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Quality of Outcome

Document Type Active Internet-Draft (ippm WG)
Authors Bjørn Ivar Teigen , Magnus Olden
Last updated 2024-03-21
Replaces draft-olden-ippm-qoo
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IP Performance Measurement                                  B. I. Teigen
Internet-Draft                                                  M. Olden
Intended status: Informational                                     Domos
Expires: 22 September 2024                                 21 March 2024

                           Quality of Outcome


   This document describes a new network quality framework named Quality
   of Outcome (QoO).  The QoO framework is unique among network quality
   frameworks because it is designed to meet the needs of application
   developers, users and operators.  This is achieved by basing the
   framework on Quality Attenuation, defining a simple format for
   specifying application requirements, and defining a way to compute a
   simple and intuitive user-facing metric.

   The framework proposes a way of sampling network quality, setting
   network quality requirements and a formula for calculating the
   probability for the sampled network to satisfy network requirements.

About This Document

   This note is to be removed before publishing as an RFC.

   The latest revision of this draft can be found at  Status
   information for this document may be found at

   Discussion of this document takes place on the IP Performance
   Measurement Working Group mailing list (, which
   is archived at
   Subscribe at

   Source for this draft and an issue tracker can be found at

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Motivation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.2.  Design Goal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     2.3.  Requirements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
       2.3.1.  Requirements for end-users  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
       2.3.2.  Requirements from Application and Platform
               Developers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
       2.3.3.  Requirements for Network Operators and Network Solution
               Vendors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   3.  Background  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     3.1.  Discussion of other performance metrics . . . . . . . . .  10
       3.1.1.  Average Peak Throughput . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
       3.1.2.  Average Latency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       3.1.3.  99th Percentile of Latency  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       3.1.4.  Variance of latency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       3.1.5.  Inter-Packet Delay Variation (IPDV) . . . . . . . . .  11
       3.1.6.  Packet Delay Variation (PDV)  . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       3.1.7.  Trimmed Mean of Latency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       3.1.8.  Round-trips Per Minute  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12

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       3.1.9.  Quality Attenuation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       3.1.10. Summary of performance metrics  . . . . . . . . . . .  13
   4.  Sampling requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
   5.  Describing Network Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
   6.  Calculating Quality of Outcome (QoO)  . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
     6.1.  Example requirements and measured latency:  . . . . . . .  18
   7.  How to find network requirements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
     7.1.  An example  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
   8.  Known Weaknesses and open questions . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
     8.1.  Missing Temporal Information in Distributions.  . . . . .  21
     8.2.  Subsampling the real distribution . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
     8.3.  Assuming Linear Relationship between Perfect and Unusable
           (and that it is not really a probability) . . . . . . . .  21
     8.4.  Binary Bandwidth threshold  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
     8.5.  Low resolution on Packet Loss . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
     8.6.  Arbitrary selection of percentiles  . . . . . . . . . . .  22
   9.  Implementation status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
     9.1.  qoo-c . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  23
     9.2.  goresponsiveness  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  23
   10. Conventions and Definitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
   11. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
   12. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
   13. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
     13.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
     13.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
   Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  27
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  27

1.  Introduction

   This document explores how the quality attenuation metric and
   framework [TR-452.1] can be extended to meet the full set of
   requirements described in the Motivation section.  The goal is to
   define a network requirement framework that allows application
   developers to specify their network requirements, along with a way to
   create a simple user-facing metric based on comparing application
   requirements to measurements of network performance.  Basing this
   framework on quality attenuation [TR-452.1] ensures that network
   operators get the fault-isolation and network planning benefits of

   Quality attenuation is a network quality metric that meets most of
   the criteria set out in the requirements; it can capture the
   probability of a network satisfying application requirements, it is
   composable, and it can be compared to a variety of application
   requirements.  The part that is yet missing is how to present quality
   attenuation results to end-users and application developers in an
   understandable way.  We believe a per-application, per application-

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   type, or per-SLA approach is appropriate here.  The challenge lies in
   specifying how to simplify enough without losing too much in terms of
   precision and accuracy.

