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TCP Optimization

Feature Description

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Copyright

© Ericsson AB 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be


reproduced in any form without the written permission of the copyright owner.

Disclaimer

The contents of this document are subject to revision without notice due to
continued progress in methodology, design and manufacturing. Ericsson shall
have no liability for any error or damage of any kind resulting from the use of
this document.

Trademark List

All trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.
These are shown in the document Trademark Information.

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Contents

Contents

1 Introduction 1
1.1 Basic Characteristics 1
1.2 TCP Optimization Summary 1
1.3 Additional Information 2

2 Feature Operation 3
2.1 Network Requirements 3
2.2 Feature Operation Sequence Diagram 3
2.3 Process Steps 4
2.4 Basic Configuration 4
2.5 TCP Congestion Control 5
2.6 PDCP SDU Timer Discard in the Uplink 6

3 Parameters 8
3.1 Feature Configuration Parameters 8
3.2 Affected Parameters 9

4 Network Impact 11

5 Associated Features and Affected Functions 12


5.1 Prerequisite Features 12
5.2 Affected Features 12
5.3 Related Features 12
5.4 Affected System Functions 13

6 Performance 14
6.1 KPIs 14
6.2 Counters 14
6.3 Events 15

7 Activate TCP Optimization 16

8 Deactivate TCP Optimization 17

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TCP Optimization

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Introduction

1 Introduction

This document describes the TCP Optimization feature and its main benefits
and impacts in the LTE RAN. It is assumed that the reader has a deep
understanding of TCP and TCP congestion control.

1.1 Basic Characteristics


This section describes the basic characteristics of the feature.

Feature name: TCP Optimization

Product identity:
DU Radio Node, see Feature Overview

Baseband Radio Node, see Licensed Feature Overview

Replaces: N/A

Dependencies

This feature requires the following RAN features to be active:

• This feature has no prerequisite features.

This feature affects the following RAN features:

• Delay-Based Scheduling and Grant Estimation

• Data Forwarding at Intra-LTE Handover

• RLC in Unacknowledged Mode

1.2 TCP Optimization Summary


This section describes the benefits of this feature.

The TCP Optimization feature is useful to provide a low queuing delay, while
maintaining high link utilization and thereby improving the perceived end-user
performance in terms of system responsiveness without sacrificing throughput.
The feature is also capable of maintaining a more stable cell throughput under
load.

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TCP Optimization

1.3 Additional Information


More information about this feature and related topics can be found in the
following documentation:

• Quality of Service

• 3GPP TS 36.323: Packet Data Convergence Protocol (PDCP)

• 3GPP TS 36.331: Radio Resource Control (RRC); Protocol specification

• 3GPP TS 23.203: Policy and charging control architecture

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Feature Operation

2 Feature Operation

This section describes the TCP Optimization feature in more detail, including
network configuration requirements and operation flows.

2.1 Network Requirements


This is a licensed feature. This means that for the feature to be operational, a
valid license key must be installed and the feature must be explicitly activated
by setting a MOM attribute.

2.2 Feature Operation Sequence Diagram


The TCP Optimization feature uses a delay-based Active Queue Management
(AQM) algorithm discarding packets before the buffer is full, and thus provides
rapid feedback to the traffic sender for Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)
traffic.

Delay-based AQM has two active modes. Mode 1 is for TCP type traffic and
mode 2 is for Guaranteed Bit Rate (GBR) such as Voice over LTE (VoLTE).
See Figure 1.

Packet source Packet sink

AQM RBS

UE PDCP

Packet sink Packet source

L0000489B

Figure 1 Figure 1 Delay-based AQM Algorithm Implemented in the RBS and


UL PDCP SDU Timer discard in UE.

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TCP Optimization

2.3 Process Steps


This section describes the main process steps for the feature flow.

The delay-based AQM algorithm makes use of the TCP congestion avoidance
Algorithm, see TCP Congestion Control on page 5. TCP assumes that a
packet loss is due to congestion and therefore it will reduce the number of
bytes it has in flight (congestion window). By discarding a packet we can
reduce the TCP congestion window which results in a shorter queue. In LTE
RAN, the AQM algorithm is implemented in RBS for the downlink only.
However, the UE is configured to use PDCP Service Data Unit (SDU) timer
discard in the uplink.

The delay-based AQM algorithm makes use of parameters based on the type
of traffic managed. For non-GBR data traffic, the algorithm discards a packet
only once it reaches a threshold of age in the buffer, at the same time
maintaining a minimum of packets in the buffer, ensuring that the link
utilization is high while keeping the queueing delay low.

