University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
National Science Foundation, DNCRI
This situation creates a time window where applications exist on a network not designed for them, but before an appropriately architected network can augment the current infrastructure and cope with the new type of workload. We propose a scheme for voluntarily setting Internet traffic priorities by end-users and applications, using the existing 3-bit Precedence field in the Internet Protocol header.
Our proposal has three elements. First, network routers would queue incoming packets by IP Precedence value instead of the customary single-threaded FIFO. Second, users and their applications would voluntarily use different and appropriate precedence values in their outgoing transmissions according to some defined criteria. Third, network service providers may monitor the precedence levels of traffic entering their network, and use some mechanism such as a quota system to discourage users from setting high precedence values on all their traffic. All three elements can be implemented gradually and selectively across the Internet infrastructure, providing a smooth transition path from the present system. The experience we gain from an implementation will furthermore provide a valuable knowledge base from which to develop sound accounting and billing mechanisms and policies in the future.