The final theorem in Chapter 19 of Meyn and Tweedie's Markov Chains and Stochastic Stability tells us that if the mean inter-arrival time $\lambda$ of a GI/G/1 queue is greater than its mean service time $\mu$, then the queue is positive Harris recurrent.

Question: What stability results are known for a continuous-time GI/G/1 queue for which $\lambda=\mu$, and in which the variances of the inter-arrival time and service time random variables are positive? Is it known that such a queue cannot be positive Harris recurrent? Regular?

The Lyapunov function used in Meyn-Tweedie, which is an expected hitting time, is not going to work for $\lambda=\mu$.

I searched in Morozov and Delgado's survey paper, which claims that "stability conditions of the classical GI/G/m queue are well known", and in other surveys, but found no mention of the $\lambda=\mu$ case there.

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    $\begingroup$ Hi, Daniel. Unfortunately, I don't have it at hand at the moment, but you might look in S. Asmussen, Applied Probability and Queues, 2nd ed., Springer Applications in Mathematics. If I recall, Chapter X discusses (steady state) properties of GI/G/1 and I believe Chapter XII has a brief section on GI/G/m. In both places, some results on $\lambda =\mu$ are provided ($\rho = 1$ in the book's notation). Sorry I can't provide a more precise pointer at the moment. $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Jun 10, 2014 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. This seems to be it (although the proofs are tremendously condensed!). Do you want to post this as an answer and I can accept it? $\endgroup$ Jun 11, 2014 at 11:18

1 Answer 1


After some research I found the answer; essentially contained in cardinal's comment. Please let me know if you have anything to add.

For the Lindley process $Z_{n+1} = \max(0, Z_n+ U_n)$ with $\rho=1$, two results seem to be known:

  1. $\frac{Z_n}{\sqrt{n}}$ converges to a normal random variable with mean $0$ and variance $\sigma^2=\mathrm{Var}(U_n)$, where $\sigma\in(0,\infty)$. This is in Billingsley, Chapter 2, cited slightly inaccurately in Asmussen (condition $\sigma>0$ omitted), Proposition X.1.2.
  2. The expected first hitting time is 1 if the interarrival time equals the service time with probability 1 (`deterministic case'), and is infinite otherwise. This is in Kalashnikov, Mathematical Methods in Queueing Theory Section 5.3.3. It is mentioned slightly inaccurately in Asmussen, Proposition X.1.3.

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