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USENIX 2005 Annual Technical Conference, FREENIX Track — Abstract

Pp. 61–70 of the Proceedings

Trickle: A Userland Bandwidth Shaper for Unix-like Systems

Marius A. Eriksen, Google, Inc.


As with any finite resource, it is often necessary to apply policies to the shared usage of network resources. Existing solutions typically implement this by employing traffic management in edge routers. However, users of smaller networks regularly find themselves in need of nothing more than ad-hoc rate limiting. Such networks are typically unmanaged, with no network administrator(s) to manage complicated traffic management schemes. Trickle bridges this gap by providing a simple and portable solution to rate limit the TCP connections of a given process or group of processes.

Trickle takes advantage of the Unix dynamic loader's preloading functionality to interposition itself in front of the BSD socket API provided by the system's libc. Running entirely in user space, shapes network traffic by delaying and truncating socket I/Os without requiring administrator privileges. Instances of Trickle can cooperate, even across networks allowing for the specification of global rate limiting policies. Due to the prevalence of BSD sockets and dynamic loaders, Trickle enjoys the benefit of portability accross a multitude of Unix-like platforms.

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