Better-Performing, Better-Behaved Multimedia Networking

Better-Performing, Better-Behaved Multimedia Networking

Jae Chung and Mark Claypool

Society for Computer Simulation Euromedia Conference (COMTEC)
Antwerp, Belguim
May 8-10, 2000

The power and connectivity of today's Internet presents the opportunity for interactive multimedia applications across the world. However, today's Internet has been predominantly designed for TCP traffic, wherein the end hosts recognize lost packets as congestion and reduce their transmission rates appropriately. Unfortunately, TCP is not the protocol of choice for multimedia applications, because TCP's lossless transmission is stricter than required by multimedia flows and TCP adds considerable network jitter, greatly decreasing multimedia quality. UDP, the alternate transport protocol to TCP, does not respond to packet loss as a measure of congestion, often resulting in UDP flows that get an unfair share of their network bandwidth. In this work, we demonstrate that a proper network protocol can be built on top of UDP, providing well-behaved performance in the face of congestion. Moreover, we demonstrate such protocols provide far better multimedia performance than does TCP.