POLYCORN: Data-driven Cross-layer Multipath Networking for High-speed Railway through Composable Schedulerlets


Modern high-speed railway (HSR) systems offer a speed of more than 250 km/h, making on-board Internet access through track-side cellular base stations extremely challenging. We conduct extensive measurements on commercial HSR trains, and collect a massive 1.79 TB GPS-labeled TCP-LTE dataset covering a total travel distance of 28,800 km. Leveraging the new insights from the measurement, we de-sign, implement, and evaluate POLYCORN, a first-of-its-kind networking system that can significantly boost Internet performance for HSR passengers. The core design of POLYCORN consists of a suite of composable multipath schedulerlets that intelligently determine what, when, and how to schedule user traffic over multiple highly fluctuating cellular links between HSR and track-side base stations. POLYCORN is specially designed for HSR environments through a cross-layer and data-driven proactive approach. We deploy POLYCORN on the operational LTE gateway of the popular Beijing-Shanghai HSR route at 300 km/h. Real-world experiments demonstrate that POLYCORN outperforms the state-of-the-art multipath schedulers by up to 242% in goodput, and reduces the delivery time by 45% for instant messaging applications.

In 20th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation