Time for new TCP? Readers respond

* Reader's weigh in on how TCP should evolve

Recently, I examined a question put to me by a start-up vendor called Data Expedition Inc., or DEI, which had developed an alternative to TCP to help speed traffic.

DEI says with its high-performance protocol called MTP/IP (Multipurpose Transaction Protocol for the Internet) customers enjoy performance gains over those depending on products that speed up TCP. DEI had responded to research firm Gartner's comment that as of yet vendors haven't stepped up to modify the TCP stack as a means of optimization.

In today's newsletter, a few readers respond on their take as to how TCP or other protocols should evolve or develop going forward to make acceleration and optimization technologies work better in enterprise networks. Even with just a few early results for last week's opinion poll, it seems TCP is at the very least in need of an overhaul, but it's unclear if a non-standard potentially proprietary protocol from a start-up or any vendor is what people want to see going forward.

One Network Optimization reader e-mails:

"I think that it is high time TCP was radically revised and that MTP is on the right road. Technically, it is too easy to bang in more bandwidth or MIPs, but the inefficiency remains. I had hoped we would have had a revision of TCP when IPv6 was under way, but an opportunity was lost. Not knowing much about MIP, I would like to see DEI put MTP up to the IETF for standardization and see what happens. I'm sure there would be a lot of dust and noise, but perhaps very good developments and a new TCP could come out of it. If the benefits are significant in using it, then I'm sure it would catch on and be implemented quickly. The same APIs and SAPs from TCP could, by and large, be used."

Another thinks a new protocol isn't in order, but an update of TCP is due.

That reader writes, "As a person that spending quite few years on WAN optimization (former vice president of R&D at Expand Networks) and now in somewhat close area to that at Microsoft, I am questioning the newer layer of MTP contribution when compared to the new innovations of network stack that are shipping with Vista and Longhorn server."

I'll be looking further into Microsoft and other vendor contributions in this technology area and what experts think of updating TCP in my next newsletter. Stay tuned.

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