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Internet Engineering Task Force                                  N. Kuhn
Internet-Draft                                                      CNES
Intended status: Informational                              G. Fairhurst
Expires: November 30, 2020                        University of Aberdeen
                                                               J. Border
                                             Hughes Network Systems, LLC
                                                              E. Stephan
                                                                  Orange
                                                            May 29, 2020


                            QUIC for SATCOM
                        draft-kuhn-quic-4-sat-05

Abstract

   QUIC has been designed for use across Internet paths.  Initial
   designs of QUIC focused on common deployment scenarios for web
   traffic.  This document focuses on the performance when using a path
   with a large Bandwidth-Delay Product (BDP).

   A large BDP path can result from using a satellite communication
   (SATCOM) system.  The BDP is also high for paths where a satellite
   network segment is combined with other network technologies
   (Ethernet, cable modems, WiFi, cellular, radio links, etc), resulting
   in more complex characteristics.  These path characteristics have
   implications on the efficiency of the network traffic and unless
   considered in a design can impact the end-to-end quality of
   experience by the transport service.

   This memo identifies the characteristics of a SATCOM link that impact
   the operation of the QUIC transport protocol.  It proposes regression
   tests to evaluate QUIC over SATCOM links.  It discusses how to ensure
   acceptable protocol performance.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
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   Drafts is at https://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any




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   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on November 30, 2020.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2020 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (https://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
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   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Operating over a path with a large BDP  . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  TCP Split Solution  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   4.  Regression tests  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.1.  Medium public satellite broadband access  . . . . . . . .   6
     4.2.  Congested medium public satellite broadband access  . . .   7
     4.3.  Variable medium public satellite broadband access . . . .   7
     4.4.  Loss-free large public satellite broadband access . . . .   8
     4.5.  Lossy large public satellite broadband access . . . . . .   9
   5.  Mechanisms that improve the performance of QUIC for SATCOM  .   9
     5.1.  Getting up to speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     5.2.  Maximum window  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
     5.3.  Reliability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
     5.4.  ACK ratio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   6.  Discussion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
   7.  Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
   8.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
   9.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14

1.  Introduction

   The end-to-end performance of an application using an Internet path
   can be impacted by the Bandwidth-Delay Product (BDP) of the links and
   network devices forming the path.  For instance, the page load time
   for a complex page can be much larger when the path includes a



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   satellite link.  A significant contribution to this reduced
   performance arises from the initialisation and design of transport
   mechanisms.  QUIC's default congestion control is based on TCP
   NewReno [I-D.ietf-quic-recovery] and the recommended initial window
   is defined by [RFC6928].  Although QUIC's Congestion Control (CC) and
   recovery have been designed for use across Internet Paths, the
   initial design could not optimise for the wide diversity of path
   characteristics that can occur.  This document therefore considers
   the specific implications of paths with a significant BDP.

   Satellite communications (SATCOM) systems have long been used to
   support point-to-point links and specialised networks.  The
   predominate current use is as a link-layer for Internet Protocols.
   Typical example applications include: use as an access technology for
   remote locations, backup and rapid deployment of new services,
   transit networks and backhaul of various types of IP networks, and
   provision to mobile (maritime, aircraft, etc.).  In most scenarios,
   the satellite IP network segment usually only forms one part of the
   end-to-end path.  This means user traffic can experience a path that
   includes satellite link together with a wide variety of other network
   technologies (Ethernet, cable modems, WiFi, cellular, radio links,
   etc).  Although a user can sometimes know the presence of the
   satellite service, a typical user does not deploy special software or
   applications because they expect a satellite network is being used.
   Often a user is unaware of the technologies underpinning the links
   forming the network path.

   This memo identifies the characteristics of a SATCOM link that impact
   the operation of the QUIC transport protocol.  It proposes regression
   tests to evaluate QUIC over SATCOM links.  It discusses how to ensure
   acceptable protocol performance.

2.  Operating over a path with a large BDP

   Satellite communications systems have been deployed using many space
   orbits, including low earth orbit, medium earth orbits,
   geosynchronous orbits, elliptical orbits and more.  This document
   focuses on Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite systems.

   The characteristics of systems using Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO)
   satellites differ from paths only using terrestrial links in their
   path characteristics:

   o  A large propagation delay of at least 250ms one-way delay;

   o  Employ radio resource management (often using techniques similar
      to cellular mobile or DOCSIS cable networks, but differing to
      accommodate the satellite propagation delay);



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   o  Links can be highly asymmetric (in terms of capacity, one-way
      delay and in their cost of operation).

