Technology Product: Product Development
TCP/IP is the universally-accepted standard for internet-working protocol suites. However, despite its wide use, popularity, and inherent advantages, TCP has one fundamental drawback -- it is not as effective in high-latency environments as it is in terrestrial networks. This analysis sought to address this problem by i) developing a new product with better functionality in high latency, satellite environments; and ii) developing an effective development and marketing plan to ensure the product's successful diffusion into the consumer market. The analysis established that one of the reasons why TCP underperforms in satellite environments is because the congestion window does not open fast enough to support the long RTT links characteristic of such environments. For this reason, it proposes the development of an alternative protocol with a congestion window comprising of four segments as opposed to one (as is the case in TCP), to speed up communication in high-latency environments. The subsequent sections then focus on showing how marketing, pricing, and testing will be carried out to ensure that the launched product meets the exact needs, specifications, and requirements for which it was designed.
Table of Contents
Table of contents
A. High-latency, high-bandwidth communications links
A. Current Offerings
B. Potential competitive products
Design team design
B. Existing talent from competitors
A. Customer / Partner Search
First used as a research project by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) in 1969, the TCP/IP protocol suite has evolved into the universally-accepted standard for internetworking protocol suites. The primary goal driving its design was the need to establish a suite of protocols capable of connecting diverse types of computer networks, designed by different manufacturers and running different operating systems (Miller, 2009). Achieving this goal has contributed to its growing success over the years; at present, TCP/IP is the world's most widely-deployed communications protocol suite, providing a base for high-level protocols including NFS, X11, FTP, and TELNET. Thanks to its non-proprietary and open nature, TCP/IP has continually gained popularity among UNIX Operating System users.
Networking is one of the key-most features of computer applications; all communication protocols are developed with the aim of improving the existing ones' networking capabilities (Miller, 2009). Two decades ago, proprietary networking protocols such as DECnet were very prevalent; however, these were largely unable to link up different computer networks without the use of a translator. As the number of computer manufacturers grew, it became apparent that there was need to develop standard protocols that could effectively communicate with each other regardless of the type of operating system. This was when the TCP/IP protocol suite was developed, essentially allowing dissimilar systems to communicate with each other through a common language. Today, a Microsoft-powered PC is able to communicate effectively with a Dell Web server or an Apple Mac, all thanks to the non-proprietary nature of TCP/IP. Besides its open and non-proprietary nature, TCP/IP has several other features that boost its networking capabilities. These include an integrated addressing system that allow for communication between devices regardless of how each one is constructed; a design-for-routing system that enhances information routing across an arbitrarily complex network; network independence that allows it to function on lower-layer technology including WANs, wireless LANs and LANs; and a high degree of scalability.
From this background, TPC/IP may appear as the perfect solution for the 21st century networking. The truth, however, is that despite its inherent strengths, TCP/IP has one fundamental drawback -- its communication capability in high-latency environments is low. For instance, it takes less than 30 milliseconds to communicate information between New York and Los Angeles on a terrestrial network, but more than 500 milliseconds on a geostationary satellite link, which is taken in this case to represent a high-latency network. This is rather dangerous given the rising prevalence of global business, and the fact that organizations are increasingly communicating with their subsidiaries across border on high-latency networks. If TCP/IP...
I consider the latter the more attractive option - but either way, existing networks will still have to make the necessary adjustments to adapt to the developed changes.
High Latency, High Bandwidth Communication Links
Two fundamental concepts -- congestion window and slow start - can be used to explain the dismal performance of TCP in high latency, high bandwidth environments. The congestion window indicates the amount of outstanding data awaiting transmission at any one time, and it basically determines the rate at which such transmission will be executed by TCP (Henderson & Katz, 1999). Slow start, on the other hand, is a control strategy used by TCP and other transmission protocols to regulate the amount of data being transmitted and essentially prevent network congestion (Held, 2001). The congestion value window doubles every RTT (round trip time) during slow start. If the system detects congestion, it retransmits the missing segment, halves the congestion window value, and initiates the congestion avoidance phase. At this point, the value on the congestion window increases by not more than one segment/RTT, and this value is again halved if the system detects further congestion. If a discovery is made that some transmissions may have been lost in the process, "the TCP sender is forced to take a time-out, which involves again retransmitting the missing packet, but this time reducing the window to one segment and resuming slow start" (Henderson & Katz, 1999, p. 4). In high latency environments, this timeout period and the subsequent slow start may take a number of seconds, and at this period, the throughput is extremely low (Henderson & Katz, 1999).
A number of TCP extensions have been proposed (and some are in the course of being implemented) to try and control the semantics that impede on TCP's performance in high-latency environments. They include i) the Window Scale, which introduces a scaling factor to the window field, thereby increasing the amount of outstanding data, which is particularly helpful for high-latency networks, whose data rates require large windows; ii) selective acknowledgements (SACK), which allow for the recovery of multiple losses in a single RTT, thereby lessening the tome-out period; iii) TCP for Transactions (T/TCP); and iv) Path MTU recovery, which facilitates data transfer by inducing the faster opening of the congestion window (Henderson & Katz, 1999).
Despite these attempts at improvement, however, Henderson and Katz (1999) point out that some vexing attributes that impede on TCP's performance over satellite links are yet to be resolved. They include slow start-up, link asymmetry, and TCP fairness. The authors point out that in order for TPC to achieve the desired performance in high-latency environments, standardized solutions to the aforementioned attributes need to be developed. This text seeks to develop an entirely new non-proprietary protocol that capitalizes on these inherent weaknesses of TPC to perform at higher speeds over high bandwidth, high latency networks.
Current Offerings of TCP/IP
TCP serial transmission servers and network chips are used in a wide array of wireless carriers, telephony systems, and internet service providers (ISPs). Some of the major clients include transport management frameworks, home care and medicinal gear, embedded modems, ATM teller machines, and point-of-sale terminals (Reynders & Wright, 2003). Recently, TCP/IP was introduced in building management systems (BMS), enabling convenient data transmission between subsidiaries and making the physical distance between buildings less relevant. The TCP/IP microcontroller, which is proprietor-independent, enables seamless communication from the sender's end to the receiver's end via telephone, network, company network, or cable.
Potential Competitive Products
TCP/IP does not currently have a standard competitor, given that most of those that used to be 'competitors' ended up using TCP in their network systems due to its high degree of effectiveness. All the same, X.25, UDP/IP, DECnet, IP Sec/IP, AppleTalk, and IPX/SPX can be taken, to some extent, as potential competitors to TPC/IP, although they were initially developed as proprietary networks. TCP enjoys a huge advantage over these other products owing to its high degree of scalability, ability to function in lower-layer technology, its design-for-routing, and its integrated addressing system that allow for inter-device communication regardless of how each device is constructed.
Design Team Make-Up
The make-up and structure of the design team will lay emphasis on meeting the data innovation objective. Due to the high-risk nature of the proposed project, the resource pool structure will be adopted. According to Friday (2003), this kind of structure minimizes risk to users by essentially pooling efforts, personnel, equipment, and assets together. Three independent sub-teams -- the…
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