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While slow start is one of most useful mechanism in a fixed network, it drastically reduces the efficiency of the TCP if used in a mobile receiver or sender.

The reason for this is that slow start mechanism may be initiated for wrong reasons. Missing ACK in case of mobile nodes is very common which may be due to

mobility or due to

any interruption.

Also, error rates, packet loss on wireless links are order of magnitude and cannot be always compensated by retransmissions or error correction mechanisms.

Mobility itself can cause packet loss. There are many situations when a soft handover is not possible for mobile end system. This results in loss of packet that are in transit to the old foreign agent while the nodes

move to the new foreign agent.

do with wireless access but it is a rerouting problem.

This loss is nothing to

As already brought out, receipt of the three or more ACK for the same packet is identified as loss of a single packet and appropriate action is taken and loss of ACK for a time that is much more than RTT is identified as

congestion and slow start mechanism is invoked.


these cannot be applied for the Mobile devices as more often, loss of packet can take place for reason other than these as well.

Also, for the sake of mobile devices, on cannot change the TCP protocol that encompasses the inter globe. Hence new methods were devised that are discussed below:

Classical TCP

i) Indirect TCP (I-TCP):

This method has been developed based on two


1. TCP performs poorly together with wireless



2. TCP within the fixed

network cannot be

I-TCP segments a TCP connection to a mobile device into a fixed part and a wireless part. As shown below. In this, the standard TCP is connected between fixed host and the foreign agent (Access Point). Whereas the ‘Wireless TCP’ is connected between the Access point and the Mobile host.

IN this the access point acts as a proxy for both fixed and mobile nodes. In case of fixed nodes, it is the mobile node proxy and in case of mobile host, it is the

fixed node proxy.

selected as proxy as it controls the mobility of the most

Foreign agent (access point) is

host. However, one can identify the TCP connection separation at a special server at the entry point to a mobile network (e.g. IWF - Inter Working Function in GSM, GGSN in GPRS etc)

The foreign acts as proxy and relays all data in both

directions. What is important to note in this case is that the foreign agent itself responds to the receipt of

data from either hosts and send ACKs by itself.

the packet is lost in the wireless medium, the fixed (correspondent) node will not notice this as the ACK is already sent by the foreign agent. However, the foreign agent tries to retransmit this packet locally to maintain reliable data transport. Similarly, while the mobile node sends data to foreign agent, if it is lost, the mobile nodes identifies this much faster as the RTT up to proxy is very much smaller and it retransmits the lost packet.

In case

IN case of mobility of a mobile to a new access point, this is intimated to the old access point and the data are cached. This data is rerouted to new access point along with the current TCP state such as sequence number, address, ports etc.

There are several advantages of this methods. these are:

i) I-TCP does not require any change in the

existing TCP.


Transmission in the wireless link like lost

packets, cannot


propagate into the fixed

iii) With I-TCP, new mechanism can be

introduced in the fixed network.

iv) Partitioning into two connections also allows

the use of different transport layer protocol between the foreign agent and mobile host.

Some of the disadvantages of the systems are listed below;

i) End to end semantics of TCP is lost. The

correspondent always assumes that

has received the packet once it receives the ACKs

which always may not be case.

the receiver

ii) Increased handover latency may be more

problematic. The old foreign agent needs to buffer the packet that are destined for the mobile node till it receives any information regarding its

current position. the foreign agent.

This may strain the resources of

The foreign agent is to be a trusted agent. If the user applies end to end encryption, the foreign