TCP in 5G mmWave Networks: Link Level Retransmissions and MP-TCP

Michele Polese, Rittwik Jana, Michele Zorzi

MmWave communications, one of the cornerstones of future 5G mobile networks, are characterized at the same time by a potential multi-gigabit capacity and by a very dynamic channel, sensitive to blockage, wide fluctuations in the received signal quality, and possibly also sudden link disruption. While the performance of physical and MAC layer schemes that address these issues has been thoroughly investigated in the literature, the complex interactions between mmWave links and transport layer protocols such as TCP are still relatively unexplored. This paper uses the ns-3 mmWave module, with its channel model based on real measurements in New York City, to analyze the performance of the Linux TCP/IP stack (i) with and without link-layer retransmissions, showing that they are fundamental to reach a high TCP throughput on mmWave links and (ii) with Multipath TCP (MP-TCP) over multiple LTE and mmWave links, illustrating which are the throughput-optimal combinations of secondary paths and congestion control algorithms in different conditions.

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