Predicting TCP throughput

Valdis.Kletnieks at Valdis.Kletnieks at
Thu May 28 07:18:10 UTC 2015

On Thu, 28 May 2015 06:45:44 +0530, Glen Kent said:

> If i see an RTT of 150ms and packet loss of 0.01% between points A and B
> and the maximum throughput then between these as, say 250Mbps. Then can i
> say that i will *always* get the same (or in a close ballpark) throughput
> not matter what time of the day i run these tests.

Only if you control the network load across the entire path.

As a simplified example, assume you did your test at 2AM and there's no
other activity, there's a bottleneck 1Gbps link in the path, and you get 250Mbps.
(yes, that result indicates probable misconfig, but bear with me.. :)

You test again at 11AM, and now there's 7 other streams trying to pump 250Mbps
across that link.  All 8 should probably drop back to 125Mbps.

For extra credit, factor in bufferbloat pushing your RTT through the roof
under congestion, and similar misbehaviors....

Oh, and that 0.01% packet loss is going to play heck with tcp slow-start
and opening the window - to quote RFC3649:

   This document proposes HighSpeed TCP, a modification to TCP's
   congestion control mechanism for use with TCP connections with large
   congestion windows.  In a steady-state environment, with a packet
   loss rate p, the current Standard TCP's average congestion window is
   roughly 1.2/sqrt(p) segments.  This places a serious constraint on
   the congestion windows that can be achieved by TCP in realistic
   environments.  For example, for a Standard TCP connection with 1500-
   byte packets and a 100 ms round-trip time, achieving a steady-state
   throughput of 10 Gbps would require an average congestion window of
   83,333 segments, and a packet drop rate of at most one congestion
   event every 5,000,000,000 packets (or equivalently, at most one
   congestion event every 1 2/3 hours).  The average packet drop rate of
   at most 2*10^(-10) needed for full link utilization in this
   environment corresponds to a bit error rate of at most 2*10^(-14),
   and this is an unrealistic requirement for current networks.

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