Tik-110.350 Computer Networks, Spring 1997
Homework 9

Internet real time measurement and analysis

Why measurement is important

Communities of academia, equipment vendors and service providers share a common interest in developing Internet measurements and analysis. Internet traffic is growing rapidly and it puts new demands for the used connections and equipments. If the traffic can be analysed somehow, maybe estimates about the growth can also be made.
Measurement also helps in finding and correcting potential problems in the network. This is important, especially for ISPs that want to keep their customers happy.

A report of the Internet Statistics and Metrics Analysis (ISMA) workshop on 1996 can be found here: <URL:http://www.nlanr.net/ISMA/Report/> (****)
Next ISMA workshop will be held on May 1 - 2, 1997, here is some information about it: <URL:http://www.nlanr.net/ISMA/isma97.html/> (**)

What can be measured

Measurement and analysis focus basically on two things; performance and analysis of the traffic.
Some performance metrics that are measured are responce times, throughputs and packet loss rates.

Definitions for performance metrics:

When analysing internet traffic, portions of different protocols or amount of traffic between different locations can be analysed. One of the important areas nowadays is trying to find data flows in traffic. If flows can be detected, new techniques can be developed to switch flow data between endpoints without routing it on each router.


One of the major problems in collecting and analysing the data in Internet is privacy. Some ISPs refuse to collect any data that can violate the privacy of their customers. However, if reliable statistics are needed, some compromises have to be made.

Another big problem is the lack of tools and definitions. Nobody really knows what should be measured and how to do it. Some tools have been developed but they are normally limited, either the environment where they work is limited to networks of specific type or a specific router.


IETF (The Internet Engineering Task Force) has several working groups that work on the area of measurement and analysis, some of them are listed below. The homepage of IETF is <URL:http://www.ietf.org/> (***) NLANR (National Laboratory for Applied Network Research) is maintaining the vBNS network (very high speed Backbone Network Services) and therefore it pays a lot of attention to performance and traffic analysis. A lot of information and links can be found on NLANR homepage <URL:http://www.NLANR.net/> (****)

vBNS also has an own homepage <URL:http://www.vbns.net/> (****)

NLANR/Caida (Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis) has links to related areas on their homepage: <URL:http://www.NLANR.net/Caida/> (****)


Caida has also made a list of different measurement tools: <URL:http://www.NLANR.net/Caidants/> (****)
A very long list about different tools and their availability is on the following page: <URL:http://www.NLANR.net/Caidants/meastools.html> (*****)

A link to another list maintained by IPMA (Internet Performance Measurement and Analysis) is on page <URL:http://nic.merit.edu/ipma/> (***)


Some organisations provide statistics about Internet performance and usage as well.

NLANR has some end-to-end Internet performance metrics on page: <URL:http://www.NLANR.net/Viz/End2end/> (***)

vBNS provides statistics on page <URL:http://www.vbns.net/stats/> (***),
It also provides an interactive tool to query flow statistics <URL:http://www.vbns.net/stats/flows/html/level0/> (***)
of data collected by OC3MON software tool: <URL:http://www.nlanr.net/NA/Oc3mon/> (****)


There is a newsgroup comp.dcom.net-analysis (**) but it seems quite quiet, another one you can try is comp.dcom.net-management (**).

Other related links

IPPM Mail Archive Contents
<URL:http://www.advanced.org/IPPM/archive/index.html> (****)

NLANR list of areas that need attention
<URL:http://www.NLANR.net/NA/construction.html> (***)

Internet Information Presentation
<URL:http://www.nlanr.net/INFO/> (***)

The importance of all links is evaluated on scale 1-5 stars (*).

Motivation for this work

This www-page contains some basic information about Internet measurement and analysis. My work with these issues continues in summer 1997. Then I might update this page and add some new links on the list, anyhow I don't quarantee anything.
This page is maintained by Erja Kinnunen, Email: Erja.Kinnunen@hut.fi
Last update 24.4.1997