matt Mathis: It is generally the case that best effort is faster than
realtime. It's a danger to ever observe a realtime flow that runs faster
than best effort under the same conditions, and that is probably a
sufficient condition.

Christian: I have a hard time thinking anything that is not publically
specified imposes an obligation on anyone else.

Zahed: Maybe SHOULD?

Matt: Typically realtime protocols are attempting to minimise queues,
and therefore should be slower. If they need protection, that has to be
by separate queues, since bandwidth maximisation has to generate a
queue. Therefore the realtime slower than maximising should be
sufficient.

Spencer: It's probably not helpful to have a lot of normative language
around this topic, but it would be helpful to have guidance. RFC5033bis
is targeting BCP, but when we referred to the RMCAT Requirements RFC
8836
, that's Informational, not BCP or standards track. It would be
good for the group to think about where guidance should be stated. e.g.
AVTCORE is working on RTP over QUIC, and has to be careful to say enough
to be helpful without overprescribing.

Gorry: I've heard three different topics about the slide: guidance for
non-IETF protocols, e.g. RMCAT requirements, perhaps other BCPs. How do
we evaluate a protocol if it is not specified? And, thoughts about how
we compete with such protocols since they exist in the wild, and what do
we think is fair.

Lars: We used to have people presenting things in TCPM, and we'd help
them analyse things further. We tried to define a set of scenarios you
might want to test before bringing things to the IETF. It didn't work
that well, and probably still would not. But we will need to explain
that bringing CC to the IETF will require sustained effort, and that we
should expect that also.

Martin: That gives me an idea for further text to add.

Lars: We do need to avoid squashing work with never-ending new
requirements.

Harald: Replying to realtime... seems that traditional fairness is that
it is antisocial to grab more bandwidth than you deserve, but if
realtime protocols share the network, it is antisocial to create larger
queues than strictly necessary. So maybe we should focus on what kinds
of behaviours are antisocial; Reno builds queues. Realtime needs shorter
queues, and will go into a fight-or-flight mode, either shutting down or
fighting for bandwidth share.

Martin: Avoiding bufferbloat is mentioned. There is some text on
fairness; "than you deserve" is under-specific.

Vidhi: Some bandwidth-maximising algorithms do look at queueing delay
(e.g. BBR), but then some realtime protocols may also be
bandwidth-maximising. So these may coexist in the same protocol.
Something can be said about the basic requirements for coexistence, more
nuanced.

Bob: New CCs should not be blamed for the problems of the Internet. We
want new CCs to be better than Reno, but we also cannot say "unless you
are perfect, you cannot come here".

Madhan: Not only best-effort is affecting real-time, since middleboxes
started implementing different queues for real-time. Even within
real-time, one can be sending at a higher rate than another. If it's in
the same queue or a small queue, fairness among real-time may need to be
looked at.

Christian: AQM will become more common, and that takes good care of most
of the fairness issues. I don't think it is even theoretically possible
to ensure fairness by end-to-end means. There are cases when we don't
have AQM, and building queues is antisocial. We should take it as a
fundamental that we should not build queues, and that Cubic and Reno
should be considered obsolete.

Matt: The problem is that in order to measure capacity efficiently, you
need to build a queue. The differences are simply which of delay and
throughput is prioritised. In high-speed network, that's not a problem,
but at the edges there is a conflict, and we should provide different
signals for throughput maximisation.

Vidhi: Seperate queues don't exist unless the network operator provides
them. Building queues not only hurts other flows, such flows also hurt
themselves, so we should not accept bloat.

Gorry: The network is very heterogeneous. There are places where there
are many queues, places where there cannot be. We have to make
congestion control work on everything.

AQMs in scope? (#7) and Desynchronised flows (#11)

Bob: There are billions of FIFO buffers in the internet, and a very
large proportion of the bottlenecks are those. Majority of operators
don't understand AQM. Congestion control therefore must be specified wrt
FIFOs, therefore that should be in the list. New CCs should be those
that behave better in FIFO queues, but we should not be too dogmatic
about that.

Martin: There are two questions here. If someone comes up with a
congestion control, how much evaluation are we going to ask for. Second,
are we going to ask for AQM evaluation here? (there are documents
elsewhere)

Stuart: I hear lots of talk about realtime traffic as if that is a
strange case, and I think we need to stop thinking about that. For a
start, we are using realtime to mean low-delay. Delay sensitive traffic
is not an odd case, it's most of what end user devices do. Second, I
don't think you can ever reach low delay if you don't consider how long
packets wait, and FIFO means you didn't. Therefore we need both AQM and
CC to cooperate.

Lars: There is too much FIFO out there still. We should, unfortunately,
to evaluate CC wrt FIFO, but we should also evaluate AQM interactions.
So, we should be saying "it needs to work in a FIFO Internet and also in
whatever AQM Internet we see it evolving into"

Martin: Of course, running through all the AQMs just because they are
specified is excessive.

Madhan: We should also distinguish between maximising best-effort and
rate-limited maximising best-effort (e.g. streaming). These behave very
differently, and we should consider that.

Ruediger: One should also try not to have the network solving all the
problems of transport; complexity for operators is also a consideration.

Tim: We also insist on moving LHC data around the network with terabit
rates, and a single infrastructure that can deal with that in parallel
with interactive is something we need to look at.

Gorry: We need to have a sensibly configured RED as an option for
evaluation. Did I hear that we should consider both FIFO and AQM, but
not necessarily all AQMs. New AQMs need a working group, should not be
here.

Martin: I'd use a word like 'consider' common AQMs, but not require
detailed simulations or experiments; definitely not an interop matrix.