   We believe the probabilistic approach is key as the network stack and
   application's network quality adaptation can be highly complex.
   Applications and the underlying networking protocols make separate
   optimizations based on their perceived network quality over time and
   saying something about an outcome with absolute certainty will be
   practically impossible.  We can however make educated guesses on the
   probability of outcomes.

   We propose representing network quality as a minimum required
   throughput and set of latency and loss percentiles.  Application
   developers, regulatory bodies and other interested parties can
   describe network requirements in the same manner.  We propose a
   formula for a distance measure between perfect and unusable.  This
   distance measure can, with some assumptions, calculate something that
   can be simplified into statements such as “A Video Conference has a
   93% chance of being lag free on this network” all while making it
   possible to use the framework both for end-to-end test and analysis
   from within the network.

   The work proposes a minimum viable framework, and often trades
   precision for simplicity.  The justification for this is to ensure
   adoption and usability in many different contexts such as active
   testing from applications and monitoring from network equipment.  To
   counter the loss of precision, we require some parameters that allow
   for analysis of the precision.

2.  Motivation

   This section describes the features and attributes a network quality
   framework must have to be useful for different stakeholders.  The
   stakeholders included are Application developers, End-Users, and
   Network Operators and Vendors.  At a high level, End-Users need an
   understandable network metric.  Application developers need a network
   metric that allows them to evaluate how well their application is
   likely to perform given the measured network performance.  Network
   Operators and Vendors need a metric that facilitates troubleshooting
   and optimization of their networks.  Existing network quality metrics
   and frameworks typically address the needs of one or two of these
   stakeholders, but we have yet to find one that bridges the needs of
   all three.

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2.1.  Introduction

   This section aims to describe the features a network performance
   framework must have to be understandable to end-users, useful for
   application developers, and actionable for network operators.  One of
   the key motivations behind this initiative is to bridge the gap
   between the technical aspects of network performance and the
   practical needs of those who depend on it.  While solutions exist for
   many of the problems causing high and unstable latency in the
   Internet, the incentives to deploy them have remained relatively
   weak.  By creating a unifying framework for assessing network
   quality, we aim to strengthen these incentives significantly.

   Bandwidth is necessary but not sufficient for high-quality modern
   network experiences.  Idle latency, working latency, jitter, and
   unmitigated packet loss are major causes of poor application
   outcomes.  The impact of latency is widely recognized in network
   engineering circles [BITAG].  Unfortunately, it is complicated to
   benchmark the quality of network transport.  Most end-users are
   unable to relate to metrics other than Mbps, which they have long
   been conditioned to think of as the only dimension of network

   Real Time Response under load tests[RRUL] and Responsiveness [RPM]
   make huge strides in making a better network quality metric that is
   far closer to application outcomes than bandwidth is, and the latter
   is successful at being relatively relatable/understandable to end-

   As pointed out in [RPM], “Our networks remain unresponsive, not from
   a lack of technical solutions, but rather a lack of awareness of the
   problem.” The lack of awareness means a lack of incentives for
   operators to invest in improving network quality (beyond increasing
   the throughput).  While Open Source solutions exist, vendors rarely
   implement them.  And it all boils down to the lack of a universally
   accepted network quality framework that captures how well
   applications are likely to work.

   A recent IAB workshop on measuring internet quality for end users
   identified this important point: Users mostly care about application
   performance (as opposed to network performance).  Among the
   conclusions is the statement, "A really meaningful metric for users
   is whether their application will work properly or fail because of a
   lack of a network with sufficient characteristics" [RFC9318].  One of
   the requirements we set out here is, therefore, to be able to answer
   this question: "Will an application work properly?".  An answer to
   this question requires a few things; First, we must acknowledge that
   the internet is stochastic (from the point-of-view of any given

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   client), and we can never answer this question with certainty.
   Second, different applications have different needs and adapt
   differently to varying network conditions.  Any framework aiming to
   answer this question must be able to cater to the needs of different
   applications.  Thirdly, end users are individuals with different
   perception of, and levels of tolerance for, degradation of network
   conditions and the resulting effect on application experience.

