RR-TCP: A reordering-robust TCP with DSACK

Ming Zhang, B. Karp, S. Floyd, L. Peterson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

128 Scopus citations


TCP performs poorly on paths that reorder packets significantly, where it misinterprets out-of-order delivery as packet loss. The sender responds with a fast retransmit though no actual loss has occurred. These repeated false fast retransmits keep the sender's window small, and severely degrade the throughput it attains. Requiring nearly in-order delivery needlessly restricts and complicates Internet routing systems and routers. Such beneficial systems as multi-path routing and parallel packet switches are difficult to deploy in a way that preserves ordering. Toward a more reordering-tolerant Internet architecture, we present enhancements to TCP that improve the protocol's robustness to reordered and delayed packets. We extend the sender to detect and recover from false fast retransmits using DSACK information, and to avoid false fast retransmits proactively, by adaptively varying dupthresh. Our algorithm is the first that adaptively balances increasing dupthresh, to avoid false fast retransmits, and limiting the growth of dupthresh, to avoid unnecessary timeouts. Finally, we demonstrate that TCP's RTO estimator tolerates delayed packets poorly, and present enhancements to it that ensure it is sufficiently conservative, without using timestamps or additional TCP header hits. Our simulations show that these enhancements significantly improve TCP's performance over paths that reorder or delay packets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 11th IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols, ICNP 2003
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)0769520243
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes
Event11th IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols, ICNP 2003 - Atlanta, United States
Duration: Nov 4 2003Nov 7 2003

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Conference on Network Protocols, ICNP
ISSN (Print)1092-1648


Other11th IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols, ICNP 2003
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Degradation
  • Delay estimation
  • Internet
  • Out of order
  • Packet switching
  • Protocols
  • Robustness
  • Routing
  • Switches
  • Throughput

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software


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