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This paper explores the feasibility of improving the performance of end-to-end data transfers between different sites through path switching. Our study is focused on both the logic that controls path switching decisions and the configurations required to achieve sufficient path diversity. Specifically, we investigate two common approaches offering path diversity – multi-homing and overlay networks – and investigate their characteristics in the context of a representative wide-area testbed. We explore the end-to-end delay and loss characteristics of different paths and find that substantial improvements can potentially be achived by path switching, especially in lowering end-to-end losses. Based on this assessment, we develop a simple path-switching mechanism capable of realizing those performance improvements. Our experimental study demonstrates that substantial performance improvements are indeed achievable using this approach.
Date Posted: 29 April 2005