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Reliable Real-Time Messaging Over Unreliable Networks

Thu, 05/08/2008 - 8:27am
Real-Time Innovations (RTI) announces support for lossy networks in RTI Data Distribution Service 4.3. Lossy networks — those that have uncertain or sporadic connectivity. Most distributed systems today rely on messaging middleware that uses the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) for inter-application and inter-node communication. TCP is popular because it provides reliable delivery of messages and data. However, TCP has characteristics that make it undesirable for use in real-time applications where the underlying network itself is not reliable.

RTI provides a built-in transport that is Internet Protocol (IP)-based and employs the User Datagram Protocol (UDP). RTI also provides a completely tunable reliability model to optimize transport utilization over transient, high-delay, bandwidth-limited and lossy networks.

One of the many ways the RTI reliability model provides higher utilization of low-bandwidth networks is that it allows the frequency of heartbeats and acknowledgements to be fine-tuned. The result is efficient and reliable transport for unreliable networks that can be tuned as network conditions and bandwidth requirements fluctuate. In environments that typically experience up to three percent packet loss, RTI can achieve greater than 90% network utilization, which is far superior to TCP performance.

The RTI reliability model is completely configurable, enabling developers to achieve the appropriate balance of determinism and reliability even in the presence of bandwidth-limited, high-latency and lossy transports. The use of UDP in conjunction with the RTI reliability model supports features not available with TCP, such as multicast, for extremely efficient data distribution.

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