Techno-economic feasibility analysis of multipath protocols in the Internet

Henna Suomi (Née Warma)

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


During the past few decades, multipath protocols have been developed to improve load balancing in the Internet. These protocols can send the traffic of individual end users through several paths simultaneously and switch the traffic from one path to another. Despite many technical proposals, multipath protocols are not widely deployed and their economic feasibility remains unstudied. This research fills the gap by analyzing the economic feasibility of multipath protocols from the perspective of different stakeholders. The research essentially considers the use case of accessing Internet services with mobile devices. The objective of the research is to identify and elaborate the factors affecting economic feasibility of multipath protocols, and also their effects on the Internet connectivity market. Furthermore, this research aims to develop the methods for studying not only the feasibility of multipath but also other Internet protocols. Several methods are employed to attain these objectives. Economic theories of network effects and switching costs are taken as the basis for studying the feasibility. System dynamics and variants of techno-economic modeling are used to model the diffusion process and to elaborate the costs and benefits of multipath protocols. Data collection is based on literature, expert interviews and network performance measurements. The results indicate that the protocols enabling host-controlled switch of access operators seem initially more compelling than the protocols that allow accessing several operators simultaneously. Especially, three factors are seen to affect the feasibility of multipath protocols positively: 1) growing number of multihoming-capable (e.g., multi-SIM) devices, 2) higher performance requirements of emerging applications, and 3) increasing capacity of batteries. In case of wide-scale deployment, the market impacts of client multihoming and multipath protocols are expected to be significant since they will reallocate the cost and revenue flows of operators and increase competition in the mobile access. The modeling methods of this research create a novel and practical approach to the research of protocol feasibility. As opposed to traditional economics modeling which neglects the details of a technical structure (black box), techno-economic modeling considers the technical architecture as a white box allowing for the identification of the deployment challenges and opportunities of a protocol. In addition, the research observes that comparing the costs of a protocol against the non-monetary benefits, instead of a purely monetary comparison, is often more applicable approach to the techno-economic analysis of protocols.
Translated title of the contributionInternetin monitieprotokollien teknis-taloudellinen analyysi
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Hämmäinen, Heikki, Supervising Professor
  • Hämmäinen, Heikki, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-5704-0
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5705-7
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • multipath protocols
  • Internet
  • feasibility
  • techno-economic analysis


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