Bimodal Multicast (revised)
Birman, Kenneth P.; Hayden, Mark; Ozkasap, Oznur; Xiao, Zhen; Budiu, Mihai; Minsky, Yaron
There are many methods for making a multicast protocol "reliable". At one end of the spectrum, a reliable multicast protocol might offer atomicity guarantees, such as all-or-nothing delivery, delivery ordering, and perhaps additional properties such as virtually synchronous addressing. At the other are protocols that use local repair to overcome transient packet loss in the network, offering 'best effort' reliability. Yet none of this prior work has treated stability of multicast delivery as a basic reliability property, such as might be needed in an internet radio, TV, or conferencing application. This paper looks at reliability with a new goal: development of a multicast protocol which is reliable in a sense that can be rigorously quantified and includes throughput stability guarantees. We characterize this new protocol as a "bimodal multicast" in reference to its reliability model, which corresponds to a family of bimodal probability distributions. Here, we introduce the protocol, provide a theoretical analysis of its behavior, review experimental results, and discuss some candidate applications. These confirm that bimodal multicast is reliable, scalable, and that the protocol provides remarkably stable delivery throughput.
computer science; technical report
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