2.2.  Design Goal

   The overall goal is to describe the requirements for an objective
   network quality framework and metric that is useful for end-users,
   application developers, and network operators/vendors alike.

2.3.  Requirements

   This section describes the three main requirements and the motivation
   for each.

   In general, all stakeholders ultimately care about the success of
   applications running over the network.  Application success depends
   not just on bandwidth but also on the delay of the network links and
   computational steps involved in making the application function.

   These delays in turn depend on how the application places load on the
   network, how the network is affected by environmental conditions and
   the behavior of other users sharing the network resources.

   Different applications have different needs from the network, and
   they put different patterns of load on the network.  To provide an
   answer to whether or not applications will work well or fail, a
   network quality framework must therefore be able to compare
   measurements of network performance to many different application

   Flexibility in describing application requirements and the ability to
   capture the delay characteristics of the network in enough detail to
   compute how likely application success is with satisfactory accuracy
   and precision are necessary conditions.

   How can operators take action when measurements show that
   applications fail too often?  We can answer this question if the
   measured metric(s) support spatial composition [RFC6049], [RFC6390].
   Spatial composition gives us the ability to divide results into sub-
   results, each measuring the performance of a required sub-milestone
   that must be reached in time for the application to succeed.

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   To summarise, the framework and "meaningful metric" we're looking for
   should have the following properties:

   1.  Capture the information necessary to compute the probability that
       applications will work well.  (Useful for End-users and
       Application developers)

   2.  Compare meaningfully to different application requirements.

   3.  Compose.  So that operators can isolate and quantify the
       contributions of different sub-outcomes and sub-paths of the
       network.  (Useful for Operators and Vendors)

2.3.1.  Requirements for end-users

   The quality framework should facilitate a metric that is objective,
   relatable, and relatively understandable for an end-user.  We are
   looking for a middle ground between objective QoS metrics
   (Throughput, packet loss, jitter, average latency) and subjective but
   understandable QoE metrics (MOS, 5-star ratings).  The ideal
   framework should be objective, like QoS metrics, and understandable,
   like QoE metrics.

   If these requirements are met, the end-user can understand if a
   network can reliably deliver what they care about: the outcomes of
   applications.  Examples are how quickly a web page loads, the
   smoothness of a video conference, or whether or not a video game has
   any lag.

   Each end user will have an individual tolerance of session quality,
   below which their quality of experience becomes personally
   unacceptable.  However it may not be feasible to capture and
   represent these tolerances _per user_ as the user group scales.  A
   compromise is for the quality of experience framework to place the
   responsibility for sourcing and representing end-user requirements
   onto the application developer.  Application developers should
   perform user-acceptance testing (UAT) of their application across a
   range of users, terminals and network conditions to determine the
   terminal and network requirements that will meet the end-user quality
   threshold for an acceptable subset of their end users.  Some real
   world examples where 'acceptable levels' have been derived by
   application developers include (note: developers of similar
   applications may have arrived at different figures):

   *  Remote music collaboration: 28ms latency note-to-ear for direct
      monitoring, <2ms jitter

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   *  Online gaming: 6Mb/s downlink throughput and 30ms RTT to join a
      multiplayer game

   *  Virtual reality: <20ms RTT from head motion to rendered update in

   Performing this UAT helps the developer understand what likelihood a
   new end-user has of an acceptable Quality of Experience based on the
   application's existing requirements towards the network.  These
   requirements can evolve and improve based on feedback from end users,
   and in turn better inform the application's requirements towards the

2.3.2.  Requirements from Application and Platform Developers

   The framework needs to give developers the ability to describe the
   network requirements of their applications.  The format for
   specifying network requirements must include all relevant dimensions
   of network quality so that different applications which are sensitive
   to different network quality dimensions can all evaluate the network
   accurately.  We can only expect some developers to have network
   expertise, so to make it easy for developers to use the framework,
   developers must be able to specify network requirements
   approximately.  Therefore, it must be possible to describe both
   simple and complex network requirements.  The framework also needs to
   be flexible so that it can be used with different kinds of traffic
   and that extreme network requirements which far exceed the needs of
   today's applications can also be articulated.