For GBR traffic, the timer threshold is given by the Packet Delay Budget (PDB)
value, as defined in 3GPP TS 23.203.

The queues apply "drop from tail", which means that the incoming packets are
dropped. This delays the congestion signal to the TCP sender which can lead
to more packet loss.

There are two mechanisms for packet discard, regardless whether TCP
Optimization is activated:

Packet discard due to full buffer


This could either be due to the maximum number of
PDCP SDUs per bearer or per eNodeB. The maximum
number of PDCP SDUs per radio bearer is dependent
of the hardware and the UE category. The maximum
number of PDCP SDUs per eNodeB is dependant on
the memory. Incoming packets are discarded.

Stale packets discard


Packets older than the maximum age threshold are
discarded, see Table 3. The threshold is 1 second in
AQM Mode 0. The oldest, i.e. the first, packets are
discarded.

2.4 Basic Configuration


The TCP Optimization feature introduces a new aqmMode parameter under
the qciProfilePredefined MO in the QCI table (see Table 3).

The internal configuration of the AQM algorithm depends on the AQM mode
for the Quality of Service Class Indicator (QCI) of the bearer in question.
Configuration is done slightly different depending on the AQM mode. There

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Feature Operation

are two active AQM modes; the first mode is optimized for GBR services and
the second is optimized for non-GBR services assumed to use TCP. In
general, these map to the resource type with some exceptions for important
traffic, see Table 3.

The AQM Mode can be one of the following:

AQM mode 0 No AQM is used. Packets are discarded if the


maximum number of packets for each radio bearer or
per eNodeB has been reached. Packets may also be
discarded if they become older than 1 second. The UE
is configured to not use PDCP SDU timer discard.

AQM mode 1 Primarily for non-GBR bearers or bearers with TCP


type traffic. The UE is configured to use PDCP SDU
timer discard. A packet is discarded if it becomes older
than the minimum age threshold. All packets older than
the maximum age threshold are discarded. If there is
packet in queue, there is a time between discards. Let
minimumInterDropTime = 2*minimumAgeThreshold.
Keep lower drop threshold = 5 packets in queue

AQM mode 2 Used for GBR bearers. Packets older than the PDB
may be discarded. Packets older than twice the PDB
are discarded. The UE is configured to use PDCP SDU
timer discard. Keep lower drop threshold = 5 packets in
queue.

2.5 TCP Congestion Control


The congestion control in TCP comprises four intertwined algorithms: the
slow-start, the congestion avoidance, the fast-retransmit and fast-recovery
algorithms. This document focuses on the congestion avoidance phase, even
though these principles are equally applicable during the whole lifetime of a
connection.

An end-point in the network cannot know the true Pipe Capacity (PC) for the
connection; instead it has to probe for the PC and therefore the bottleneck
rate. TCP uses three types of signals; if an ACK is received it is a signal that
more bandwidth is available, if a packet is dropped it is a signal of light
congestion, and if there are many packet drops, or, a time-out, it is a signal of
serious congestion. TCP acts on these signals by changing its congestion
window or by starting all over with the initial settings.

Packets are lost for two reasons – they are lost in transit or the network is
congested. The TCP congestion control assumes that a packet was lost due
to congestion.

This assumption is used by this feature. Since the congestion window is


halved at a congestion event (or put in another way, the TCP sender stops
sending for one RTT), the minimum age threshold is optimally set to one PC,

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TCP Optimization

assuming a standard compliant TCP sender and TCP New Reno. This
ensures that the queue is not emptied after a packet discard.

Measured in time, the optimal threshold becomes one RTT. The estimated
RTT is by default 100 ms in order to prioritize throughput when PC changes
suddenly.

Since TCP increases the congestion window slowly, and due to the high
likelihood of improved radio conditions in the target cell after handover, the
minimum age threshold is set to twice the estimated RTT. This has the benefit
that the link utilization will be high also after handover. The drawback is that
the delay in normal operation is slightly higher.

The TCP congestion control, with an IETF Standard compliant TCP sender
and optimal configuration of the eNodeB queue size is shown in Figure 2.

Outstanding
bytes Discard

2 PC
Packets in
the eNB queue

1 PC
Packets in
Non-empty queue the pipe
0
t
L0000618A

Figure 2 TCP congestion control, with an IETF Standard compliant TCP


sender and optimal configuration of the eNodeB queue size. The aim is to
have a non-empty queue after a packet discard.

2.6 PDCP SDU Timer Discard in the Uplink


If the AQM Mode is set to 1 or 2, the UE will be configured to use PDCP SDU
timer discard through RRC signalling. If AQM Mode is set to 0 (effectively
disabling the feature) the PDCP SDU timer discard will be configured with a
value of infinity.

