As many-to-one traffic patterns prevail in data center networks, TCP flows often suffer from severe unfairness in sharing bottleneck bandwidth, which is known as the TCP outcast problem. The cause of the TCP outcast problem is the bursty packet losses by a drop-tail queue that triggers TCP timeouts and leads to decreasing the congestion window. This paper proposes TCPRand, a transport layer solution to TCP outcast.

The main idea of TCPRand is the randomization of TCP payload size, which breaks synchronized packet arrivals between flows from different input ports. We investigate how TCPRand reduces consecutive packet drops and demonstrate various benefits of TCPRand with extensive experiments and ns-3 simulation. Our evaluation results show that TCPRand guarantees the superior enhancement of TCP fairness with negligible overheads in all of our test cases.