   If these requirements are met, developers of applications or
   platforms can state or test their network requirements and evaluate
   if the network is sufficient for a great application outcome.  Both
   the application developers with networking expertise and those
   without can use the framework.

2.3.3.  Requirements for Network Operators and Network Solution Vendors

   From an operator perspective, the key is to have a framework that
   lets operators find the network quality bottlenecks and objectively
   compare different networks and technologies.  The framework must
   support mathematically sound compositionality ('addition' and
   'subtraction') to achieve this.  Why?  Network operators rarely
   manage network traffic end-to-end.  If a test is purely end-to-end,
   the ability to find bottlenecks may be gone.  If, however, we could
   measure end-to-end (e.g., a-b-c-d-e) and not-end-to-end (e.g.,
   b-c-d-e) and subtract, we can isolate the areas outside the influence
   of the network operator.  In other words, we could get the network
   quality of a-b and b-c-d-e separately.  Compositionality is essential

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   for fault detection and accountability.

   By having mathematically correct composition, a network operator can
   measure two segments separately, perhaps even with different
   approaches, and add them together to understand the end-to-end
   network quality.

   For another example where spatial composition is useful, we can look
   at a typical web page load sequence.  If we measure web page load
   times and find they are too often too slow, we may then separately
   measure DNS resolution time, TCP round-trip time, and the time it
   takes to establish TLS connections to get a better idea of where the
   problem is.  A network quality framework should support this kind of
   analysis to be maximally useful for operators.  The quality framework
   must be applicable in both lab testing and monitoring of production
   networks.  It must be useful on different time scales, and it can't
   have a dependency on network technology or OSI layer.

   If these requirements are met, a network operator can monitor and
   test their network and understand where the true bottlenecks are,
   regardless of network technology.

3.  Background

   The foundation of the framework is Quality Attenuation [TR-452.1].
   This work will not go into detail about how to measure Quality
   Attenuation, but some relevant techniques are:

   *  Active probing with TWAMP Light [RFC5357] / STAMP [RFC8762] / IRTT

   *  Varying Latency Under Load Tests

   *  Varying Speed Tests with latency measures

   *  Simulating real traffic

   *  End-to-end measurements of real traffic

   *  TCP SYN ACK / DNS Lookup RTT Capture

   *  Estimation

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   Quality Attenuation represents quality measurements as distributions.
   Using Latency distributions to measure network quality is nothing new
   and has been proposed by various researchers/practitioners
   [Kelly][RFC8239][RFC6049].  The novelty of the Quality Attenuation
   metric is to view packet loss as infinite (or too late to be of use
   e.g. > 3 seconds) latency [TR-452.1].

   Latency Distributions can be gathered via both passive monitoring and
   active testing.  The active testing can use any type of IP traffic,
   such as TCP, UDP, or QUIC.  It is OSI Layer and network technology
   independent, meaning it can be gathered in an end-user application,
   within some network equipment, or anywhere in between.

   A key assumption behind the choice of latency distribution is that
   different applications and application categories fail at different
   points of the latency distribution.  Some applications, typically
   downloads, have lenient latency requirements.  Video Conferences
   typically are sensitive to high 90th percentile latency and to the
   difference between the 90th and the 99th percentile.  Online gaming
   typically has a low tolerance for high 99th percentile latency.  All
   applications require a minumum level of throughput and a maximum
   packet loss rate.  A network quality metric that aims to generalize
   network quality must take the latency distribution, throughput, and
   packet loss into consideration.

   Two distributions can be composed using convolution [TR-452.1].

3.1.  Discussion of other performance metrics

   Many network performance metrics and frameworks for reasoning about
   them have been proposed, used, and abused throughout the years.  We
   present a brief description of some of the most relevant metrics.

   For each of the metrics below, we discuss whether or not they meet
   each of the three criteria set out in the requirements.

3.1.1.  Average Peak Throughput

   Throughput is related to user-observable application outcomes because
   there must be _enough_ bandwidth available.  Adding extra bandwidth
   above a certain threshold will, at best, receive diminishing returns
   (and any returns are often due to reduced latency).  It is not
   possible to compute the probability of application success or failure
   based on throughput alone for most applications.  Throughput can be
   compared to a variety of application requirements, but since there is
   no direct correlation between throughput and application performance,
   it is not possible to conclude that an application will work well
   even if we know that enough throughput is available.

