Evaluation of ARPANET services January-March, 1972
RFC 369

Document Type RFC - Unknown (July 1972; No errata)
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Network Working Group                                         J. Pickens
Request for Comments: 369               UCSB COMPUTER SYSTEMS LABORATORY
NIC: 6801                                                   25 July 1972

                     EVALUATION OF ARPANET SERVICES
                      January through March, 1972

ABSTRACT

   RFC #302, Exercising the ARPANET, described a group organized at UCSB
   to investigate the network resources.  The stated goals were to
   develop problem solving capability and, in the process, produce
   helpful criticism for the nodes investigated.  This report summarizes
   the group's experiences and finding and suggests network refinements
   to improve user satisfaction.

   The group's encounter with ARPANET included many unexpected problems
   and difficulties.  Most worthy of mention are software heterogeneity
   and inadequate documentation.

   From this first hand experience the group has formulated criteria for
   ease in use of network resources.  The report presents these criteria
   as well as suggestions for improved documentation, better utilization
   of current resources, and a plea for regular usage of inter-personal
   communications facilities.  Individual sites have been graded on
   reliability, response, and friendliness.  Comments regarding specific
   sites have been included to help in adapting to the needs of
   uninitiated users.

   Despite problems encountered in the initial nine week exposure,
   enough was learned of ARPANET resources to enable the group to write
   useful software.  Programs to effect automatic login, file transfer,
   and interprocess communication have been written and put to use.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

      BACKGROUND
         Approach.......................................  2
         Goals..........................................  2
      THE SURVEY
         Extent and Duration............................  3
         Statistical Results............................  3
      CRITIQUE OF ARPANET SERVICES
         A Site Measurement Parameter, "Friendliness"...  4
         Software Critique..............................  5
         Community Spirit...............................  5
         Economics......................................  6

Pickens                                                         [Page 1]
RFC 369              EVALUATION OF ARPANET SERVICES            July 1972

      SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
         Software.......................................  6
         Community Spirit...............................  7
      CONCLUSION........................................  8
      APPENDIX A
         Sample of Survey Questionnaire................   9
      APPENDIX B
         Grades and Comments for Specifics Sites.......  10

BACKGROUND

Approach

   The test group was organized from a group of Electrical Engineering
   graduate students in Computer Science.  Within the group was
   represented a substantial degree of experience with high level
   languages and time sharing systems (such as the Dartmouth BASIC and
   UCSB mathematical graphics systems).  However, no one had experience
   in exercising ARPANET, and few knew what resources the ARPANET
   represented.  After two weeks of presentation from Jim White and
   Roland Bryan, the group was turned loose for open experimentation.

   Enthusiasm was high as each group managed to locate and decode the
   login procedures for various nodes and began to learn how to use the
   available resources.  In fact, half of the weekly seminar time was
   devoted to sharing learned experiences and procedures.  Interest,
   however, lagged some as the quarter progressed due to poor network
   site reliability, few active nodes, and hard to locate documentation
   (only five out of fourteen students remained active after the first
   quarter).

Goals

   The primary goal of the group was to learn how to use and to evaluate
   network resources.  It was decided to be fair but direct in
   evaluating each site, including UCSB.  Since the level of networking
   experience was initially low, the evaluation criteria was dictated
   mostly by gut feelings.

   At the conclusion of the first quarter's effort, a questionnaire was
   given to the students (a sample of which is included in Appendix A).

Pickens                                                         [Page 2]
RFC 369              EVALUATION OF ARPANET SERVICES            July 1972

   The group response is summarized for overall performance below.  Data
   for individual sites is presented in Appendix B. Some of the
   questions asked were the following:

      Estimate percentage of time spent in various trouble states
      Estimate the mean time to failure
      Describe personal experience with the network
      Suggest improvements
      Grade the investigated nodes on the factors of reliability,
      response, and friendliness

THE SURVEY

Extent and Duration

   During the period in which the major effort was expended (January-
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