graphicHomeAdvance ProgramAward Anniversary EventCall for PapersConference CommitteeLocal InformationPaper SubmissionProgram committeeRegistrationStudent Travel AwardsTutorialgraphic Sigcomm logoSigcomm'99

The Impact of Multicast Layering on Network Fairness

Dan Rubenstein, Jim Kurose, and Don Towsley
Department of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Many definitions of fairness for multicast networks assume that sessions are single-rate, requiring that each multicast session transmits data to all of its receivers at the same rate. These definitions do not account for multi-rate approaches, such as layering, that permit receiving rates within a session to be chosen independently. We identify four desirable fairness properties for multicast networks, derived from properties that hold within the max-min fair allocations of unicast networks. We extend the definition of multicast max-min fairness to networks that contain multi-rate sessions, and show that all four fairness properties hold in a multi-rate max-min fair allocation, but need not hold in a single-rate max-min fair allocation. We then show that multi-rate max-min fair rate allocations can be achieved via intra-session coordinated joins and leaves of multicast groups. However, in the absence of coordination, the resulting max-min fair rate allocation uses link bandwidth inefficiently, and does not exhibit some of the desirable fairness properties. We evaluate this inefficiency for several layered multi-rate congestion control schemes, and find that, in a protocol where the sender coordinates joins, this inefficiency has minimal impact on desirable fairness properties. Our results indicate that sender-coordinated layered protocols show promise for achieving desirable fairness properties for allocations in large-scale multicast networks.

Papers are provided as a service to all by the members of ACM SIGCOMM. Please check this box if you are a SIGCOMM member so we can get an idea of how the service is used.

This paper is available in and .

For information about joining SIGCOMM, follow this link


The referenced paper appears in Computer Communication Review, a publication of ACM SIGCOMM, volume 29, number 4, October 1999.

ACM Copyright Notice: Copyright (c) 1999 by Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. (ACM) Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that the copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that the copies bear this notice and full citation on the first page. Copyright for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permission to publish from: Publications Dept. ACM, Inc. Fax +1 212 869 0481 or email at