Is the "Law of the Jungle" Sustainable for the Internet?

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Executive Summary

In this paper, the authors seek to characterize the behavior of the Internet in the absence of congestion control. More specifically, they assume all sources transmit at their maximum rate and recover from packet loss by the use of some ideal erasure coding scheme. They estimate the efficiency of resource utilization in terms of the maximum load the network can sustain, accounting for the random nature of traffic. Contrary to common belief, there is generally no congestion collapse. Efficiency remains higher than 90% for most network topologies as long as maximum source rates are less than link capacity by one or two orders of magnitude. Moreover, a simple fair drop policy enforcing fair sharing at flow level is sufficient to guarantee 100% efficiency in all cases.

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