Making Multipath TCP friendlier to Load Balancers and Anycast

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 14:06 by Fabien DuchĂȘne


Multipath TCP is a recent TCP extension that
enables the utilization of different paths for a single connection.
This provides various benefits including bandwidth aggregation
and fast handovers on mobiles. A Multipath TCP connection
starts with a single TCP connection called subflow and other
subflows are added later to increase bandwidth or support
failover. One drawback of Multipath TCP is that it is not
currently compatible with stateless load balancers which rely
on the five-tuple for their forwarding decision. This hinders the
deployment of Multipath TCP.
We show that this limitation can be circumvented with a
small change to the handling of the initial subflow. Clients
use this subflow to discover the load-balanced server and the
additional Multipath TCP subflows are terminated at a unique
address associated to each physical server. With this small change,
Multipath TCP becomes compatible with existing stateless load
balancers. Furthermore, we show that the same approach enables
anycast Multipath TCP services, a major benefit given the
difficulty of deploying anycast TCP services. We implement this
modification in the Linux kernel and demonstrate its benefits
with several micro benchmarks.

Fabien Duchene and Olivier Bonaventure
IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols (ICNP 2017), 2017.
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