CAPS: Coding-based adaptive packet spraying to reduce flow completion time in data center

Jinbin Hu, Jiawei Huang, Wenjun Lv, Yutao Zhou, Jianxin Wang, Tian He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Modern data-center applications generate a diverse mix of short and long flows with different performance requirements and weaknesses. The short flows are typically delay-sensitive but to suffer the head-of-line blocking and out-of-order problems. Recent solutions prioritize the short flows to meet their latency requirements, while damaging the throughput-sensitive long flows. To solve these problems, we design a Coding-based Adaptive Packet Spraying (CAPS) that effectively mitigates the negative impact of short and long flows on each other. To exploit the availability of multiple paths and avoid the head-of-line blocking, CAPS spreads the packets of short flows to all paths, while the long flows are limited to a few paths with Equal Cost Multi Path (ECMP). Meanwhile, to resolve the out-of-order problem with low overhead, CAPS encodes the short flows using forward error correction (FEC) technology and adjusts the coding redundancy according to the blocking probability. Moreover, since the coding efficiency decreases when the coding unit is too small or large, we demonstrate how to obtain the optimal size of coding unit. The coding layer is deployed between the TCP and IP layers, without any modifications on the existing TCP/IP protocols. The test results of NS2 simulation and small-scale testbed experiments show that CAPS significantly reduces the average flow completion time of short flows by 30%-70% over the state-of-the-art multipath transmission schemes and achieves the high throughput for long flows with negligible traffic overhead.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8884684
Pages (from-to)2338-2353
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2019



  • Data center
  • multipath
  • packet spray
  • TCP

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