HighSpeed TCP

HighSpeed TCP is a modification to TCP congestion control mechanism, proposed by Sally Floyd from ICIR (The ICSI Center for Internet Research). The main problem of TCP connection is that it takes a long time to make a full recovery from packet loss for high-bandwidth long-distance connections. Like the others, new TCP implementations proposes a modification of congestion control mechanism for use with TCP connections with large congestion windows. For the current standard TCP with a steady-state packet loss rate p, an average congestion window is 1.2/sqrt(p) segments. It places a serious constraint in realistic environments.

Achieving an average TCP throughput of B bps requires a loss event at most every BR/(12D) round-trip times and an average congestion window W is BR/(8D). For round-trip time R = 0.1 seconds and 1500-bytes packets (D), throughput of 10 Gbps would require an average congestion window of 83000 segments, and a packet drop rate (equal 0,0000000002) of at most one congestion event every 5,000,000,000 packets or equivalently at most one congestion event every 1 2/3 hours. This is an unrealistic constraint and has a huge impact on TCP connections with larger congestion windows. So what we need is to achieve high per-connection throughput without requiring unrealistically low packet loss rates.

HighSpeed TCP proposes changing TCP response function w = 1.2/sqrt(p) to achieve high throughput with more realistic requirements for the steady-state packet drop rate. A modified HighSpeed TCP function uses three parameters: Low_Window, High_Window, and High_P. The HighSpeed response function uses the same response function as Standard TCP when the current congestion window is at most Low_Window, and uses the HighSpeed response function when the current congestion window is greater than Low_Window. The value of the average congestion window w greater than Low_Window is



  • Low_P is the packet drop rate corresponding to Low_Window, using Standard TCP response function,
  • S is a constant as follows


The window needed to sustain 10Gbps throughput using HighSpeed TCP connection is 83000 segments, so the High_Window could be set to this value. The packet drop rate needed in the HighSpeed reponse function to achieve an average congestion window of 83000 segments is 10^-7. For informations on how to set up the remaining parameters see document of Sally Floyd HighSpeed TCP for Large Congestion Windows. Calibrating appropriate values, we can use bigger congestion window sizes with very lower RTTs between congestion events and achieve a greater throughput.

HighSpeed TCP will have to modify the increase parameter a(w) and the decrease parameter b(w) of AIMD (Additive Increase and Multiplicative Decrease). For Standard TCP, a(w) = 1 and b(w) = 1/2, regardless of the value of w. HighSpeed TCP uses the same values of a(w) and b(w) for w lower than Low_Window. Parameters a(w) and b(w) for HighSpeed TCP are specified below.



High_Decrease = 0,1 means decrease of 10% of congestion window when congestion event occurre.

For example, for w = 83000, parameters a(w) and b(w) for Standard TCP and HSTCP are specified in table below.



Based on the results of HighSpeed TCP and Standard TCP connections that shared bandwidth together we obtain following conclusions. HSTCPs share fairly available bandwidth between themselves. HSTCP may take longer time to converge than Standard TCP. The great disadvantage is that HighSpeed TCP flow starves a TCP flow even in relatively low/moderate bandwidth. The author of the HSTCP specification justifies that there are not a lot of TCP connections effectively operating in this regime today, with large congestion windows, and that therefore the benefits of the HighSpeed response function would outweigh the unfairness that would be experienced by Standard TCP in this regime. Another benefit of applying HSCTP is that it is easier to deploy and no router support needed.


HS-TCP is included in Linux as a selectable option in the modular TCP congestion control framework. A few problems with the implementation in Linux 2.6.16 were found by D.X. Wei (see references). These problems were fixed as of Linux

A proposed OpenSolaris project foresees the implementation of HS-TCP and several other congestion control algorithms for OpenSolaris.


-- WojtekSronek - 13 Jul 2005
-- HankNussbacher - 06 Oct 2005
-- SimonLeinen - 03 Dec 2006 - 17 Nov 2009

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Topic revision: r7 - 2009-11-17 - SimonLeinen
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