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Networked Life by Mung Chiang

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14 Why doesn’t the Internet collapse under congestion?

14.1   A Short Answer

14.1.1   Principles of distributed congestion control

When demand exceeds supply, we have congestion. If the supply is fixed, we must reduce the demand to alleviate congestion. Suppose the demand comes from different nodes in a network, we need to coordinate it in a distributed way.

As the demand for capacity in the Internet exceeds the supply every now and then, congestion control becomes essential. The timescale of congestion control is on the order of ms, in contrast to shaping consumer behavior through pricing in Chapters 11 and 12. The need for congestion control was realized in October 1986, when the Internet had its first congestion collapse. It took place ...

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