Understanding the performance of TCP and UDP-based Data Transfer Protocols using EMULAB
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In this paper, we present a hands-on course project that explores the performance of data transfer protocols using a GENI resource. TCP is one of the key topics in networking courses, and understanding its behavior as well as limitations, from real experiments, offers an invaluable and deep learning experience. A protocol's performance is directly impacted by network parameters such as network bandwidth, delay and loss. However, it is difficult to control and even vary those parameters, if it is not evaluated with simulations. GENI facilities conveniently provide a virtual laboratory that enables us to control the network settings with real network systems. Through this educational project, students had an opportunity to control important network parameters, and measure and compare TCP's performance with a UDP-based data transfer protocol, UDT, using EMULAB. Students were enthusiastic to witness the protocols' performances, and the limitations of TCP under a high bandwidth delay product network in the presence of packet loss, and to recognize the importance of protocol design and system issues for the future Internet.
First GENI Research and Educational Experiment Workshop, Jointly with the 13th GENI Engineering Conference (GEC 13), March, Los Angeles, CA, 2012.