Matt: Desynchronising flows; flows should not control against queue
full, which creates a bunch of issues. There are a lot of these
considerations which can be demonstrated with a single flow in a vacuum.
Control against full queues should be forbidden, that creates a variety
of problematic issues we have seen. AQM and delay-sensing CC should both
be present.

Gorry: Martin and I would both like to capture what we heard. If you
said something, please send email or PRs!

Magnus: What about multicast CC, is that in scope? I don't think we
should be silent about that topic.

Martin: Is that so different that we need a different document?

Gorry: I've done a bunch of multicast... this can be a very deep topic
in itself. Maybe we should try to find sufficient energy to work on
that, and see if that turns into a paragraph or a document.

Lars: I would suggest to rule multicast out of scope, as it is a very
special animal, and not widely deployed. It may absorb a lot of time for
little benefit.

Bob: I think leaving it out of scope of this document is reasonable, and
the multicast CC document would be much easier to write after this one.

Safe Congestion Control

Matt Mathis, remote, 20 minutes

Bob: There may be a conflict between limited loss and monotonicity.

Matt: This is true, but the rate decreases. When Reno was first
implemented there was no SACK, and under a few % loss it becomes timeout
driven, and so you could not see the synchronous SACK-driven behaviour.
I have seen a flow that sustained 30% loss. That should not be OK. BBR
rather makes the assumption that loss should only happen in probing.

Matt: The document should make it clear that this refers to self-induced
loss. If you are the only flow in a pipe with a very small buffer, what
loss rate do you case? There is a phase-change in ACK-clocked protocols
that you don't have to have if pacing.

Bob: Testing over very low round trip times should be mentioned.

Matt: Yes, testing paths where the window size is 1, 2 or 3.

Bob: There are becoming to be more such paths.

Matt: There are DC paths where the ack time is shorter than a TSO
bundle...

Gorry: I always worry about minRTT and how we understand this. We have a
growing number of L2 networks that do a lot of work and end up naturally
varying the minRTT... so what actually is the minRTT in that
environment?

Matt: I wish that the queue occupancy limit was the last resort, in
other words that other mechanisms come in to effect first. Buffer size
should be limited to a small multiple of RTT. You have to have some way
to derive a minRTT so you can make decisions that will avoid full queue.

Gorry: The starting assumption is that delay is due to queuing, and one
may be at L2 and be necessary, and how do we tell them apart?

Matt: The minRTT is used to limit the backlog, and we're avoiding
infinite backlogs. It can be wonky, but it has to stably avoid infinity.

Stuart: Maybe 0.1% loss is not too ambitious. In a world before ECN
where CC is designed to inflict loss, loss is inevitable. With ECN, I
hope the bottlenecks can signal and the senders respond quickly, I think
we should set our goal to much lower loss.

Matt: You're correct, but you can't avoid the situation of slow start
hitting the bottleneck queue in a situation where you don't get the ECN
marks in time. BBR tried to set a strict limit, but the result was that
slowstart would cause it never to be able to open the window again.
There needs to be a lot of mechanism for connection-state reuse so as to
reduce the number of slowstarts.

Martin Duke: Self-induced loss; 5033bis doesn't have that metric at
present. Just created a github issue on this subject. Have you had a
chance to look at the reorg? In that framework you have trouble creating
the PRs?

Matt: It's a tooling issue...

Martin: lets get together offline

Harald: clarifying question

Matt: Overhead bytes should be constant at the receiver under all
conditions.

Harald: When you start seeing loss over a certain threshold, some
protocols will start sending FEC data, which increases the overhead, but
will only do it once. Is that really a bad idea?

Matt: I suspect that fails to allow new flows to enter.

Lars: Feels like we're revising our understanding here, which is great.
But 5033 is a BCP, and this feels like best future practice. It seems
like we should communicate this widely, and a revised BCP may not be the
best way to do that... we should instead figure out what the emerging
direction is, and communicate them widely.

Matt: There are 13 criteria, some of which can be immediately merged
with wordsmithing, and some of which are not ready. I intend to keep
this document up to date with the state of thought, because 5033 is
inadequate.

Lars: exposing people to these thoughts earlier would be great, and it
would be good to find a way to do that.

Analysis for the Differences Between Standard Congestion Control Schemes

Yoshifumi Nishida, remote, 10 minutes

Christian: We should go away from the concept that there is one generic
TCP congestion control; the usual reference for that is Reno, and we
should not be using that as a reference.

Yoshi: In my understanding, Reno and Cubic are the standardised
protocols. BBR is not a standard.

Christian: We cannot blind ourselves and say it's not in the IETF
therefore it doesn't exist.

Yoshi: in which case we should probably declare Reno obsolete.

Matt: Reno and Cubic both do things which should be banned, comparing
with them should not be encouraged. We need to get past those ASAP.

Yoshi: what would be better?

Matt: I think BBR does a pretty good job, but we caused BBR to be
bug-compatible with Reno

Martin Duke: Rather than putting energy into this, maybe we should just
put energy into 5681bis instead. If it were me, I would update loss
recovery parts of 5681 to point at whichever standard CCs there are, and
have a seperate document that describes Reno. I think that's the most
useful way to contribute in this area.

Containing the Cambrian Explosion in QUIC Congestion Control

Ayush Mishra, remote, 20 minutes (as time permits)

Randall: It seems like this is more like a measurement of similarity of
CCs, rather than a consideration of safety or deployability.

Ayush: Right now you have to way to compare a new implementation to a
draft.

Matt: The suggestion of pinning a reference implementation seems like a
good idea.