Fast, fair and frugal bandwidth allocation in ATM networks

Y. Bartal*, M. Farach-Colton, S. Yooseph, L. Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


ATM networks are used to carry a variety of types of traffic. For some types of traffic, in particular Available Bit Rate (ABR) traffic, the bandwidth of a network is typically insufficient to satisfy the requests of all the sessions, and so some fair allocation scheme must be devised. The ATM Forum, the standards setting body for ATM networks, has specified that the fairness criterion for ABR traffic should be Max-Min Fairness, which intuitively means that raising the bandwidth of any session comes at the expense of some other session of no greater bandwidth. Protocols to allocate bandwidth to sessions in a max-min fair manner are an important part of a network design. For a protocol to be realistic, it must conform to the Resource Management (RM) cell mechanism specified by the ATM Forum. Such RM cells get sent as a constant fraction of all cells sent by the source; however, they have only a few fields. RM cells are the only means of communication allowed from link to link so any reasonable protocol is totally distributed and asynchronous, since the RM cell mechanism does not easily lend itself to synchronization. Finally, RM Cells must be handled very quickly at each link. We call a protocol frugal if at each link it performs O(1) computation per RM cell and uses O(1) space per session. Recently, several frugal RM cell protocols have been proposed for ABR traffic, but none have been shown to converge to the max-min fair state. Protocols that are known to converge in a linear number of maximum round-trip times require RM cell processing that is linear in the number of sessions that go through a link. In this paper we give a frugal RM cell protocol for ABR that matches the convergence time of the fastest known non-frugal protocol. A second type of ABR traffic is the Minimum Cell Rate (MCR) type, where every session can specify a minimum amount of bandwidth. The max-min fair allocation should then respect these MCR requests. We extend our results to give the first frugal RM cell protocol for MCR and achieve a quadratic convergence rate.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)272-286
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • ABR/MCR traffic
  • Atm networks
  • Bandwidth allocation
  • Convergence
  • Max-min fairness


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