CoDel queue disc

This chapter describes the CoDel ([Nic12], [Nic14]) queue disc implementation in ns-3.

Developed by Kathleen Nichols and Van Jacobson as a solution to the bufferbloat [Buf14] problem, CoDel (Controlled Delay Management) is a queuing discipline that uses a packet’s sojourn time (time in queue) to make decisions on packet drops.

Note that, starting from ns-3.25, CoDel is no longer a queue variant and cannot be installed as a NetDevice queue. Instead, CoDel is a queue disc and must be installed in the context of the traffic control (see the examples mentioned below).

Model Description

The source code for the CoDel model is located in the directory src/traffic-control/model and consists of 2 files codel-queue-disc.h and defining a CoDelQueueDisc class and a helper CoDelTimestampTag class. The code was ported to ns-3 by Andrew McGregor based on Linux kernel code implemented by Dave Täht and Eric Dumazet.

  • class CoDelQueueDisc: This class implements the main CoDel algorithm:
    • CoDelQueueDisc::DoEnqueue (): This routine tags a packet with the current time before pushing it into the queue. The timestamp tag is used by CoDelQueue::DoDequeue() to compute the packet’s sojourn time. If the queue is full upon the packet arrival, this routine will drop the packet and record the number of drops due to queue overflow, which is stored in m_dropOverLimit.
    • CoDelQueueDisc::ShouldDrop (): This routine is CoDelQueueDisc::DoDequeue()’s helper routine that determines whether a packet should be dropped or not based on its sojourn time. If the sojourn time goes above m_target and remains above continuously for at least m_interval, the routine returns true indicating that it is OK to drop the packet. Otherwise, it returns false.
    • CoDelQueueDisc::DoDequeue (): This routine performs the actual packet drop based on CoDelQueueDisc::ShouldDrop ()’s return value and schedules the next drop/mark.
  • class CoDelTimestampTag: This class implements the timestamp tagging for a packet. This tag is used to compute the packet’s sojourn time (the difference between the time the packet is dequeued and the time it is pushed into the queue).

There are 2 branches to CoDelQueueDisc::DoDequeue ():

  1. If the queue is currently in the dropping state, which means the sojourn time has remained above m_target for more than m_interval, the routine determines if it’s OK to leave the dropping state or it’s time for the next drop/mark. When CoDelQueueDisc::ShouldDrop () returns false, the queue can move out of the dropping state (set m_dropping to false). Otherwise, the queue continuously drops/marks packets and updates the time for next drop (m_dropNext) until one of the following conditions is met:

    1. The queue is empty, upon which the queue leaves the dropping state and exits CoDelQueueDisc::ShouldDrop () routine;
    2. CoDelQueueDisc::ShouldDrop () returns false (meaning the sojourn time goes below m_target) upon which the queue leaves the dropping state;
    3. It is not yet time for next drop/mark (m_dropNext is less than current time) upon which the queue waits for the next packet dequeue to check the condition again.
  2. If the queue is not in the dropping state, the routine enters the dropping state and drop/mark the first packet if CoDelQueueDisc::ShouldDrop () returns true (meaning the sojourn time has gone above m_target for at least m_interval for the first time or it has gone above again after the queue leaves the dropping state).

The CoDel queue disc does not require packet filters, does not admit child queue discs and uses a single internal queue. If not provided by the user, a DropTail queue operating in the same mode (packet or byte) as the queue disc and having a size equal to the CoDel MaxSize attribute is created. Otherwise, the capacity of the queue disc is determined by the capacity of the internal queue provided by the user.


  1. Nichols and V. Jacobson, Controlling Queue Delay, ACM Queue, Vol. 10 No. 5, May 2012. Available online at
  1. Nichols and V. Jacobson, Internet-Draft: Controlled Delay Active Queue Management, March 2014. Available online at
[Buf14] Available online at


The key attributes that the CoDelQueue class holds include the following:

  • MaxSize: The maximum number of packets/bytes the queue can hold. The default value is 1500 * DEFAULT_CODEL_LIMIT, which is 1500 * 1000 bytes.
  • MinBytes: The CoDel algorithm minbytes parameter. The default value is 1500 bytes.
  • Interval: The sliding-minimum window. The default value is 100 ms.
  • Target: The CoDel algorithm target queue delay. The default value is 5 ms.
  • UseEcn: True to use ECN (packets are marked instead of being dropped). The default value is false.
  • CeThreshold: The CoDel CE threshold for marking packets. Disabled by default.


The first example is located in src/traffic-control/examples. To run the file (the first invocation below shows the available command-line options):

$ ./ns3 run "codel-vs-pfifo-basic-test --PrintHelp"
$ ./ns3 run "codel-vs-pfifo-basic-test --queueType=CoDel --pcapFileName=codel.pcap"

The expected output from the previous commands are two files: codel.pcap file and (ASCII trace) file The .pcap file can be analyzed using wireshark or tcptrace:

$ tcptrace -l -r -n -W codel.pcap

The second example is located in src/traffic-control/examples. This example is intended to model a typical cable modem deployment scenario. To run the file:

$ ./ns3 run "codel-vs-pfifo-asymmetric --PrintHelp"
$ ./ns3 run codel-vs-pfifo-asymmetric

The expected output from the previous commands is six pcap files:

  • codel-vs-pfifo-asymmetric-CoDel-server-lan.pcap
  • codel-vs-pfifo-asymmetric-CoDel-router-wan.pcap
  • codel-vs-pfifo-asymmetric-CoDel-router-lan.pcap
  • codel-vs-pfifo-asymmetric-CoDel-cmts-wan.pcap
  • codel-vs-pfifo-asymmetric-CoDel-cmts-lan.pcap
  • codel-vs-pfifo-asymmetric-CoDel-host-lan.pcap

One attribute file:

  • codel-vs-pfifo-asymmetric-CoDel.attr

Five ASCII trace files:



The CoDel model is tested using CoDelQueueDiscTestSuite class defined in src/traffic-control/test/ The suite includes 5 test cases:

  • Test 1: The first test checks the enqueue/dequeue with no drops and makes sure that CoDel attributes can be set correctly.
  • Test 2: The second test checks the enqueue with drops due to queue overflow.
  • Test 3: The third test checks the NewtonStep() arithmetic against explicit port of Linux implementation
  • Test 4: The fourth test checks the ControlLaw() against explicit port of Linux implementation
  • Test 5: The fifth test checks the enqueue/dequeue with drops according to CoDel algorithm
  • Test 6: The sixth test checks the enqueue/dequeue with marks according to CoDel algorithm

The test suite can be run using the following commands:

$ ./ns3 configure --enable-examples --enable-tests
$ ./ns3 build
$ ./ -s codel-queue-disc


$ NS_LOG="CoDelQueueDisc" ./ns3 run "test-runner --suite=codel-queue-disc"