From Single Lane to Highways: Analyzing the Adoption of Multipath TCP in the Internet

06/14/2021 ∙ by Florian Aschenbrenner, et al. ∙ 0

Multipath TCP (MPTCP) extends traditional TCP to enable simultaneous use of multiple connection endpoints at the source and destination. MPTCP has been under active development since its standardization in 2013, and more recently in February 2020, MPTCP was upstreamed to the Linux kernel. In this paper, we provide the first broad analysis of MPTCPv0 in the Internet. We probe the entire IPv4 address space and an IPv6 hitlist to detect MPTCP-enabled systems operational on port 80 and 443. Our scans reveal a steady increase in MPTCP-capable IPs, reaching 9k+ on IPv4 and a few dozen on IPv6. We also discover a significant share of seemingly MPTCP-capable hosts, an artifact of middleboxes mirroring TCP options. We conduct targeted HTTP(S) measurements towards select hosts and find that middleboxes can aggressively impact the perceived quality of applications utilizing MPTCP. Finally, we analyze two complementary traffic traces from CAIDA and MAWI to shed light on the real-world usage of MPTCP. We find that while MPTCP usage has increased by a factor of 20 over the past few years, its traffic share is still quite low.

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