Network flow control under capacity constraints: A case study

Yi Fan, Zhong Ping Jiang, Hao Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we demonstrate how tools from nonlinear system theory can play an important role in tackling "hard nonlinearities" and "unknown disturbances" in network flow control problems. Specifically, a nonlinear control law is presented for a communication network buffer management model under physical constraints. Explicit conditions are identified under which the problem of asymptotic regulation of a class of networks against unknown inter-node traffic is solvable, in the presence of control input and state saturation. The conditions include a Lipschitz-type condition and a "PE" condition. Under these conditions, we achieve either asymptotic or practical regulation for a single-node system. We also propose a decentralized, discontinuous control law to achieve (global) asymptotic regulation of large-scale networks. Our main result on controlling large-scale networks is based on an interesting extension of the well-known Young's inequality for the case with saturation nonlinearities. We present computer simulations to illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed flow control schemes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-688
Number of pages8
JournalSystems and Control Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Asymptotic regulation
  • Capacity constraints
  • Network flow control
  • Nonlinear control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Computer Science
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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