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Keeping order: determining the effect of TCP packet reordering

Arthur, C.M. and Harle, D.A. and Lehane, A. (2007) Keeping order: determining the effect of TCP packet reordering. In: Third International Conference on Networking and Services, 2007-06-19 - 2007-06-25.

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Packet reordering over TCP/IP networks is a phenomenon which is becoming increasingly important in network performance analysis. Reordering is a consequence of network equipment manufacturers increasing switch and link level parallelism on the Internet, seeking performance, reliability and economical improvements. This paper presents a methodology for simulating and measuring TCP reordering, providing an insight into the behaviours of the congestion and retransmission algorithms, and demonstrating that reordering has a measurable effect on performance. These measurements illustrate that there is a maximum reordering delay threshold that should be applied to packets, regardless of percentage reordering, below which reordering has negligible effects. Determination of this threshold, on a specific path, is key to ensuring that a specific switch or router does not introduce reordering to such an extent that it causes unnecessary retransmissions and an associated reduction in throughput.