Deep reinforcement learning for smart city communication networks

Zhenchang Xia, Shan Xue, Jia Wu*, Yanjiao Chen, Junjie Chen, Libing Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Smart city communication networks hold the promise of harnessing the Internet of Things, smart devices, intelligent energy grids, autonomous cars, and many other data architectures to improve quality of life for every citizen. As time and progress have gradually shifted this concept from an idea into a reality, the possibilities for what services a smart city might provide have exploded. Along with that expansion, the number of devices that may need to be supported across a communications network has multiplied enormously. However, existing congestion control protocols are not equipped to support this higher requirement for network performance. New protocols are needed to provide higher data throughputs, reduce queuing delays and packet loss, and maintain stable and reliable communications pathways. The end-to-end congestion control protocol presented in this article does all these things. Called high throughput congestion control (HTCC), the framework takes full advantage of reinforcement learning and a fast growth algorithm to adaptively control the bytes in flight across the network's links to suit the prevailing network conditions. The result is a protocol that not only finds the optimal tradeoff between throughput, latency, and packet loss, but also significantly speeds up the learning process to avoid wasting network resources, use all free bandwidth and maximize network utilization. A comprehensive set of experiments with HTCC and six state-of-the-art protocols - Copa, PCC Vivace, PCC-Allegro, TCP Cubic, TaoVA-100x, and FillP-Sheep - demonstrate that, in most conditions, HTCC is able to make the best tradeoff between throughput, delay, and loss rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4188-4196
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Communication network
  • congestion control
  • deep reinforcement learning
  • smart city
  • smart city service


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