Figure 6

Flood control analogy. All the dams (or buffers) on the path leading to the congestion point can help prevent flooding (or cell loss). Notifications are denoted by dashed arrows.

Figure 7

Credit-based flow control. Black dots stand for virtual circuit (VC) buffers.

downstream-to-upstream notification is implemented with a credit record message. The scheme generally works over a VC link as follows. A link can be a physical link connecting two adjacent nodes, or a virtual circuit connecting two remote nodes. Before forwarding any data cell over the link, the sender needs to receive credits for the VC from the receiver. At various times, the receiver sends credits to the sender indicating availability of buffer space for receiving data cells of the VC. After having received credits, the sender is eligible to forward some number of data cells of the VC to the receiver according to the received credit information. Each time the sender forwards a data cell of a VC, it decreases its current credit balance for the VC by one.

There are two phases in flow controlling a VC [15]. In the first buffer allocation phase, the VC is given an allocation of buffer memory in the receiver. In the second credit control phase, the sender maintains a non-negative credit balance to ensure no overflow of the allocated buffer in the receiver.

Credit Update Protocol

The Credit Update Protocol (CUP) [12] is an efficient and robust protocol for implementing credit control over a link. As depicted in Figure 8, for each flow-controlled VC the sender keeps a running total Tx_Cnt of all the data cells it has transmitted, and the receiver keeps a running total Fwd_Cnt of all the data cells it has forwarded. (If cells arc allowed to be dropped within the receiver, Fwd_Cnt will also count these dropped cells.) The receiver will enclose the up-to-date value of Fwd_Cnt in each credit record transmitted upstream via a credit cell. When the sender receives the credit record with value Fwd_Cnt, it will update the credit balance, Crd_Bal, for the VC:

where Buf_Alloc is the total number of cells allocated to the VC in the receiver.



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