Improving TCP Performance over Wireless Network with Frequent Disconnections

Purvang Dalal, Nikhil Kothari, K. S. Dasgupta

Presented in this paper is the solution to the problem that arises when the TCP/IP protocol suite is used to provide Internet connectivity through mobile terminals over emerging 802.11 wireless links. Taking into consideration the strong drive towards wireless Internet access through mobile terminals, the problem of frequent disconnections causing serial timeouts is examined and analyzed, with the help of extensive simulations. After a detailed review of wireless link loss recovery mechanism and identification of related problems, a new scheme with modifications at link layer and transport layer is proposed. The proposed modifications which depend on interaction between two layers (i) reduce the idle time before transmission at TCP by preventing timeout occurrences and (ii) decouple the congestion control from recovery of the losses due to link failure. Results of simulation based experiments demonstrate considerable performance improvement with the proposed modifications over the conventional TCP, when a wireless sender is experiencing frequent link failures.

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