Rate Control Protocol

Overview | Publications | Talks | Implementation | Open Problems | People | Funding | RCP FAQ

14 November, 2008: We have released an implementation of RCP on NetFPGA. Downloads are available here.


Rate Control Protocol (RCP) is a congestion control algorithm designed for fast download times (i.e. aka user response times, or flow-completion times). Whereas other modifications to TCP (e.g. STCP, Fast TCP, XCP) are designed to work for specialized applications that use long-lived flows (scientific applications and supercomputer centers), RCP is designed for the typical flows of typical users in the Internet today. For example, a mid-size flow in the Internet today contains 1000 packets and TCP typically makes them last 10x longer than need-be (XCP is even worse). RCP makes flows finish close to the minimum possible, leading to a perceptible improvement for web users, distributed computing, and distributed file-systems. We believe RCP is the only congestion control algorithm to do this.

The main properties of RCP are:

RCP has two components: (1) End-host congestion control layer that sits between IP and TCP/UDP. During introduction, the end-host could adapt by testing for RCP at each end and along the path, falling back to TCP if need-be. (2) Each router maintains a single fair-share rate per link. Each packet carries the rate of the bottleneck link. For each packet, the router compares the two values. If the router's fair-share rate is smaller, it overwrites the value in the packet. This way, the source learns the fair-share rate of bottleneck link. It is simple, requires a very minor change to switches/routers and requires no per-flow state.

Papers and Technical Reports

Selected Talks

Implementation and Downloads

Examples of other work on RCP (building on, extending or analyzing RCP)

Some open problems related to RCP


RCP has benefited immensely from collaborations with:

Related Work


This research is funded in part by NSF under ITR award ANI-0331653. RCP is part of the Stanford University Clean Slate Program and the 100x100 Clean Slate Design Project.


Please first check the Frequently Asked Questions. If you don't find what you are looking for, then Nandita Dukkipati will be quite happy to answer them for you.
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Last updated on 17 October, 2008.