TheComputerGeek 43 Junior Poster in Training

By: Jeff Johnston

According to North Carolina State University it is. In a paper released by associate professor of computer science Dr. Injong Rhee, associate professor of computer science Dr. Khaled Harfoush, and postdoctoral student Lison Xu a new protocol named Binary Increase Congestion Transmission Control Protocol, or BIC-TCP, is able to get 6,000 times the speed currently available on traditional DSL connections. The paper was presented at the 23rd meeting of the IEEE at Infocom 2004 in Hong Kong. Rhee is an expert in network congestion. While he has only been developing BIC-TCP for the past year, he boasts that he has been researching congestion for at least a decade.

According to Rhee the problem with regular TCP is that "TCP was originally designed in the 1980's when Internet speeds were much slower and bandwidth much smaller. Now we are trying to apply it to networks that have several orders of magnitude more available bandwidth." According to the paper "TCP substantially underutilizes network bandwidth over high speed connections," BIC-TCP will make use of the additional bandwidth that regular TCP cannot.

BIC-TCP's speed stems from its ability to use a binary search approach that permits the protocol to detect maximum network capacities with minimal data loss. Rhee claims, "What takes TCP two hours to determine, BIC can do in less than one second." The greatest challenge for the new protocol was to fill the pipe without starving out all other protocols.

According to a recent comparative study by the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, BIC-TCP received top rankings in a set of experiments that determined its stability, scalability and fairness in comparison with other protocols. The study tested six other protocols developed by researchers from all around the world.

The implications of this new protocol are staggering. Music downloads in a blink of an eye, real-time video feeds that actually function as promised, and the list goes on. Everyone who upgraded from dialup to DSL recalls what a rush it was the first time they downloaded something that would have taken hours on dialup, this new protocol should make that speed increase look nominal.

With the current rate of growth in network speed Rhee expects the performances demonstrated by the new protocol would be commonly available in the next few years.

Read the paper here: