TCP Congestion Control with a Misbehaving Receiver

Stefan Savage, Neal Cardwell, David Wetherall, and Thomas Anderson. TCP Congestion Control with a Misbehaving Receiver. ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communications Review, vol. 29, no. 5, October 1999, pages 71 - 78.


In this paper, we explore the operation of TCP congestion control when the receiver can misbehave, as might occur with a greedy Web client. We first demonstrate that there are simple attacks that allow a misbehaving receiver to drive a standard TCP sender arbitrarily fast, without losing end-to-end reliability. These attacks are widely applicable because they stem from the sender behavior specified in RFC 2581 rather than implementation bugs. We then show that it is possible to modify TCP to eliminate this undesirable behavior entirely, without requiring assumptions of any kind about receiver behavior. This is a strong result: with our solution a receiver can only reduce the data transfer rate by misbehaving, thereby eliminating the incentive to do so.