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Concluded WG Endpoint Congestion Management (ecm)

Note: The data for concluded WGs is occasionally incorrect.

WG Name Endpoint Congestion Management
Acronym ecm
Area Transport Area (tsv)
State Concluded
Charter charter-ietf-ecm-01 Approved
Document dependencies
Personnel Chair Dr. Vern Paxson
Mailing list Address
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Final Charter for Working Group

The Endpoint Congestion Management (ECM) Working Group has two goals:

1) To provide a standard set of congestion control algorithms
that transport protocols can take advantage of rather than
having to develop their own

2) To develop mechanisms for unifying congestion control across
an appropriate subset of an endpoint's active unicast connections.

For ECM, we define a "congestion group" as one or more unicast
connections communicating with a common destination, and for which a
decision has been made to bundle the connections together into a single
flow for purposes of congestion control.

For each congestion group, a Congestion Manager (CM) will track the
capacity currently available along the network path(s) used by the
group, based on congestion indications such as packet loss information,
in a manner analogous to TCP's "congestion window". The CM will then
pass this information along to a Scheduler module that determines how
that capacity is to be partitioned among the connections in the
congestion group.

Determining the granularity of "common destination" (e.g., particular
subnet, CIDR mask, specific address, or specific address and range of
ports), and making the decision as to which connections should be
bundled together into a single congestion group and which go into
separate groups, are both difficult problems, because they are heavily
influenced by the specifics of both the remote network topology and by
possibly-remote policy decisions. It is the hope of the IESG that the
IRTF will undertake research into exploring how to address these issues.
In the interim, the working group is charged with devising near-term
solutions to these problems with sufficient flexibility to accommodate
those possible alternative schemes sufficient flexibility to accommodate
those possible alternative schemes that can be anticipated. The working
group is also charged with maintaining good communications with the IRTF
effort, should one materialize.

The CM architecture will stress separation of the mechanisms of
determining the current available capacity from the policies of how to
then schedule that capacity. It is a requirement that the architecture
eventually apply both to TCP and to UDP-based (and other IP-based)
transport that includes feedback information concerning congestion
(e.g., packet loss or explicit congestion notification). The initial WG
deliverables will focus on developing CM for unifying connections that
either use TCP or use UDP in a style comparable with TCP in terms of
detecting loss and measuring the round-trip time. It is possible that
the scope of work will be extended in the future to also include
mechanisms for applying congestion control to transports that do not
include such feedback.

The WG is also tasked to investigate the architecture's security
implications; and the degree to which network stability will be
entrusted to correct operation of applications using ALF transports,
rather than operating system kernels.

The WG will initially produce four documents:

  • An Informational RFC on congestion control principles. The
    goal of this document is to explain the need for congestion
    control and what constitutes correct congestion control. One
    specific goal is to illustrate the dangers of neglecting to
    apply proper congestion control, including the sometimes elusive
    argument that congestion control is not needed because the
    protocol will only be run over well-provisioned paths.

  • A Standards Track RFC describing the behavior of a
    standard-conforming Congestion Manager (how it decides the
    current available given congestion feedback from the
    members of a congestion group).

  • A Standards Track RFC giving an abstract API for communication
    between Congestion Manager clients, the Congestion Manager, and
    the Scheduler. This initial work is confined in scope to
    supporting congestion groups made up of either TCP connections
    and/or UDP connections that incorporate the same sort of feedback
    (per packet loss information; RTT computation) as TCP.

  • An Informational RFC giving an example of the behavior of one
    or more Schedulers.

Done milestones

Date Milestone Associated documents
Done Working Group rechartered with revised deliverables or shut down
Done The Congestion Manager (required behavior and Abstract API) submitted to IESG to connsider for publication as a Proposed Standard
Done Congestion control principles documented submitted to IESG for publication as BCP