The configured value depends on the downlink value. There are only 8
allowed values for discardTimer in the IE PDCP-Config defined in 3GPP
TS 36.331: Radio Resource Control (RRC); Protocol specification, so the
nearest value greater than the minimum age threshold is chosen (see Table
1).

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Feature Operation

Table 1 PDCP SDU timer discard values (discardTimer) in the uplink


Enum Name Description
0 ms50 Packet discarded after 50 ms
1 ms100 Packet discarded after 100 ms
2 ms150 Packet discarded after 150 ms
3 ms300 Packet discarded after 300 ms
4 ms500 Packet discarded after 500 ms
5 ms750 Packet discarded after 750 ms
6 ms1500 Packet discarded after 1500 ms
7 infinity Packet never discarded

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TCP Optimization

3 Parameters

This section describes configuration parameters for the TCP Optimization


feature and parameters affected by activating the feature.

3.1 Feature Configuration Parameters


The structure of the TCP Optimization MOM is shown in Figure 3.

<<MO Class>>
ManagedElement

1 1
1 1
<<MO Class>> <<MO Class>>
ENodeBFunction SystemFunctions

1 1
1 1 1
<<MO Class>> <<MO Class>> <<MO Class>>
EUtranCellFDD QciTable Licensing
estimatedE2ERTT

1 1
10 1
<<MO Class>> <<MO Class>>
QciProfilePredefined OptionalFeatures
aqmMode
pdb
1
1
<<MO Class>>
TCPOptimization

L0000617D

Figure 3 TCP Optimization MOM structure


Attributes to configure AQM are described in Table 2.

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Parameters

Table 2 Attributes of MO QciProfilePredefined and QciProfileOperatorDefined to Configure


AQM
Parameter Description
MO QciProfilePredefined: aqmMode Indicates the operating modes of the AQM algorithm for specific QCIprofile
MO QciProfileOperatorDefined: aqmMode

QCI characteristics are shown in Table 3.

Table 3 QCI Characteristics


Resource Type QCI AQM PDB Minimum Age Maximum Age Example services
Mode Threshold Threshold
GBR 1 2 100 PDB 2• PDB Conversational voice
ms
2 2 150 PDB 2• PDB Conversational video (live
ms streaming)
3 2 50 PDB 2• PDB Real time gaming
ms
4 2 300 PDB 2• PDB Non-conversational video
ms (buffered streaming)
Non- 5 0 100 N/A 1s IMS Signalling
GBR ms
6 1 300 200 1s Video (Buffered
ms ms Streaming) TCP-based (for
example, www, email,
chat, ftp, p2p file sharing,
progressive video, and so
on)
7 1 100 200 1s Voice, Video (Live
ms ms Streaming) Interactive
Gaming
8 1 200 200 1s Video (Buffered
ms ms Streaming),TCP-based (for
example, www, email,
chat, ftp, p2p file sharing,
progressive video, and so
on)
9 1 200 200 1s Video (Buffered
ms ms Streaming), TCP-based
(for example, www, email,
chat, ftp, p2p file sharing,
progressive video, and so
on)

3.2 Affected Parameters


The Packet Delay Budget from the pdb parameter in MO
QciProfilePredefined and QciProfileOperatorDefined is used in
AQM Mode 2 as the minimum age threshold. The maximum age threshold is
twice the PDB.

The pdb parameter is described in Table 4.

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Table 4 Affected parameters in MO QciProfilePredefined and QciProfileOperatorDefined


Parameter Description
MO QciProfilePredefined: pdb The contribution from eNodeB to the Packet Delay Budget
MO QciProfileOperatorDefined: pdb (PDB) for a QCI. Packet delays outside eNodeB, for example in
the transport network, are excluded. For more information
about PDB, see 3GPP TS 23.203: Policy and charging control
architecture.

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Network Impact

4 Network Impact

This section describes how the TCP Optimization feature impacts the network
functions and capabilities.

This is a feature that impacts the end-to-end behavior, especially TCP


behavior.

The TCP Optimization feature has an impact on ULPacketLossRate. This


happens because UE discards the PDCP packet, resulting in a discontinuous
sequence number in eNodeB. Also, retainability is improved.

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5 Associated Features and Affected


Functions

This section describes how the TCP Optimization feature affects other
features and functions.

5.1 Prerequisite Features


This feature has no prerequisite features.

5.2 Affected Features


This section provides information on features that are affected by TCP
Optimization.

