A common situation occurring when dealing with multimedia traffic is having large data frames fragmented into smaller IP packets, and having these packets sent independently through the network. For real-time multimedia traffic, dropping even few packets of a frame may render the entire frame useless. Such traffic is usually modeled as having inter-packet dependencies. We study the problem of scheduling traffic with such dependencies, where each packet has a deadline by which it should arrive at its destination. Such deadlines are common for real-time multimedia applications, and are derived from stringent delay constraints posed by the application. The figure of merit in such environments is maximizing the system’s goodput, namely, the number of frames successfully delivered.
We study online algorithms for the problem of maximizing goodput of delay-bounded traffic with inter-packet dependencies, and use competitive analysis to evaluate their performance. We present competitive algorithms for the problem, as well as matching lower bounds that are tight up to a constant factor. We further present the results of a simulation study which further validates our algorithmic approach and shows that insights arising from our analysis are indeed manifested in practice.