Lecture 1: 2013 Vice-Chancellor’s Lecture Series: Network coded TCP for a faster Internet Event as iCalendar

19 September 2013

1 - 2pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre 505-007, Ground Floor, Building 505, 85 Park Road, Grafton

Most of today’s Internet traffic is still delivered using the 1970's-designed Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). TCP chops up the data into a series of small chunks called "packets". These are transmitted individually and acknowledged upon receipt, guaranteeing data integrity. Nevertheless, Internet users still experience jerking movies and stalling downloads - even under moderate congestion - as TCP "backs off" further transmissions if it cannot get acknowledgements for earlier packets. Error-correcting codes are a standard way of compensating for such missing information at the receiver, but have struggled to overcome the problem in TCP because of the way in which it controls the information flow. This talk presents an alternative: random linear network coding (RLNC), which lets us create a coded version of TCP, called "coded TCP" (CTCP). CTCP borrows from linear algebra, transmitting linear combinations of packets rather than the originals, acknowledging on the degrees of freedom of the set of linear combinations received rather than on receipt of individual packets. We show that this practical approach has a number of highly desirable features and conclude with open areas of research.