A comparison of ABR and UBR to support TCP traffic
We compare the performance of ABR and UBR for providing high-speed network interconnection services for TCP traffic. We test the hypothesis that UBR with adequate buffering in the ATM switches results in better overall goodput for TCP traffic than explicit rate ABR for LAN interconnection. This is shown to be true in a wide selection of scenarios. Four phenomena that may lead to bad ABR performance are identified and we test whether each of these has a significant impact on TCP goodput. This reveals that the extra delay incurred in the ABR end-systems and the overhead of RM cells account for the difference in performance. We test whether it is better to use ABR to push congestion to the end-systems in a parking-lot scenario or whether we can allow congestion to occur in the network. Finally, we test whether the presence of a `multiplexing loop` causes performance degradation for ABR and UBR. We find our original hypothesis to be true in all cases. We observe, however, that ABR is able to improve performance when the buffering inside the ABR part of the network is small compared to that available at the ABR end-systems. We also see that ABR allows the network to control fairness between end-systems.