Multipath TCP enables Linux hosts to efficiently pool network interfaces

Posted by obo on Mar 22, 2013 8:54 PM EDT
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A single TCP connection reaches more than 50 Gbps by using Multipath TCP to pool six 10 Gbps interfaces together.

The TCP protocol is closely coupled with the underlying IP protocol. Once a TCP connection has been established through one IP address, the other packets of the connection must be sent from this address. This makes mobility and load balancing difficult. Multipath TCP is a new extension that solves these old problems by decoupling TCP from the underlying IP. A Multipath TCP connection can send packets over several interfaces/addresses simultaneously while remaining backward compatible with existing TCP applications. Multipath TCP has several use cases including smartphones that can use both WiFi and 3G or servers that can pool multiple high-speed interfaces. Christoph Paasch, Gregory Detal and their colleagues who develop the implementation of Multipath TCP in the Linux kernel have achieved 50 Gbps for a single TCP connection by pooling together six 10 Gbps interfaces. See external article for technical details and full source code.

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