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Difference between Flow Control and Congestion Control

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  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 03 Jun, 2022
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Flow Control and Congestion Control are traffic controlling methods for different situations. The main difference between flow control and congestion control is that, In flow control, rate of traffic received from a sender can be controlled by a receiver. On the other hand, In congestion control, rate of traffic from sender to the network is controlled. Let’s see the difference between flow control and congestion control:

S.NOFlow ControlCongestion Control
1.Traffic from sender to receiver is controlled, to avoid overwhelming the slow receiver.

Traffic entering the network from a sender is controlled by reducing rate of packets. 

Here, the sender has to control/modulate his own rate to achieve optimal network utilization.

2.Flow control is typically used in data link layer. Congestion control is applied in network and transport layer.
3.In this, Receiver’s data is prevented from being overwhelmed.In this, Network is prevented from congestion.
4.In flow control, sender needs to take measures to avoid receiver from being overwhelmed depending on feedback from receiver and also in absence of any feedback.In this, many algorithms designed for transport layer/network layer define how endpoints should behave to avoid congestion.

Types of Flow control are 

  1. Stop and Wait – For every frame transmitted, sender expects ACK from receiver.
  2. Sliding Window – ACK needed only after sender transmits data until window is full, which is allocated initially by receiver.

Mechanisms designed to prevent network congestions are 

  1. Network Queue Management
  2. Explicit Congestion Notification 
  3. TCP Congestion control
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