As more applications migrate to IP networks, ensuring a consistent level of service is increasingly important. One option is for the network to offer service guarantees. Another is to leverage the path diversity that the Internet intrinsically offers. Our focus is on understanding if and when one can indeed take advantage of multiple disjoint paths to improve performance. We consider an environment where loss patterns are bursty and where coding is used to provide robustness against packet losses. We assume that only long-term loss statistics are known about each path, and we seek to identify the best strategy for sending packets over the available paths. Our contributions are two-fold. First we demonstrate that even with minimal knowledge of channel characteristics and using simple transmission policies, path diversity can help significantly improve performance. Second, we derive an efficient method for identifying optimal policies, and more importantly characterize when having access to multiple paths can be of benefit.
Date of this Version
Diversity, Losses, Performance, Bursty
Date Posted: 26 July 2005
This document has been peer reviewed.