Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is the transport layer protocol that serves as an interface between client and server. The TCP/IP protocol is used to transfer the data packets between transport layer and network layer. Transport protocol is mainly designed for fixed end systems and fixed, wired networks. In simple terms, the traditional TCP is defined as a wired network while classical TCP uses wireless approach. Mainly TCP is designed for fixed networks and fixed, wired networks.
The main research activities in TCP are as listed below.
1. Congestion control:
During data transmission from sender to receiver, sometimes the data packet may be lost. It is not because of hardware or software problem. Whenever the packet loss is confirmed, the probable reason might be the temporary overload at some point in the transmission path. This temporary overload is otherwise called as Congestion.
Congestion is caused often even when the network is designed perfectly. The transmission speed of receiver may not be equal to the transmission speed of the sender. if the capacity of the sender is more than the capacity of output link, then the packet buffer of a router is filled and the router cannot forward the packets fast enough. The only thing the router can do in this situation is to drop some packets.
The receiver sense the packet loss but does not send message regarding packet loss to the sender. Instead, the receiver starts to send acknowledgement for all the received packets and the sender soon identifies the missing acknowledgement. The sender now notices that a packet is lost and slows down the transmission process. By this, the congestion is reduced. This feature of TCP is one of the reason for its demand even today.
2. Slow start:
The behavior TCP shows after the detection of congestion is called as slow start. The sender always calculates a congestion window for a receiver. At first the sender sends a packet and waits for the acknowledgement. Once the acknowledgement is back it doubles the packet size and sends two packets. After receiving two acknowledgements, one for each packet, the sender again doubles the packet size and this process continues. This is called Exponential growth.
It is dangerous to double the congestion window each time because the steps might become too large. The exponential growth stops at congestion threshold. As it reaches congestion threshold, the increase in transmission rate becomes linear (i.e., the increase is only by 1). Linear increase continues until the sender notices gap between the acknowledgments. In this case, the sender sets the size of congestion window to half of its congestion threshold and the process continues.
3. Fast re-transmission:
In TCP, two things lead to a reduction of the congestion threshold. One of those is sender receiving continuous acknowledgements for the single packet. By this it can convey either of two things. One such thing is that the receiver received all the packets up to the acknowledged one and the other thing is the gap is due to packet loss. Now the sender immediately re-transmit the missing packet before the given time expires. This is called as Fast re-transmission.
Assume that few packets of data are being transferred from sender to receiver, and the speed of sender is 2 Mbps and the speed of receiver is 1 Mbps respectively. Now the packets that are being transferred from sender sender to receiver makes a traffic jam inside the network. Due to this the network may drop some of the packets. When these packets are lost, the receiver sends the acknowledgement to the sender and the sender identifies the missing acknowledgement. This process is called as congestion control.
Now the slowstart mechanism takes up the plan. The sender slows down the packet transfer and then the traffic is slightly reduces. After sometime it puts a request to fast re-transmission through which the missing packets can be sent again as fast as possible. After all these mechanisms, the process of next packet begins.