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   Throughput cannot be composed.

3.1.2.  Average Latency

   Average latency relates to user-observable application outcomes in
   the sense that the average latency must be low enough to support a
   good experience.  However, it is not possible to conclude that a
   general application will work well based on the fact that the average
   latency is good enough [BITAG].

   Average latency can be composed.  If the average latency of links a-b
   and b-c is known, then the average latency of the composition a-b-c
   is the sum of a-b and b-c.

3.1.3.  99th Percentile of Latency

   The 99th percentile of latency relates to user-observable application
   outcomes because it captures some information about how bad the tail
   latency is.  If an application can handle 1% of packets being too
   late, for instance by maintaining a playback buffer, then the 99th
   percentile can be a good metric for measuring application
   performance.  It does not work as well for applications that are very
   sensitive to overly delayed packets because the 99th percentile
   disregards all information about the delays of the worst 1% of

   It is not possible to compose 99th-percentile values.

3.1.4.  Variance of latency

   The variance of latency can be calculated from any collection of
   samples, but network latency is not necessarily normally distributed,
   and so it can be difficult to extrapolate from a measure of the
   variance of latency to how well specific applications will work.

   The variance of latency can be composed.  If the variance of links
   a-b and b-c is known, then the variance of the composition a-b-c is
   the sum of the variances a-b and b-c.

3.1.5.  Inter-Packet Delay Variation (IPDV)

   The most common definition of IPDV [RFC5481] measures the difference
   in one-delay between subsequent packets.  Some applications are very
   sensitive to this because of time-outs that cause later-than-usual
   packets to be discarded.  For some applications, IPDV can be useful
   in assessing application performance, especially when it is combined
   with other latency metrics.  IPDV does not contain enough information
   to compute the probability that a wide range of applications will

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   work well.

   IPDV cannot be composed.

3.1.6.  Packet Delay Variation (PDV)

   The most common definition of PDV [RFC5481] measures the difference
   in one-delay between the smallest recorded latency and each value in
   a sample.

   PDV cannot be composed.

3.1.7.  Trimmed Mean of Latency

   The trimmed mean of latency is the average computed after the worst x
   percent of samples have been removed.  Trimmed means are typically
   used in cases where there is a known rate of measurement errors that
   should be filtered out before computing results.

   In the case where the trimmed mean simply removes measurement errors,
   the result can be composed in the same way as the average latency.
   In cases where the trimmed mean removes real measurements, the
   trimming operation introduces errors that may compound when composed.

3.1.8.  Round-trips Per Minute

   Round-trips per minute [RPM] is a metric and test procedure
   specifically designed to measure delays as experienced by
   application-layer protocol procedures such as HTTP GET, establishing
   a TLS connection, and DNS lookups.  It, therefore, measures something
   very close to the user-perceived application performance of HTTP-
   based applications.  RPM loads the network before conducting latency
   measurements and is, therefore, a measure of loaded latency (also
   known as working latency) well-suited to detecting bufferbloat

   RPM is not composable.

3.1.9.  Quality Attenuation

   Quality Attenuation is a network performance metric that combines
   latency and packet loss into a single variable [TR-452.1].

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   Quality Attenuation relates to user-observable outcomes in the sense
   that user-observable outcomes can be measured using the Quality
   Attenuation metric directly, or the quality attenuation value
   describing the time-to-completion of a user-observable outcome can be
   computed if we know the quality attenuation of each sub-goal required
   to reach the desired outcome [Haeri22].