   Many systems use the DVB-S2 specifications, published by the European
   Telecomunications Standards Institute (ETSI), where the key concept
   is to ensure both a good usage of the satellite resource and a Quasi
   Error Free (QEF) link.  These systems typically monitor the link
   quality in real-time, with the help of known symbol sequences,
   included along with regular packets, which enable an estimation of
   the current signal-to-noise ratio.  This estimation is then feedback
   allowing the transmitting link to adapt its coding rate and
   modulation to the actual transmission conditions.

   It is common to consider the satellite network segment composed of a
   forward link and a return link.  The two links can have different
   capacities and employ different technologies to carry the IP packets.

   On the forward link, the satellite gateway often uses all the
   available bandwidth, possibly with several carriers, to communicate
   with a set of remote terminals.  A carrier is a single Time-Division-
   Multiplexing channel that multiplexes packets addressed to specific
   terminals.  On the return link, satellite resource is shared among
   the terminals.  Two access methods can be distinguished: on-demand
   access or contention access.  In the former, a terminal receives
   dedicated transmission resources (usually to send to the gateway).
   In the latter, some resources are reserved for contention access,
   where a set of terminals are allowed to compete to obtain
   transmission resource.  Dedicated access, which is more common in
   currently deployed systems, can be through a Demand Assigned Multiple
   Access (DAMA) mechanism, while contention access techniques are
   usually based on Slotted Aloha (SA) and its numerous derivatives.
   More information on satellite links characteristics can be found in
   [RFC2488][IJSCN17].

   Beyond that, even for characteristics shared with terrestrial links,
   the impact on a satellite link could be more and can be amplified by
   the large path RTT.  For example, paths using a satellite system can
   also exhibit a high loss-rate (e.g., a mobile user or a user behind a
   Wi-Fi link), where additional delay can impact transport mechanisms.

   o  Transport initialization: the 3-way handshake takes a longer time
      to complete, delaying the time to send data (several transport
      protocol exchanges may be needed, such as TLS);

   o  Size of windows required: to fully exploit the bottleneck
      capacity, a high BDP requires a larger number of in-flight
      packets;




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   o  Reliability: packet loss detection and correction is slow (the
      performance of end-to-end retransmission is also impacted when
      using a high RTT path);

   o  Getting up to speed: many congestion control methods employ an
      exponential increase in the sending rate during slow start (for
      path capacity probing), a high RTT will increase the time to reach
      a specific rate;

   o  Asymmetry : when the links are asymmetric, for various reasons,
      the the return path may modify the rate and/timing of transport
      acknowledgment traffic, potentially changing behaviour (e.g.,
      limiting the forward sending rate).

3.  TCP Split Solution

   High BDP networks commonly break the TCP end-to-end paradigm to adapt
   the transport protocol.  Splitting a TCP connection allows adaptation
   for a specific use-case and to address the issues discussed in
   section Section 2.  Satellite communications commonly deploy
   Performance Enhancement Proxy (PEP) for compression, caching and TCP
   acceleration services [RFC3135].  Their deployment can result in
   significant performance improvement (e.g., a 50% page load time
   reduction in a SATCOM use-case [ICCRG100].

   [NCT13] and [RFC3135] describe the main functions of a SATCOM TCP
   split solution.  For traffic originated at a gateway to an endpoint
   connected via a satellite terminal, the TCP split proxy intercepts
   TCP SYN packets, acting on behalf of the endpoint and adapts the
   sending rate to the SATCOM scenario.  The split solution can
   specifically tune TCP parameters to the satellite link (latency,
   available capacity).

   When a proxy is used on each side of the satellite link, the
   transport protocol can be replace by a protocol other than TCP,
   optimized for the satellite link.  This can be tuned using a priori
   information about the satellite system and/or by measuring the
   properties of the network segment that includes the satellite system.

   Split connections can also recover from packet loss that is local to
   the part of the connection on which the packet losses occur.  This
   eliminates the need for end-to-end recovery of lost packets.

   One important advantage of a TCP split solution is that it does not
   require any end-to-end modification and is independent of both the
   client and server sides.  This comes with a drawback: TCP splitters
   are often unable to track end-to-end improvements in protocol
   mechanisms (e.g., RACK, ECN, TCP Fast Open support).  Methods



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   configured in the split proxy usually continue to be used until a
   split solution is finally updated.  This can delay/negate the benefit
   of any end-to-end improvements, contributing to ossification of the
   transport system.

4.  Regression tests

   This section proposes a set of regression tests for QUIC that
   consider high BDP scenarios.  We define by:

   o  Download path: from Internet to the client endpoint;

   o  Upload path: from the client endpoint to a server (e.g., in the
      Internet).

