Improving TCP Goodput in 802.11 Access Networks
The widespread deployment of the IEEE 802.11 protocol has made it the de facto standard for wireless network access and allows Internet users to move freely (at least within a hotspot coverage). The convenience brought about by the IEEE 802.11 protocol is also accompanied by new technical challenges such as poor performance of the widely used transport protocol TCP due to the limited and varying bandwidth resources of the wireless medium. In this work, we seek to enhance efficiency of bandwidth usage for TCP over wireless links and improve TCP goodput. Our insight is that TCP acknowledgments can be spared on wireless links to save precious bandwidth resource of these links. We propose a simple technique that leverages the layer coordination between TCP and MAC to suppress TCP acknowledgments. Our technique is transparent to both TCP and MAC and does not require their modification or replacement.