By randomly dropping packets prior to periods of high congestion, WRED tells the packet source to decrease its transmission rate. If the packet source is using TCP, it will decrease its transmission rate until all the packets reach their destination, which indicates that the congestion is cleared.
WRED generally drops packets selectively based on IP precedence. Packets with a higher IP precedence are less likely to be dropped than packets with a lower precedence. Thus, the higher the priority of a packet, the higher the probability that the packet will be delivered.
WRED reduces the chances of tail drop by selectively dropping packets when the output interface begins to show signs of congestion. By dropping some packets early rather than waiting until the queue is full, WRED avoids dropping large numbers of packets at once and minimizes the chances of global synchronization. Thus, WRED allows the transmission line to be used fully at all times.
In addition, WRED statistically drops more packets from large users than small. Therefore, traffic sources that generate the most traffic are more likely to be slowed down than traffic sources that generate little traffic.
WRED avoids the globalization problems that occur when tail drop is used as the congestion avoidance mechanism. Global synchronization manifests when multiple TCP hosts reduce their transmission rates in response to packet dropping, then increase their transmission rates once again when the congestion is reduced.
WRED is only useful when the bulk of the traffic is TCP/IP traffic. With TCP, dropped packets indicate congestion, so the packet source will reduce its transmission rate. With other protocols, packet sources may not respond or may resend dropped packets at the same rate. Thus, dropping packets does not decrease congestion.
WRED treats non-IP traffic as precedence 0, the lowest precedence. Therefore, non-IP traffic, in general, is more likely to be dropped than IP traffic.
The figure below illustrates how WRED works.
Figure 2. Weighted Random Early Detection