Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Googling Harder

A while back I mentioned that Google thinks TCP ought to be more aggressive.

I must admit, this matches my own bias. I can barely count the number of applications I have watched wait for network I/O when there was plenty of CPU and idle bandwidth available. It's maddening. Sometimes it's slow start or another aspect of congestion control, sometimes it is outdated things like the nagle algorithm.

Well, Google is back at it with this slide set. (PDF)

They make the argument for increasing the initial cwnd. More provocatively, they argue that the Web has already done so in a defacto way by going to aggressive numbers of independent parallel HTTP connections (where you essentially get new cwnd credits just for opening a new TCP stream). Clever argument. Maybe you want to pace the data after 3 or 4 packets based on the RTT of the handshake - so you don't overrun any buffers un-necessarily.

Frankly, this kind of thing can be implemented on the server side without ever telling the peer. It would make some sense for Google to just do this for a few different values of cwnd on a tiny fraction of their traffic and see if the packet loss rates change and then publish that.