Re: [tcpPrague] [tsvwg] ecn-l4s-id: Proposed Changed to Normative Classic ECN detection Text

"De Schepper, Koen (Nokia - BE/Antwerp)" <koen.de_schepper@nokia-bell-labs.com> Sun, 01 November 2020 21:53 UTC

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From: "De Schepper, Koen (Nokia - BE/Antwerp)" <koen.de_schepper@nokia-bell-labs.com>
To: Christian Huitema <huitema@huitema.net>, Jonathan Morton <chromatix99@gmail.com>
CC: iccrg IRTF list <iccrg@irtf.org>, Bob Briscoe <ietf@bobbriscoe.net>, tsvwg IETF list <tsvwg@ietf.org>, TCP Prague List <tcpPrague@ietf.org>
Thread-Topic: [tcpPrague] [tsvwg] ecn-l4s-id: Proposed Changed to Normative Classic ECN detection Text
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Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2020 21:53:43 +0000
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Subject: Re: [tcpPrague] [tsvwg] ecn-l4s-id: Proposed Changed to Normative Classic ECN detection Text
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Hi Christian,


>>By the way, I do think that L4S makes too many hypotheses about the CC. I wish the AQM was based on intrinsic properties, such as "this flow is using more than its fair share of bandwidth"

This last quote is exactly what the L4S marking is intended to do: the smoothed marking probability over a longer time interval (about 10 RTTs) indicates the fair target rate. Assuming we agree on 15ms being the reference RTT, then the average rate can be r=2/(p*0.015)=133/p packets per second. So you can evaluate yourself if you use more or less than the fair share. How you respond to this knowledge is up to your CC.

>>or "this link is congested and the transport should back off"

L4S marks also give a very accurate queue size/delay indication (the queue size/delay that the network prefers). So keeping track of the RTT of marked packets, especially when they change from unmarked to marked and v/v is a good indicator of the target RTT, without the need to assume a universal delay target.

>> rather than reasoning as if implementations were still using TCP-RENO, which neither Linux or Windows or Chrome does.
We only assume TCP-friendliness, which is typically based on the Reno/Cubic reference. I agree, there shouldn’t be any dependency on the implementation of the congestion control itself.

I would assume that BBR can more tightly follow the available BW if it receives CE marks, and that the BW probing increase/frequency/duration in that case can be adapted to trigger the right marking probability matching the current BW. If no (or insufficient) marks are received, the normal BBR BW probing can be used. If too many marks are received, the BW needs to be reduced and normal BW probing can be suppressed/reduced…

Regards,
Koen.




From: Christian Huitema <huitema@huitema.net>
Sent: Sunday, November 1, 2020 8:48 PM
To: Jonathan Morton <chromatix99@gmail.com>
Cc: iccrg IRTF list <iccrg@irtf.org>rg>; Bob Briscoe <ietf@bobbriscoe.net>et>; tsvwg IETF list <tsvwg@ietf.org>rg>; De Schepper, Koen (Nokia - BE/Antwerp) <koen.de_schepper@nokia-bell-labs.com>om>; TCP Prague List <tcpPrague@ietf.org>
Subject: Re: [tcpPrague] [tsvwg] ecn-l4s-id: Proposed Changed to Normative Classic ECN detection Text



On 11/1/2020 9:00 AM, Jonathan Morton wrote:

On 1 Nov, 2020, at 3:07 am, Christian Huitema <huitema@huitema.net><mailto:huitema@huitema.net> wrote:



I am reading the L4S ECN-AQM proposal with an eye on responding to it in an implementation of QUIC, and I have a couple of questions regarding use of ECN marking with QUIC.



The document does not mention QUIC, yet QUIC is already used in a large fraction of Internet traffic. QUIC does specify support for ECN, and QUIC acknowledgements may carry counts of each category of ECN marks received from the peer -- three counters for ECT(0), ECT(1) and CE. In theory, QUIC implementations could take advantage of L4S -- in fact, at least one implementation supports DC-TCP like CC already. Is there interest in specifying L4S for QUIC?



My next question regards the interaction of the proposed L4S ECN-AQM with CC algorithms like BBR that attempt to discover the bottleneck packet rate for the connection, and use pacing to send packets at that rate. I observed that BBR is never mentioned in the draft, yet BBR is used in a sizeable part of Internet traffic. Do we have data on how a non-L4S aware implementation of BBR interacts with the proposed L4S AQM?



My last question regards potential use of ECT(1) marking. Most current implementations set ECT(0), but setting ECT(1) instead is trivial. This should elicit an L4S compatible response in L4S-AQM, and the BBR implementation might be modified to use the signals as part of the bottleneck bandwidth tracking. But there is a small issue there. With BBR, QUIC packets are supposedly paced at just under the bottleneck rate, except during "probe" periods in which they probe for 1 RTT at a slightly higher rate. The L4S AGM might degenerate in a form of ON-OFF control -- no feedback at all most of the time, then a bunch of CE marks if the probe rate exceeds the bottleneck bandwidth. As anyone experimented with that?

In my view, the biggest question you should be asking is how QUIC will distinguish between CE marks applied by an L4S AQM on the path, and those applied by an RFC-3168 AQM on the path.  The latter will treat ECT(1) marked packets the same as ECT(0), and expects the same multiplicative-decrease congestion response, but L4S expects a qualitatively different linear response.

Yes, that's a significant issue. As it is, nodes can only work with L4S on specific paths that are somehow guaranteed to not mix the "classic" and "L4S" behavior. For now, the only way I would implement it is by adding an "l4s" option, that would only be turned on by default when experimenting with L4S behavior. If we want any large scale deployment, we have to get an IETF consensus on the evolution of ECN -- something prescriptive, not just the "may experiment" of RFC 8311. Currently, implementations can only treat CE marks as an indication that they are probably sending faster than the network allows.



You should probably not do any substantial work on integrating L4S into QUIC until you have a good answer to that question.  Alternative approaches to high-fidelity congestion control exist which resolve that particular conundrum easily.  In particular, the ECN field feedback mechanism in QUIC can also support SCE.

Yes, QUIC implementations could indeed support SCE. But they could not support both SCE and L4S, and that's a big bummer.

I wonder whether there is a way to unify the L4S and SCE behaviors. Transport protocol developers are unlikely to widely develop either option unless the IETF comes to a consensus. This is a shame, because ECN based congestion control does not have the ambiguity of loss-based CC: ECN marks are not ambiguous, they are clearly signals from the network, the application does not need to build logic to differentiate between congestion induced losses and random losses due to, for example, radio event. Failing that ECN unification CC algorithms end up relying a lot on bandwidth and delay measurements, but that is sub-optimal because some radio links do have variable bandwidth and variable delays.

By the way, I do think that L4S makes too many hypotheses about the CC. I wish the AQM was based on intrinsic properties, such as "this flow is using more than its fair share of bandwidth" or "this link is congested and the transport should back off" rather than reasoning as if implementations were still using TCP-RENO, which neither Linux or Windows or Chrome does.

-- Christian Huitema