4.1.  Medium public satellite broadband access

   The tested scenario has the following path characteristics:

   o  Satellite downlink path: 50 Mbps

   o  Satellite uplink path: 10 Mbps

   o  No emulated packet loss

   o  RTT: 650 ms

   o  Buffer size : BDP

   During the transmission of 100 MB on both download and upload paths,
   the test should report the upload and the download time for 2 MB, 10
   MB and 100 MB.

   Initial thoughts of the performance objectives for QUIC are the
   following:

   o  3 s for downloading 2 MB

   o  5 s for downloading 10 MB

   o  20 s for downloading 100 MB

   o  TBD s for uploading 2 MB

   o  TBD s for uploading 10 MB

   o  TBD s for uploading 100 MB




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4.2.  Congested medium public satellite broadband access

   There are cases where the uplink path is congested or where the
   capacity of the uplink path is not guaranteed.

   The tested scenario has the following path characteristics:

   o  Satellite downlink path: 50 Mbps

   o  Satellite uplink path: 0.5 Mbps

   o  No emulated packet loss

   o  RTT: 650 ms

   o  Buffer size : BDP

   During the transmission of 100 MB on the download path, the test
   should report the download time for 2 MB, 10 MB and 100 MB.

   Initial thoughts of the performance objectives for QUIC are the
   following:

   o  TBD s for downloading 2 MB

   o  TBD s for downloading 10 MB

   o  TBD s for downloading 100 MB

4.3.  Variable medium public satellite broadband access

   There are cases where the downlink path is congested or where, due to
   link layer adaptations to rain fading, the capacity of the downlink
   path is variable.

   The tested scenario has the following path characteristics:

   o  Satellite downlink path: 50 Mbps - wait 5s - 10 Mbps

   o  Satellite uplink path: 10 Mbps

   o  No emulated packet loss

   o  RTT: 650 ms

   o  Buffer size : BDP





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   During the transmission of 100 MB on the download path, the test
   should report the download time for 2 MB, 10 MB and 100 MB.

   Initial thoughts of the performance objectives for QUIC are the
   following:

   o  TBD s for downloading 2 MB

   o  TBD s for downloading 10 MB

   o  TBD s for downloading 100 MB

4.4.  Loss-free large public satellite broadband access

   The tested scenario has the following path characteristics:

   o  Satellite downlink path: 250 Mbps

   o  Satellite uplink path: 3 Mbps

   o  No emulated packet loss

   o  RTT: 650 ms

   o  Buffer size : BDP

   During the transmission of 100 MB on the download path, the test
   should report the download time for 2 MB, 10 MB and 100 MB.  Then,
   after 10 seconds, repeat the transmission of 100 MB on the download
   path where the download time for 2 MB, 10 MB and 100 MB is recorded.

   Initial thoughts of the performance objectives for QUIC are the
   following:

   o  3 s for the first downloading 2 MB

   o  5 s for the first downloading 10 MB

   o  8 s for the first downloading 100 MB

   o  TBD s for the second downloading 2 MB

   o  TBD s for the second downloading 10 MB

   o  TBD s for the second downloading 100 MB






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4.5.  Lossy large public satellite broadband access

   The tested scenario has the following path characteristics:

   o  Satellite downlink path: 250 Mbps

   o  Satellite uplink path: 3 Mbps

   o  Emulated packet loss on both downlink and uplink paths:

      *  Uniform random transmission link losses: 1%

   o  RTT: 650 ms

   o  Buffer size : BDP

   During the transmission of 100 MB on the download path, the test
   should report the download time for 2 MB, 10 MB and 100 MB.

   Initial thoughts of the performance objectives for QUIC are the
   following:

   o  3 s for downloading 2 MB (uniform transmission link losses)

   o  6 s for downloading 10 MB (uniform transmission link losses)

   o  10 s for downloading 100 MB (uniform transmission link losses)

5.  Mechanisms that improve the performance of QUIC for SATCOM

5.1.  Getting up to speed

   QUIC has an advantage that the TLS and TCP negotiations can be
   completed during the transport connection handshake.  This can reduce
   the time to transmit the first data.  Results of [IJSCN19] illustrate
   that it can still take many RTTs for a CC to increase the sending
   rate to fill the bottleneck capacity.  The delay in getting up to
   speed can dominate performance for a path with a large RTT, and
   requires the congestion and flow controls to accommodate the impact
   of path delay.

   One relevant solution is tuning of the initial window described in
   [I-D.irtf-iccrg-sallantin-initial-spreading], which has been shown to
   improve performance both for high BDP and more common BDP
   [CONEXT15][ICC16].  Such a solution requires using sender pacing to
   avoid generating bursts of packets in a network.





