The evolution of transport protocols: An evolutionary game perspective

Eitan Altman, Rachid El-Azouzi, Yezekael Hayel, Hamidou Tembine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Today's Internet is well adapted to the evolution of protocols at various network layers. Much of the intelligence of congestion control is delegated to the end users and they have a large amount of freedom in the choice of the protocols they use. In the absence of a centralized policy for a global deployment of a unique protocol to perform a given task, the Internet experiences a competitive evolution between various versions of protocols. The evolution manifests itself through the upgrading of existing protocols, abandonment of some protocols and appearance of new ones. We highlight in this paper the modeling capabilities of the evolutionary game paradigm for explaining past evolution and predicting the future one. In particular, using this paradigm we derive conditions under which (i) a successful protocol would dominate and wipe away other protocols, or (ii) various competing protocols could coexist. In the latter case we also predict the share of users that would use each of the protocols. We further use evolutionary games to propose guidelines for upgrading protocols in order to achieve desirable stability behavior of the system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1751-1759
Number of pages9
JournalComputer Networks
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jul 14 2009


  • Evolutionary games
  • Protocols
  • Replicator dynamics
  • TCP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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