IPPM Metrics for Measuring Connectivity
RFC 2678

Document Type RFC - Proposed Standard (September 1999; No errata)
Obsoletes RFC 2498
Authors Jamshid Mahdavi  , Vern Paxson 
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                                        J. Mahdavi
Request for Comments: 2678             Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
Obsoletes: 2498                                               V. Paxson
Category: Standards Track         Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
                                                         September 1999

                IPPM Metrics for Measuring Connectivity

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1999).  All Rights Reserved.

1. Introduction

   Connectivity is the basic stuff from which the Internet is made.
   Therefore, metrics determining whether pairs of hosts (IP addresses)
   can reach each other must form the base of a measurement suite.  We
   define several such metrics, some of which serve mainly as building
   blocks for the others.

   This memo defines a series of metrics for connectivity between a pair
   of Internet hosts.  It builds on notions introduced and discussed in
   RFC 2330, the IPPM framework document.  The reader is assumed to be
   familiar with that document.

   The structure of the memo is as follows:

 +    An analytic metric, called Type-P-Instantaneous-Unidirectional-
      Connectivity, will be introduced to define one-way connectivity at
      one moment in time.
 +    Using this metric, another analytic metric, called Type-P-
      Instantaneous-Bidirectional-Connectivity, will be introduced to
      define two-way connectivity at one moment in time.
 +    Using these metrics, corresponding one- and two-way analytic
      metrics are defined for connectivity over an interval of time.

Mahdavi & Paxson            Standards Track                     [Page 1]
RFC 2678        IPPM Metrics for Measuring Connectivity   September 1999

 +    Using these metrics, an analytic metric, called Type-P1-P2-
      Interval-Temporal-Connectivity, will be introduced to define a
      useful notion of two-way connectivity between two hosts over an
      interval of time.
 +    Methodologies are then presented and discussed for estimating
      Type-P1-P2-Interval-Temporal-Connectivity in a variety of

   Careful definition of Type-P1-P2-Interval-Temporal-Connectivity and
   the discussion of the metric and the methodologies for estimating it
   are the two chief contributions of the memo.

2. Instantaneous One-way Connectivity

2.1. Metric Name:


2.2. Metric Parameters:

 +    Src, the IP address of a host
 +    Dst, the IP address of a host
 +    T, a time

2.3. Metric Units:


2.4. Definition:

   Src has *Type-P-Instantaneous-Unidirectional-Connectivity* to Dst at
   time T if a type-P packet transmitted from Src to Dst at time T will
   arrive at Dst.

2.5. Discussion:

   For most applications (e.g., any TCP connection) bidirectional
   connectivity is considerably more germane than unidirectional
   connectivity, although unidirectional connectivity can be of interest
   for some security applications (e.g., testing whether a firewall
   correctly filters out a "ping of death").  Most applications also
   require connectivity over an interval, while this metric is
   instantaneous, though, again, for some security applications
   instantaneous connectivity remains of interest.  Finally, one might
   not have instantaneous connectivity due to a transient event such as
   a full queue at a router, even if at nearby instants in time one does
   have connectivity.  These points are addressed below, with this
   metric serving as a building block.

Mahdavi & Paxson            Standards Track                     [Page 2]
RFC 2678        IPPM Metrics for Measuring Connectivity   September 1999

   Note also that we have not explicitly defined *when* the packet
   arrives at Dst.  The TTL field in IP packets is meant to limit IP
   packet lifetimes to 255 seconds (RFC 791).  In practice the TTL field
   can be strictly a hop count (RFC 1812), with most Internet hops being
   much shorter than one second.  This means that most packets will have
   nowhere near the 255 second lifetime.  In principle, however, it is
   also possible that packets might survive longer than 255 seconds.
   Consideration of packet lifetimes must be taken into account in
   attempts to measure the value of this metric.

   Finally, one might assume that unidirectional connectivity is
   difficult to measure in the absence of connectivity in the reverse
   direction.  Consider, however, the possibility that a process on
   Dst's host notes when it receives packets from Src and reports this
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