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2023-05-19
Gombos, Gergő, Mouw, Maurice, Laki, Sándor, Papagianni, Chrysa, De Schepper, Koen.  2022.  Active Queue Management on the Tofino programmable switch: The (Dual)PI2 case. ICC 2022 - IEEE International Conference on Communications. :1685—1691.
The excess buffering of packets in network elements, also referred to as bufferbloat, results in high latency. Considering the requirements of traffic generated by video conferencing systems like Zoom, cloud rendered gaming platforms like Google Stadia, or even video streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube, timeliness of such traffic is important. Ensuring low latency to IP flows with a high throughput calls for the application of Active Queue Management (AQM) schemes. This introduces yet another problem as the co-existence of scalable and classic congestion controls leads to the starvation of classic TCP flows. Technologies such as Low Latency Low Loss Scalable Throughput (L4S) and the corresponding dual queue coupled AQM, DualPI2, provide a robust solution to these problems. However, their deployment on hardware targets such as programmable switches is quite challenging due to the complexity of algorithms and architectural constraints of switching ASICs. In this study, we provide proof of concept implementations of two AQMs that enable the co-existence of scalable and traditional TCP traffic, namely DualPI2 and the preceding single-queue PI2 AQM, on an Intel Tofino switching ASIC. Given the fixed operation of the switch’s traffic manager, we investigate to what extent it is possible to implement a fully RFC-compliant version of the two AQMs on the Tofino ASIC. The study shows that an appropriate split between control and data plane operations is required while we also exploit fixed functionality of the traffic manager to support such solutions.