RD Network Services: Differentiation through Performance Incentives

Maxim Podlesny and Sergey Gorinsky
Appears in: 
CCR October 2008

With the Internet offering a single best-effort service, there have been numerous proposals of diversified network services that align better with the divergent needs of different distributed applications. The failure of these innovative architectures to gain wide deployment is primarily due to economic and legacy issues, rather than technical shortcomings. We propose a new paradigm for network service differentiation where design principles account explicitly for the multiplicity of Internet service providers and users as well as their economic interests in environments with partly deployed new services. Our key idea is to base the service differentiation on performance itself, rather than price. The proposed RD (Rate-Delay) services enable a user to choose between a higher transmission rate or low queuing delay at a congested network link. An RD router supports the two services by maintaining two queues per output link and achieves the intended rate-delay differentiation through simple link scheduling and dynamic buffer sizing. After analytically deriving specific rules for RD router operation, we conduct extensive simulations that confirm effectiveness of the RD services geared for incremental deployment in the Internet.