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Packet Forwarding with a Locally Bursty Adversary

Author Will Rosenbaum

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  • 18 pages

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Will Rosenbaum
  • Amherst College, MA, USA


This work was born from numerous discussions with Boaz Patt-Shamir, to whom I am eternally grateful. I thank the anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful commentary which helped improve this paper.

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Will Rosenbaum. Packet Forwarding with a Locally Bursty Adversary. In 36th International Symposium on Distributed Computing (DISC 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 246, pp. 34:1-34:18, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)


We consider packet forwarding in the adversarial queueing theory (AQT) model introduced by Borodin et al. We introduce a refinement of the AQT (ρ, σ)-bounded adversary, which we call a locally bursty adversary (LBA) that parameterizes injection patterns jointly by edge utilization and packet origin. For constant (O(1)) parameters, the LBA model is strictly more permissive than the (ρ, σ) model. For example, there are injection patterns in the LBA model with constant parameters that can only be realized as (ρ, σ)-bounded injection patterns with ρ + σ = Ω(n) (where n is the network size). We show that the LBA model (unlike the (ρ, σ) model) is closed under packet bundling and discretization operations. Thus, the LBA model allows one to reduce the study of general (uniform) capacity networks and inhomogenous packet sizes to unit capacity networks with homogeneous packets. On the algorithmic side, we focus on information gathering networks - i.e., networks in which all packets share a common destination, and the union of packet routes forms a tree. We show that the Odd-Even Downhill (OED) forwarding protocol described independently by Dobrev et al. and Patt-Shamir and Rosenbaum achieves buffer space usage of O(log n) against all LBAs with constant parameters. OED is a local protocol, but we show that the upper bound is tight even when compared to centralized protocols. Our lower bound for the LBA model is in contrast to the (ρ, σ)-model, where centralized protocols can achieve worst-case buffer space usage O(1) for ρ, σ = O(1), while the O(log n) upper bound for OED is optimal only for local protocols.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Routing and network design problems
  • Networks → Packet scheduling
  • Theory of computation → Distributed algorithms
  • Theory of computation → Distributed computing models
  • packet forwarding
  • packet scheduling
  • adversarial queueing theory
  • network calculus
  • odd-even downhill forwarding
  • locally bursty adversary
  • local algorithms


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