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-Thin-streams and TCP
-A wide range of Internet-based services that use reliable transport
-protocols display what we call thin-stream properties. This means
-that the application sends data with such a low rate that the
-retransmission mechanisms of the transport protocol are not fully
-effective. In time-dependent scenarios (like online games, control
-systems, stock trading etc.) where the user experience depends
-on the data delivery latency, packet loss can be devastating for
-the service quality. Extreme latencies are caused by TCP's
-dependency on the arrival of new data from the application to trigger
-retransmissions effectively through fast retransmit instead of
-waiting for long timeouts.
-After analysing a large number of time-dependent interactive
-applications, we have seen that they often produce thin streams
-and also stay with this traffic pattern throughout its entire
-lifespan. The combination of time-dependency and the fact that the
-streams provoke high latencies when using TCP is unfortunate.
-In order to reduce application-layer latency when packets are lost,
-a set of mechanisms has been made, which address these latency issues
-for thin streams. In short, if the kernel detects a thin stream,
-the retransmission mechanisms are modified in the following manner:
-1) If the stream is thin, fast retransmit on the first dupACK.
-2) If the stream is thin, do not apply exponential backoff.
-These enhancements are applied only if the stream is detected as
-thin. This is accomplished by defining a threshold for the number
-of packets in flight. If there are less than 4 packets in flight,
-fast retransmissions can not be triggered, and the stream is prone
-to experience high retransmission latencies.
-Since these mechanisms are targeted at time-dependent applications,
-they must be specifically activated by the application using the
-TCP_THIN_LINEAR_TIMEOUTS and TCP_THIN_DUPACK IOCTLS or the
-tcp_thin_linear_timeouts and tcp_thin_dupack sysctls. Both
-modifications are turned off by default.
-More information on the modifications, as well as a wide range of
-experimental data can be found here:
-"Improving latency for interactive, thin-stream applications over