Management of multi-queue switches in QoS networks

Yossi Azar, Yossi Richter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concept of Quality of Service (QoS) networks has gained growing attention recently, as the traffic volume in the Internet constantly increases, and QoS guarantees are essential to ensure proper operation of most communication-based applications. A QoS switch serves m incoming queues by transmitting packets arriving to these queues through one output port, one packet per time step. Each packet is marked with a value indicating its priority in the network. Since the queues have bounded capacities and the rate of arriving packets can be much higher than the transmission rate, packets can be lost due to insufficient queue space. The goal is to maximize the total value of transmitted packets. This problem encapsulates two dependent questions: buffer management, namely which packets to admit into the queues, and scheduling, i.e. which queue to use for transmission in each time step. We use competitive analysis to study online switch performance in QoS-based networks. Specifically, we provide a novel generic technique that decouples the buffer management and scheduling problems. Our technique transforms any single-queue buffer management policy (preemptive or non-preemptive) to a scheduling and buffer management algorithm for our general m queues model, whose competitive ratio is at most twice the competitive ratio of the given buffer management policy. We use our technique to derive concrete algorithms for the general preemptive and non-preemptive cases, as well as for the interesting special cases of the 2-value model and the unit-value model. We also provide a 1.58-competitive randomized algorithm for the unit-value case. This case is interesting by itself since most current networks (e.g. IP networks) do not yet incorporate full QoS capabilities, and treat all packets equally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-96
Number of pages16
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Buffer management
  • Competitive ratio
  • Competitiveness
  • Multi-queue switch
  • On-line algorithms
  • Packet switching
  • Quality of Service


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