5.2.1 Delay-Based Scheduling and Grant Estimation


The feature Delay-Based Scheduling and Grant Estimation delays packets so
that TCP Optimization discards are triggered for GBR bearers if AQM Mode 2
is selected and SchedulingAlgorithm MO in QciProfilePredefined or
QciProfileOperatorDefined is set to DELAY_BASED.

In case AQM Mode 0 is selected there is no dependency for the QCI in


question.

5.2.2 Data Forwarding at Intra-LTE Handover


Packets that are forwarded over S1 or X2 are rejuvenated when they arrive in
the target eNodeB, since their age is unknown to the receiving side. Packets
are timestamped when they are arriving in PDCP, and TCP Optimization acts
on the age only when these packets have been sent to RLC.

Due to the improved radio conditions in the target cell, a higher PC is needed
to have high link utilization. The minimum age threshold is therefore doubled
at the expense of higher delay in normal operation. The gain is higher
throughput after handover.

5.3 Related Features


This feature is not related to any other feature.

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Associated Features and Affected Functions

5.4 Affected System Functions


This feature affects no system functions.

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6 Performance

This section describes performance indicators, counters, and events


associated with the TCP Optimization feature.

6.1 KPIs
This feature has no associated Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

6.2 Counters
Table 5 lists the counters associated with the TCP Optimization feature.

Note: The counters exist in the following MO classes:

• EUtranCellFDD

• EUtranCellTDD

Table 5 Counters
Counter Description
pmPdcpPktDiscDlAqm Number of discarded PDCP (Packet Data Convergence Protocol) packets in
downlink due to the AQM algorithm
This is a PEG counter that is incremented by one for each discarded packet.
pmPdcpPktDiscDlAqmQci The number of discarded PDCP packets in downlink due to AQM algorithm for
each specific QCI
This is a Probability Density Function (PDF) counter where each QCI interval is
incremented by one for each discarded packet for that QCI.

More information about counters can be found in Managed Object Model


(MOM).

Impacted counters are listed in Table 6.

Note: The counters exist in the following MO classes:

• EUtranCellFDD

• EUtranCellTDD

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Performance

Table 6 Impacted counters


Counter Description
pmRlcDelayTimeDl Aggregated time for the downlink RLC delay measure. The
time for each sample is the time difference between reception
of a PDCP SDU until it is scheduled and sent to the MAC layer
for transmission over the air. Only applicable to DRB packets.
pmRlcDelayPktTransDl Number of samples for RLC delay measurements.
pmRlcDelayTimeDlQci Aggregated DL RLC delay for a measurement period per QCI.
The time for each sample is the time difference between
reception of a PDCP SDU until it is scheduled and sent to the
MAC layer for transmission over the air. Only applicable to DRB
packets.
pmRlcDelayPktTransDlQci Number of samples for DL RLC delay measurements during a
measurement period per QCI.
pmPdcpPktLostUI Total number of DRB packets (PDCP SDUs) lost in the uplink.

6.3 Events
Table 7 lists the events associated with the TCP Optimization feature.

Table 7 Events
Event Event Parameter Description
INTERNAL_PER_UE_RB_TRAFFI EVENT_PARAM_PER_DRB_PACKET_DISC_A Total number of packets (PDCP SDUs) for
C_REP QM_DL which no part has been transmitted over the
air in the downlink direction that are
discarded due to AQM algorithm

For a full list with detailed information about PM events, see the list files in the
List Files library folder.

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7 Activate TCP Optimization

Prerequisites

• The license key is installed in the node.

• Continuous Cell Trace Recording (CCTR) is activated since at least one


week. This ensures there is troubleshooting data available if something
goes wrong.

Steps

1. Set the attribute featureState to ACTIVATED in the applicable MO


instance, depending on node type:

Node Type License Control MO


DU Radio Node OptionalFeatureLicense=TcpOptimizat
ion
Baseband-based Node FeatureState=CXC4011050

After This Task

Let the CCTR be active for one week, for continued collection of
troubleshooting data.

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Deactivate TCP Optimization

8 Deactivate TCP Optimization

Prerequisites

Continuous Cell Trace Recording (CCTR) is activated since at least one week.
This ensures there is troubleshooting data available if something goes wrong.

Steps

1. Set the attribute featureState to DEACTIVATED in the applicable MO


instance, depending on node type:

Node Type License Control MO


DU Radio Node OptionalFeatureLicense=TcpOptimizat
ion
Baseband-based FeatureState=CXC4011050

After This Task

Let the CCTR be active for one week, for continued collection of
troubleshooting data.

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