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Re-feedback: freedom with accountability for causing congestion in a connectionless internetwork

Briscoe, R.; (2009) Re-feedback: freedom with accountability for causing congestion in a connectionless internetwork. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This dissertation concerns adding resource accountability to a simplex internetwork such as the Internet, with only necessary but sufficient constraint on freedom. That is, both freedom for applications to evolve new innovative behaviours while still responding responsibly to congestion; and freedom for network providers to structure their pricing in any way, including flat pricing. The big idea on which the research is built is a novel feedback arrangement termed ‘re-feedback’. A general form is defined, as well as a specific proposal (re-ECN) to alter the Internet protocol so that self-contained datagrams carry a metric of expected downstream congestion. Congestion is chosen because of its central economic role as the marginal cost of network usage. The aim is to ensure Internet resource allocation can be controlled either by local policies or by market selection (or indeed local lack of any control). The current Internet architecture is designed to only reveal path congestion to end-points, not networks. The collective actions of self-interested consumers and providers should drive Internet resource allocations towards maximisation of total social welfare. But without visibility of a cost-metric, network operators are violating the architecture to improve their customer’s experience. The resulting fight against the architecture is destroying the Internet’s simplicity and ability to evolve. Although accountability with freedom is the goal, the focus is the congestion metric, and whether an incentive system is possible that assures its integrity as it is passed between parties around the system, despite proposed attacks motivated by self-interest and malice. This dissertation defines the protocol and canonical examples of accountability mechanisms. Designs are all derived from carefully motivated principles. The resulting system is evaluated by analysis and simulation against the constraints and principles originally set. The mechanisms are proven to be agnostic to specific transport behaviours, but they could not be made flow-ID-oblivious.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Re-feedback: freedom with accountability for causing congestion in a connectionless internetwork
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English

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