THE Technical Conference on Linux Networking

Netdev 0.1

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2015-01-10: accepted proposal - Gucea, Purdila, Milescu, Diaconescu - MPTCP Upstreaming

MultiPath TCP is a transport layer protocol which takes advantage of today's Internet architecture where multiple paths exist between endpoints. The application uses a single TCP-like socket with multiple subflows being started in kernel-space for the same connection. These subflows are implemented as normal TCP connections and are completely transparent to the application. MPTCP is implemented in the Linux Kernel in an off-tree open-source repository maintained by the academic community.

Our aim is to bring the off-tree Linux Kernel MPTCP implementation in the official tree in order to gain additional contributors and accelerate innovation. The problem is that the code from the off-tree implementation heavily modifies the TCP stack such that an upstream submission can't be accepted without cleaning the TCP stack and moving the MPTCP related operations to a separate layer. Since MPTCP subflows are based on regular TCP connections, the new architectural approach is to call TCP code from the new layer instead of modifying it. Apart from removing the mix between the TCP and MPTCP code and making it a successful candidate for the upstream process, this new layer brings other advantages like allocating the MPTCP data structures at the socket creation and avoiding the overhead of switching from TCP to MPTCP at connection time. In order to implement the MPTCP separate layer, a series of problems must be solved: passing data to/from the subflow level, locking scenarios, performance penalties, switching between TCP and MPTCP, separation of data structures and allocating them at the right moment.