WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

Computer Science Department
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Impact of Acknowledgments on Application Performance in 4G LTE Networks

Brett Levasseur

Advisors: Professor Mark Claypool and Professor Robert Kinicki

M.S. Thesis
Computer Science Department, WPI
May 2013

Abstract

4G LTE is a new cellular phone network standard to provide both the capacity and Quality of Service (QoS) needed to support multimedia applications. Recent research in LTE has explored modifications to the current QoS setup, creating MAC layer schedulers and modifying the current QoS architecture. However, what has not been fully explored are the effects of LTE retransmission choices and capabilities on QoS. This thesis examines the impact of using acknowledgments to recover lost data over the wireless interface on VoIP, FTP and MPEG video applications. Issues explored include interaction between application performance, network transport protocols, LTE acknowledgment mode, and wireless conditions.

Simulations show that LTE retransmissions improve FTP throughput by 0.1 to 0.8 Mb/s. With delay sensitive applications, like VoIP and video, the benefits of retransmissions are dependent on the loss rate. When the wireless loss rate is less than 20%, VoIP has similar performance with and without LTE retransmissions. At higher loss rates the use of LTE retransmissions adds degrading the VoIP quality by 71%. With UDP video, the choice of retransmissions or not makes little change when the wireless loss rates are less than 10%. With higher wireless loss rates, the frame arrival delay increases by up to 539% with LTE retransmissions, but the frame rate of the video decreases by up to 34% without those retransmissions.

LTE providers should configure their networks to use retransmission policies appropriate for the type of application traffic. This thesis shows that VoIP, FTP and video require different configurations in the LTE network layers.


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