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5.2.  Maximum window

   The number of in-flight packets required to fill a bottleneck
   capacity, is dependent on the BDP.  Default values of maximum windows
   may not be suitable for a SATCOM context.

   Such as presented in [PANRG105], only increasing the initial
   congestion window is not the only way that can improve QUIC
   performance in a SATCOM context: increasing maximum congestion
   windows can also result in much better performance.  Other protocol
   mechanisms also need to be considered, such as flow control at the
   stream level in QUIC.

5.3.  Reliability

   Packet loss detection and loss repair will consume additional time on
   paths with a larger RTT.  The RTT also determines the time needed by
   a server to react to a congestion event.  Both can impact the user
   experience.  For example, when a user uses a Wi-Fi link to access the
   Internet via SATCOM terminal.

   End-to-end packet Forward Error Correction offers an alternative to
   retransmission with different tradeoffs in terms of utilised capacity
   and repair capability.

   Network coding as proposed in [I-D.swett-nwcrg-coding-for-quic] and
   [I-D.roca-nwcrg-rlc-fec-scheme-for-quic] could help QUIC recover from
   link or congestion loss.  Another approach could utilise QUIC tunnels
   [I-D.schinazi-masque] to apply FEC to all or a part of the end-to-end
   path.

   The benefits of introducing FEC need to weighed against the
   additional capacity introduced by end-to-end FEC and the opportunity
   to use link-local ARQ and/or link-adaptive FEC.  A transport
   connections can suffer link-related losses from a particular link
   (e.g., Wi-Fi), but also congestion loss (e.g. router buffer overflow
   in a satellite operator ground segment or along an Internet path).
   Mechanisms have been proposed in
   [I-D.ferrieux-hamchaoui-quic-lossbits], to identify congestion losses
   in the ground segment.

5.4.  ACK ratio

   Asymmetry in capacity (or in the way capacity is granted to a flow)
   can lead to cases where the transmission in one direction of
   communication is restricted by the transmission of the acknowledgment
   traffic flowing in the opposite direction.  A network segment could
   present limitations in the volume of acknowledgment traffic (e.g.,



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   limited available return path capacity) or in the number of
   acknowledgment packets (e.g., when a radio-resource management system
   has to track channel usage), or both.

   TCP Performance Implications of Network Path Asymmetry [RFC3449]
   describes a range of mechanisms that have been used to mitigate the
   impact of path asymmetry, primarily targeting operation of TCP.

   Many mitigations have been deployed in satellite systems, often as a
   mechanism within a PEP.  Despite their benefits over paths with high
   asymmetry, most mechanisms rely on being able to inspect and/or
   modify the transport layer header information of TCP ACK packets.
   This is not possible when the transport layer information is
   encrypted (e.g., using an IP VPN).

   One simple mitigation is for the remote endpoint to send compound
   acknowledgments less frequently.  A rate of one ACK every RTT/4 can
   significantly reduce this traffic.  The QUIC transport specification
   may evolve to allow the ACK Ratio to be adjusted.

6.  Discussion

   Many of the issues identified for high BDP paths already exist when
   using an encrypted transport service over a path that employs
   encryption at the IP layer.  This includes endpoints that utilise
   IPsec at the network layer, or use VPN technology over a satellite
   network segment.  These uses are unable to benefit from enhancement
   within the satellite network segment, and often the user is unaware
   of the presence of the satellite link on their path, except through
   observing the impact it has on the performance they experience.

   One solution would be to provide PEP functions at the termination of
   the security association (e.g., in a VPN client).  Another solution
   could be to fall-back to using TCP (possibly with TLS or similar
   methods being used on the transport payload).  A different solution
   could be to deploy and maintain a bespoke protocol tailored to high
   BDP environments.  In the future, we anticipate that fall-back to TCP
   will become less desirable, and methods that rely upon bespoke
   configurations or protocols will be unattractive.  In parallel, new
   methods such as QUIC will become widely deployed.  The opportunity
   therefore exists to ensure that the new generation of protocols offer
   acceptable performance over high BDP paths without requiring
   operating tuning or specific updates by users.








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7.  Acknowledgments

   The authors would like to thank Christian Huitema, Igor Lubashev,
   Alexandre Ferrieux, Francois Michel, Emmanuel Lochin and the
   participants of the IETF106 side-meeting on QUIC for high BDP for
   their useful feedbacks.

