Random Early Detection is a classless qdisc which manages its queue size smartly. Regular queues simply drop packets from the tail when they are full, which may not be the optimal behaviour. RED also performs tail drop, but does so in a more gradual way.
Once the queue hits a certain average length, packets enqueued have a configurable chance of being marked (which may mean dropped). This chance increases linearly up to a point called the max average queue length, although the queue might get bigger.
This has a host of benefits over simple taildrop, while not being processor intensive. It prevents synchronous retransmits after a burst in traffic, which cause further retransmits, etc.
The goal is the have a small queue size, which is good for interactivity while not disturbing TCP/IP traffic with too many sudden drops after a burst of traffic.
The average queue size is used for determining the marking probability. This is calculated using an Exponential Weighted Moving Average, which can be more or less sensitive to bursts.
Average queue size at which marking becomes a possibility.
At this average queue size, the marking probability is maximal. Should be at least twice min to prevent synchronous retransmits, higher for low min.
Maximum probability for marking, specified as a floating point number from 0.0 to 1.0. Suggested values are 0.01 or 0.02 (1 or 2%, respectively).
Hard limit on the real (not average) queue size in bytes. Further packets are dropped. Should be set higher than max+burst. It is advised to set this a few times higher than max.
Used for determining how fast the average queue size is influenced by the real queue size. Larger values make the calculation more sluggish, allowing longer bursts of traffic before marking starts. Real life experiments support the following guideline: (min+min+max)/(3*avpkt).
Specified in bytes. Used with burst to determine the time constant for average queue size calculations. 1000 is a good value.
This rate is used for calculating the average queue size after some idle time. Should be set to the bandwidth of your interface. Does not mean that RED will shape for you! Optional.
Floyd, S., and Jacobson, V., Random Early Detection gateways for Congestion Avoidance. http://www.aciri.org/floyd/papers/red/red.html