   Quality Attenuation is composable because the convolution of quality
   attenuation values allows us to compute the time it takes to reach
   specific outcomes given the quality attenuation of each sub-goal

3.1.10.  Summary of performance metrics

   This table summarizes the properties of each of the metrics we have

   The column "Capture probability of general applications working well"
   records whether each metric can, in principle, capture the
   information necessary to compute the probability that a general
   application will work well.  We assume measurements capture the
   properties of the end-to-end network path that the application is

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   | Metric      | Capture probability of | Easy to      | Composable |
   |             | general applications   | articulate   |            |
   |             | working well           | Application  |            |
   |             |                        | requirements |            |
   | Average     | Yes for some           | Yes          | Yes        |
   | latency     | applications           |              |            |
   | Variance of | No                     | No           | Yes        |
   | latency     |                        |              |            |
   | IPDV        | Yes for some           | No           | No         |
   |             | applications           |              |            |
   | PDV         | Yes for some           | No           | No         |
   |             | applications           |              |            |
   | Average     | Yes for some           | Yes          | No         |
   | Peak        | applications           |              |            |
   | Throughput  |                        |              |            |
   | 99th        | No                     | No           | No         |
   | Percentile  |                        |              |            |
   | of Latency  |                        |              |            |
   | Trimmed     | Yes for some           | Yes          | No         |
   | mean of     | applications           |              |            |
   | latency     |                        |              |            |
   | Round Trips | Yes for some           | Yes          | No         |
   | Per Minute  | applications           |              |            |
   | Quality     | Yes                    | No           | Yes        |
   | Attenuation |                        |              |            |

                                 Table 1

4.  Sampling requirements

   To reach the design goal of being useful in the contexts laid out in
   the Motivation section, this work imposes no requirement on the time
   period or the network loading situation.  This choice has pros and
   cons.  Latency under load is extremely important, but average or
   median latency has a role too.  However, a network quality metric
   that does not take latency under load into account is bound to fail
   at predicting application outcome.

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   This framework only requires a latency distribution.  If the sampling
   is done while the network is loaded, latency under load will be part
   of the distribution, which is encouraged, but is not always possible,
   for example when passively monitoring the latency of real traffic.

   It takes quite a few samples to have a statistically significant
   distribution.  Modeling a distribution may be a challenging software
   engineering task, hence we need to sample the latency distribution at
   certain percentiles.  A list of 10 percentiles in a logarithmic-esque
   fashion has already been suggested in industry [0th, 10th, 25th,
   50th, 75th, 90th, 95th, 99th, 99.9th, 100th] and seems adequate.  We
   propose to define a shared set of percentile values to report.

   The framework is flexible when it comes to the direction of traffic
   that is being sampled, but does require that it is noted whether the
   latency distribution is measured one-way or two-way.  The framework
   does not require an explicit throughput measurement, but does require
   a note on the maximal observed throughput in the time period.

   By not requiring a specific number of samples, this framework allows
   taking 10 samples and calling it a distribution, which of course is
   not ideal.  On the other hand, making the framework overly complex
   and difficult to adhere to using real-world equipment and
   applications is likely to reduce willingness to adopt the framework.
   Constraints will vary for different network equipment and

   To make sure we can trust measurements from others and analyze their
   precision, we require:

   *  Timestamp of first sample

   *  Duration of the sampling period

   *  Number of samples

   *  Type of measurement:

      -  Cyclic (a sample every Nth ms) - Specify N

      -  Bursts (X samples every Nth ms) - Specify X and N

      -  Passive (observing traffic and therefore unevenly sampled)

   By requiring the report of these variables, we ensure that the
   network measurements can be analyzed for precision and confidence.

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5.  Describing Network Requirements

   This work builds upon the work already proposed in the Broadband
   Forum standard called Quality of Experience Delivered (QED/TR-452)
   [TR-452.1].  In essence, it describes network requirements as a list
   of percentile and latency requirement tuples.  In other words, a
   network requirement may be expressed as: The network requirement for
   this app quality level/app/app category/SLA is “at 4 Mbps, 90% of
   packets needs to arrive within 100 ms, 100% of packets needs to
   arrive within 200ms”. This list can be as simple as “100% of packets
   need to arrive within 200ms” or as long as you would like.  For the
   sake of simplicity, the requirements percentiles must match one or
   more of the percentiles defined in the measurements, i.e., one can
   set requirements at the [0th, 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 90th, 95th,
   99th, 99.9th, 100th] percentiles.  The last specified percentile
   marks the acceptable packet loss.  I.e. if the 99th percentile is the
   highest percentile defined, 1% packet loss (100-99) is inferred.

