Publication Date


Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science


Increasing popularity for mobile devices has prompted industrial and academic research towards improving the performance of wireless applications. Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) plays an important role in defining a network’s performance, and its use in wireless networks has exposed several inadequacies in its operation. Tight coupling of TCP’s error and congestion control mechanisms has proven to be incompatible with the unique characteristics of wireless channels. TCP, designed for wired networks, assumes any loss of packet to be an indication of congestion in the network. Wireless networks exhibit a higher bit error rate, low and varying bandwidth, and disconnections of hosts due to mobility. All of the aforementioned reasons can result in random packet loss which is misinterpreted as a sign of congestion by TCP. Such erroneous triggering of congestion control measures can unnecessarily reduce TCP throughput. In this report, we will delve deeper into TCP’s operation, and discuss its performance issues in wired-cum-wireless networks. We also present a survey of existing schemes that tackle these issues, and introduce a new scheme called TCP-ECN to enhance TCP performance in wireless networks. The essence of the new scheme is to use Explicit Congestion Notification to enable the wireless host to distinguish between wired and wireless losses. Another facet of our scheme is to allow the base station to “freeze” the sender when it notices an imminent disconnection of the mobile host. The objective of TCP-ECN is to insulate the TCP sender from the idiosyncrasies of the wireless channel. We have both simulated and implemented the new scheme. This report details the new scheme in depth, and analyzes the test results obtained.