Throughput region in finite-buffered networks

P. Giaccone, E. Leonardi and D. Shah
IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, Volume 18, No. 2, pp. 251-263, Feb. 2007

Most of the current communication networks, including the Internet, are packet switched networks. One of the main reasons behind the success of packet switched networks is the possibility of performance gain due to multiplexing of network bandwidth. The multiplexing gain crucially depends on the size of the buffers available at the nodes of the network to store packets at the congested links. However, most of the previous work assumes the availability of infinite buffer-size. In this paper, we study the effect of finite buffer-size on the performance of networks of interacting queues. In particular, we study the throughput of flow-controlled loss-less networks with finite buffers. The main result of this paper is the characterization of a dynamic scheduling policy that achieves the maximal throughput with a minimal finite buffer at the internal nodes of the network under memory-less (e.g., Bernoulli IID) exogenous arrival process. However, this ideal performance policy is rather complex and, hence, difficult to implement. This leads us to the design of a simpler and possibly implementable policy. We obtain a natural trade-off between throughput and buffer-size for such implementable policy. Finally, we apply our results to packet switches with buffered crossbar architecture