   Applications do of course have throughput requirements.  With
   classical TCP and typical UDP flows, latency and packet loss would be
   enough, as they are bound to create some latency or packet loss when
   ramping up throughput if subsequently they become hindered by
   insufficient bandwidth.  However, we cannot always rely on monitoring
   latency exclusively, as low bandwidth may give poor application
   outcomes without necessarily inducing a lot of latency.  Therefore,
   the network requirements should include a minimum throughput

   Whether the requirements are one-way or two-way must be specified.
   Where the requirement is one-way, the direction (uplink or downlink)
   must be specified.  If two-way, a decomposition into uplink and
   downlink measurements may be specified.

   Until now, network requirements and measurements are what is already
   standardized in the BBF TR-452 (aka QED) framework [TR-452.1].  The
   novel part of this work is what comes next.  A method for going from
   Network Requirements and Network Measurements to probabilities of
   good application outcomes.

   To do that we need to make articulating the network requirements a
   little bit more complicated.  A key design goal was to have a
   distance measure between perfect and unusable, and have a way of
   quantifying what is ‘better’.

   We extend the requirements to include the quality required for
   perfection and a quality threshold beyond which the application is
   considered unusable.

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   This is named Network Requirements for Perfection (NRP).  As an
   example: At 4 Mbps, 99% of packets need to arrive within 100ms, 99.9%
   within 200ms (implying that 0.1% packet loss is acceptable) for the
   outcome to be perfect.  Network Requirement Point of Unusableness
   (NRPoU): If 99% of the packets have not arrived after 200ms, or 99.9%
   within 300ms, the outcome will be unusable.

   Where the NRPoU percentiles and NRP are a required pair then neither
   should define a percentile not included in the other - i.e., if the
   99.9th percentile is part of the NRPoU then the NRP must also include
   the 99.9th percentile.

6.  Calculating Quality of Outcome (QoO)

   At this point we have everything we need to calculate the quality of
   the application outcome (QoO).  There are 3 scenarios:

   1.  The network meets all the requirements for perfection.  There is
       a 100% chance that the application is not lagging because of the

   2.  The network does meet one of the criteria of the Point of
       Unusableness.  There is a 0% chance that the application will
       work well, and it's because of the network

   3.  The network does not meet NRP but is not beyond NRPoU.

   1 and 2 require nothing more from the framework.  For 3, we will now
   specify the calculation to translate these distances to a 0 to 100
   measure.  We use the percentile pair where the measured latency is
   the closest to the NRPoU as the application is only as good as its
   weakest link.


   QoO = min_{i}(min(max((1-((ML-NRP)/(NRPoU-NRP))) * 100, 0), 100))


   ML = Measured Latency in percentiles and milliseconds
   NRP = Network Requirement for Perfection, defined as minimum
   throughput and percentiles and milliseconds
   NRPoU = Network Requirement Point of Unusableness in percentiles and
   and i iterates over the list of percentiles and milliseconds

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   Essentially, where on the relative distance between Network
   Requirement for Perfection (NRP) and Network Requirement Point of
   Unusableness (NRPoU) the Measured Latency (ML) lands, normalized to a

6.1.  Example requirements and measured latency:

   NRP: 4 Mbps {99%, 250 ms},{99.9%, 350 ms} NRPoU: {99%, 400
   ms},{99.9%, 401 ms} Measured Latency: .... 99% = 350ms, 99.9% = 352
   ms Measured Minumum bandwidth: 32 Mbps / 28 Mbps

   Then the QoO is defined:


   = min(
    (min(max((1-(350 ms - 250 ms)/(400 ms - 250 ms))*100), 0), 100),
    (min(max((1-(352 ms - 350 ms)/(401 ms - 350 ms))*100), 0), 100)

   = min(33.33,96.08)

   = 33.33

   In this example, we would say: This application/SLA/application
   category has a 33% chance of being lag-free on this network.  Note
   that packet loss is included as infinite latency, so if there is
   enough packet loss to breach the highest percentile requirement then
   the QoO is 0.

