A First Look at Disconnection-Centric TCP Performance on High-Speed Railways


High-speed rail (HSR) systems potentially provide a more efficient way of door-to-door transportation than airplane. However, they also pose unprecedented challenges in delivering seamless Internet service for on-board passengers. In this paper, we conduct the first large-scale disconnection-centric measurement study of TCP performance over LTE on HSR. Our measurement targets the main HSR route in China operating at 300/350 km/h. We performed extensive data collection obtaining 378.3 GB data collected over 56639 km of trips. Leveraging such a unique dataset, we measure important performance metrics such as TCP goodput, latency and loss rate across different congestion control algorithm, mobile carrier, and different train speed. We further develop the LTE disconnection taxonomy, and conduct a in-depth correlation study between TCP stall and LTE disconnection. Our findings reveal the networking performance on today’s HSR environment “in the wild”, as well as identify several root causes of performance inefficiencies, which together highlight the need to develop dedicated protocol mechanisms that are friendly to extreme mobility.

In IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications 2020 (Volume: 38, Issue: 12, Dec. 2020)