8.  Security Considerations

   This document does not propose changes to the security functions
   provided by the QUIC protocol.  QUIC uses TLS encryption to protect
   the transport header and its payload.  Security is considered in the
   "Security Considerations" of cited IETF documents.

9.  Informative References

   [CONEXT15]
              Li, Q., Dong, M., and P. Godfrey, "Halfback: Running Short
              Flows Quickly and Safely", ACM CoNEXT , 2015.

   [I-D.ferrieux-hamchaoui-quic-lossbits]
              Ferrieux, A. and I. Hamchaoui, "The QUIC Loss Bits",
              draft-ferrieux-hamchaoui-quic-lossbits-00 (work in
              progress), April 2019.

   [I-D.ietf-quic-recovery]
              Iyengar, J. and I. Swett, "QUIC Loss Detection and
              Congestion Control", draft-ietf-quic-recovery-27 (work in
              progress), March 2020.

   [I-D.irtf-iccrg-sallantin-initial-spreading]
              Sallantin, R., Baudoin, C., Arnal, F., Dubois, E., Chaput,
              E., and A. Beylot, "Safe increase of the TCP's Initial
              Window Using Initial Spreading", draft-irtf-iccrg-
              sallantin-initial-spreading-00 (work in progress), January
              2014.

   [I-D.roca-nwcrg-rlc-fec-scheme-for-quic]
              Roca, V., Michel, F., Swett, I., and M. Montpetit,
              "Sliding Window Random Linear Code (RLC) Forward Erasure
              Correction (FEC) Schemes for QUIC", draft-roca-nwcrg-rlc-
              fec-scheme-for-quic-03 (work in progress), March 2020.

   [I-D.schinazi-masque]
              Schinazi, D., "The MASQUE Protocol", draft-schinazi-
              masque-02 (work in progress), January 2020.





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   [I-D.swett-nwcrg-coding-for-quic]
              Swett, I., Montpetit, M., Roca, V., and F. Michel, "Coding
              for QUIC", draft-swett-nwcrg-coding-for-quic-04 (work in
              progress), March 2020.

   [ICC16]    Sallantin, R., Baudoin, C., Chaput, E., Arnal, F., Dubois,
              E., and A-L. Beylot, "Reducing web latency through TCP IW:
              Be smart", IEEE ICC , 2016.

   [ICCRG100]
              Kuhn, N., "MPTCP and BBR performance over Internet
              satellite paths", IETF ICCRG 100, 2017.

   [IJSCN17]  Ahmed, T., Dubois, E., Dupe, JB., Ferrus, R., Gelard, P.,
              and N. Kuhn, "Software-defined satellite cloud RAN",
              International Journal of Satellite Communications and
              Networking , 2017.

   [IJSCN19]  Thomas, L., Dubois, E., Kuhn, N., and E. Lochin, "Google
              QUIC performance over a public SATCOM access",
              International Journal of Satellite Communications and
              Networking , 2019.

   [NCT13]    Pirovano, A. and F. Garcia, "A new survey on improving TCP
              performances over geostationary satellite link", Network
              and Communication Technologies , 2013.

   [PANRG105]
              Kuhn, N., Stephan, E., Border, J., and G. Fairhurst, "QUIC
              Over In-sequence Paths with Different Characteristics",
              IRTF PANRG 105, 2019.

   [RFC2488]  Allman, M., Glover, D., and L. Sanchez, "Enhancing TCP
              Over Satellite Channels using Standard Mechanisms",
              BCP 28, RFC 2488, DOI 10.17487/RFC2488, January 1999,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2488>.

   [RFC3135]  Border, J., Kojo, M., Griner, J., Montenegro, G., and Z.
              Shelby, "Performance Enhancing Proxies Intended to
              Mitigate Link-Related Degradations", RFC 3135,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC3135, June 2001,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc3135>.

   [RFC3449]  Balakrishnan, H., Padmanabhan, V., Fairhurst, G., and M.
              Sooriyabandara, "TCP Performance Implications of Network
              Path Asymmetry", BCP 69, RFC 3449, DOI 10.17487/RFC3449,
              December 2002, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc3449>.




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   [RFC6928]  Chu, J., Dukkipati, N., Cheng, Y., and M. Mathis,
              "Increasing TCP's Initial Window", RFC 6928,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6928, April 2013,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6928>.

Authors' Addresses

   Nicolas Kuhn
   CNES

   Email: nicolas.kuhn@cnes.fr


   Godred Fairhurst
   University of Aberdeen

   Email: gorry@erg.abdn.ac.uk


   John Border
   Hughes Network Systems, LLC

   Email: border@hns.com


   Emile Stephan
   Orange

   Email: emile.stephan@orange.com






















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