A Case for Context-Aware TCP/IP

Date Added: Jan 2010
Format: PDF

This paper discusses the design and evaluation of CATNIP, a Context-Aware Transport/Network Internet Protocol for the Web. This integrated protocol uses application-layer knowledge (i.e.,Web document size) to provide explicit context information to the TCP and IP protocols. While this approach violates the traditional layered Internet protocol architecture, it enables informed decision-making, both at network endpoints and at network routers, regarding flow control, congestion control, and packet discard decisions. The paper evaluates the performance of the context-aware TCP/IP approach first using ns-2 network simulation, and then using WAN emulation to test a prototype implementation of CATNIP in the Linux kernel of an Apache Web server. The advantages of the CATNIP approach are particularly evident in a congested Internet with 1-10% packet loss.