On the Interaction Between Internet Applications and TCP

  • M. Siekkinen
  • G. Urvoy-Keller
  • E. W. Biersack
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4516)


We focus in this paper on passive traffic measurement techniques that collect traces of TCP packets and analyze them to derive, for example, round-trip times or aggregate metrics such as average throughput. The seminal work of Zhang [1] has shown that for more than 50% of the TCP connections observed, it is not the network bandwidth that limits the throughput but rather the application or mechanisms such as TCP slow start or too small a receiver window. Certain types of analysis of the network characteristics are meaningful only when performed on TCP traffic that experiences minimal interference by the application. To eliminate such interference, we propose a generic method that partitions the packets of a TCP connection in bulk data transfer and in application limited periods: The packets of a bulk data transfer period (BTP) experience minimal interference from the application, while the packets of an application limited period (ALP) experience interference from the application that prevents TCP from fully utilizing the network resources because the application does not produce data fast enough. As a proof of concept, we apply our algorithm to public Internet traffic traces and show that unless the effects of the application are filtered out, studying the end-to-end path and traffic characteristics from a network point of view can produce biased results.


Data Packet Data Path Congestion Window Internet Application Path Property 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Zhang, Y., Breslau, L., Paxson, V., Shenker, S.: On the characteristics and origins of internet flow rates. In: Proceedings of ACM SIGCOMM 2002 Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, August 2002, ACM Press, New York (2002)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jiang, H., Dovrolis, C.: Source-level IP packet bursts: causes and effects. In: IMC ’03: Proceedings of the 3rd ACM SIGCOMM conference on Internet measurement, Miami Beach, FL, USA, pp. 301–306. ACM Press, New York, NY, USA (2003), doi:10.1145/948205.948245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Allman, M., Falk, A.: On the effective evaluation of TCP. Comput. Commun. Rev. 29(5), 59–70 (1999), doi:10.1145/505696.505703CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jaiswal, S., Iannaccone, G., Diot, C., Kurose, J., Towsley, D.: Inferring tcp connections characteristics from passive measurements. In: Proc. Infocom 2004, March 2004 (2004)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Medina, A., Allman, M., Floyd, S.: Measuring the evolution of transport protocols in the internet. Comput. Commun. Rev. 35(2), 37–52 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Siekkinen, M., Biersack, E.W., Urvoy-Keller, G.: On the interaction between internet applications and tcp. Technical report, Institut Eurecom (2006),
  7. 7.
    Mathis, M., Heffner, J., Reddy, R.: Web100: extended TCP instrumentation for research, education and diagnosis. Comput. Commun. Rev. 33(3), 69–79 (2003), CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Jaiswal, S.: Measurements-in-the-middle: Inferring end-end path properties and characteristics of TCP connections through passive measurements. PhD thesis, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst (2005)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Veal, B., Li, K., Lowenthal, D.: New methods for passive estimation of TCP round-trip times. In: Dovrolis, C. (ed.) PAM 2005. LNCS, vol. 3431, Springer, Heidelberg (2005)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Siekkinen, M., Collange, D., Urvoy-Keller, G., Biersack, E.W.: Performance limitations of ADSL users: A case study. In: Proceedings of the Eighth Passive and Active Measurement Conference (PAM) (2007)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Siekkinen
    • 1
  • G. Urvoy-Keller
    • 2
  • E. W. Biersack
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Oslo, Dept. of Informatics, Postbox 1080 Blindern, 0316 OsloNorway
  2. 2.Institut Eurecom, 2229, route des crêtes, 06904 Sophia-AntipolisFrance

Personalised recommendations