Will TCP Work in mmWave 5G Cellular Networks?

Menglei Zhang, Michele Polese, Marco Mezzavilla, Jing Zhu, Sundeep Rangan, Shivendra Panwar, And Michele Zorzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The vast available spectrum in the millimeter-wave (mmWave) bands offers the possibility of multi-gigabit-per-second data rates for fifth generation cellular networks. However, mmWave capacity can be highly intermittent due to the vulnerability of mmWave signals to blockages and delays in directional searching. Such highly variable links present unique challenges for adaptive control mechanisms in transport layer protocols and end-To-end applications. This article considers the fundamental question of whether TCP, the most widely used transport protocol, will work in mmWave cellular systems. The article provides a comprehensive simulation study of TCP considering various factors such as the congestion control algorithm, including the recently proposed TCP BBR, edge vs. remote servers, handover and multi-connectivity, TCP packet size, and 3GPPstack parameters. We show that the performance of TCP on mmWave links is highly dependent on different combinations of these parameters, and identify the open challenges in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8613277
Pages (from-to)65-71
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Communications Magazine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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