Because InfiniBand switch are input-buffered, there would be the case that a victim flow choked when some other flow caused a congestion. An example would be, switch A has a flow to switch B port 1 which this port is oversubscribed, and hence congested. Switch A has another flow to switch B port 2 which it is this port’s only user. But because of the input buffering, this victim flow cannot send at full speed because of backlog at the port connecting switches A and B. In this paper, it called congestion spreading because congestion at port 1 spreaded its effect to other ports.

IB uses FECN to mark the congestion and BECN to tell the congestion back to the sender. However, because of input buffering, it cannot mark the congestion-creating flows efficiently and leads to unfairness. This paper propose a solution to that, in three steps: (1) switch triggers packet marking whenever a buffer is full, (2) any output link that is the destination for at least one packet is classified as a congested link, (3) all packets that cannot leave the congested link immediately are marked.

At the source host part, window-based control can provide self-clocked transmission but not suitable for IB because the BDP of IB is very small (1 packet only). The small range of useful window size limits its ability of congestion control. Thus in IB, we need injection rate control. The injection rate is increased and decreased reactive to congestion level. There are some criteria for the design of rate change functions:

  • Avoid congestion: The rate of a flow is expected to oscillate, i.e. increased and decreased successively. In that case, we should make $f_{\textrm{inc}}(f_{\textrm{dec}}(r))\le r$ to prevent congestion blow up
  • Promote fairness: The recovery time (i.e. time between a decrease from rate $r$ to return to rate $r$ of a lower rate should be faster than a higher rate.
  • Maximizing bandwidth utilization: Reclaim link bandwidth as fast as possible, i.e. recovery time shall equals to the inter-packet delay at minimum possible rate $R_{\min}$

The paper derived increment and decrement functions for any rate $r$. The Fast Increase Multiplicative Decrease (FIMD) functions are using MD for decrease and expoential for increase. The Linear Inter-Packet Delay functions are using function $f_{\mathrm{dec}}(r)=R_{\max}/(\frac{R_{\max}}{r}+1)$ as decrease function (so that inter-packet delay is linear to rate) and the corresponding increase function is $f_{\mathrm{inc}}(r)=r/(1-\frac{R_{\min}}{R_{\max}})$.

The paper compares FIMD, LIPD, and AIMD control for different traffic pattern. It is found that LIPD can give highest utilization but FIMD can adapt to changes faster.

Bibliographic data

   title = "End-to-End Congestion Control for InifiBand",
   author = "Jose Renato Santos and Yoshio Turner and G. (John) Janakiraman",
   booktitle = "Proc INFOCOM",
   year = "2003",