On Packet Switches With Infinite Storage, December 1985
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The purpose of this RFC is to focus discussion on a particular problem in the ARPA-Internet and possible methods of solution. Most prior work on congestion in datagram systems focuses on buffer management. In this memo the case of a packet switch with infinite storage is considered. Such a packet switch can never run out of buffers. It can, however, still become congested. The meaning of congestion in an infinite-storage system is explored. An unexpected result is found that shows a datagram network with infinite storage, first-in-first-out queuing, at least two packet switches, and a finite packet lifetime will, under overload, drop all packets. By attacking the problem of congestion for the infinite-storage case, new solutions applicable to switches with finite storage may be found. No proposed solutions this document are intended as standards for the ARPA-Internet at this time.
For the definition of Status, see RFC 2026.
For the definition of Stream, see RFC 4844.