7.  How to find network requirements

   A key advantage of having a measurement that stretches between
   perfect and unusable, as opposed to having a binary (Good/Bad) or
   other low resolution (Superbad/Bad/OK/Great/Supergreat) metrics, is
   that we have some leeway.  The leeway is useful, for instance: a
   lower than 20% chance of lag free experience is intuitively not good
   and a greater than 90% chance of lag free experience is intuitively
   good --- meaning we don’t have to find perfection for making the QoO
   metric useful.

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   Nevertheless we have to find some points for unusableness and
   perfection.  There is no strict definition of when the network is so
   bad that the application is unusable.  For perfect, we may have a
   definition for some apps, but for apps like web browsing and gaming,
   lower latency is simply better.  But to assist those who wish to make
   a requirement, we can say that if the end-user experience does not
   change when reducing the latency, the network quality is sufficient
   for the Network Requirements for Perfection (NRP) .

   Someone who wishes to make a network requirement for an application
   in the simplest possible way, should do something along these lines.

   *  Simulate increasing levels of latency

   *  Observe the application and note the threshold where the
      application stops working perfectly

   *  Observe the application and note the threshold where the
      application stops being useful at all

   Someone who wishes to find sophisticated network requirements might
   proceed in this way

   *  Set thresholds for acceptable fps, animation fluidity, i/o latency
      (voice, video, actions), or other metrics capturing outcomes that
      directly affects the user experience

   *  Create a tool for measuring these user-facing metrics

   *  Simulate varying latency distribution with increasing levels of
      latency while measuring the user facing metrics.

   A QoO score at 94 can be communicated as "John's smartphone has a 94%
   chance of lag-free Video Conferencing", however, this does not mean
   that at any point of time there is a 6% chance of lag.  It means
   there is a 6% chance of experiencing lag during the entire session/
   time-period, and the network requirements should be adjusted

   The reason for making the QoO metric for a session is to make it
   understandable for an end-user, an end-user should not have to relate
   to the time period the metric is for.

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7.1.  An example's video-conferencing service requirements can be
   translated into the QoO Framework.  For best performance for video
   meetings, they specify 4/4 Mbps, 100 ms latency, <1% packet loss, and
   <30 ms jitter.  This can be translated to an NRP:

   NRP video conferencing service: At minimum 4/4 Mbps.

   For minimum requirements does not specify anything, but
   at 500ms latency or 1000ms 99p latency, a video conference is very
   unlikely to work in a remotely satisfactory way.

   NRPoU {0p=500,99p=1000ms}

   Of course, it is possible to specify network requirements for with multiple NRP/NRPoU, for different quality levels,
   one/two way video, and so on.  Then one can calculate the QoO at each

8.  Known Weaknesses and open questions

   We have described a way of simplifying how the network requirements
   of applications can be compared to quality attenuation measurements.
   The simplification introduces several artifacts that may or may not
   be significant.  If new information emerges that indicate other
   tradeoffs are more fit for our purpose, we should switch before this
   Internet Draft moves further.  In this section we discuss some known

   Volatile networks - in particular, mobile cellular networks - pose a
   challenge for network quality prediction, with the level of assurance
   of the prediction likely to decrease as session duration increases.
   Historic network conditions for a given cell may help indicate times
   of network load or reduced transmission power, and their effect on
   throughput/latency/loss.  However: as terminals are mobile, the
   signal bandwidth available to a given terminal can change by an order
   of magnitude within seconds due to physical radio factors.  These
   include whether the terminal is at the edge of cell, or undergoing
   cell handover, the interference and fading from the local
   environment, and any switch between radio bearers with differing
   signal bandwidth and transmission-time intervals (e.g. 4G and 5G).
   This suggests a requirement for measuring quality attenuation to and
   from an individual terminal, as that can account for the factors
   described above.  How that facility is provisioned onto indiviudal
   terminals, and how terminal-hosted applications can trigger a quality
   attenuation query, is an open question.

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8.1.  Missing Temporal Information in Distributions.

   These two latency series: 1,200,1,200,1,200,1,200,1,200 and
   1,1,1,1,1,200,200,200,200,200 will have identical distributions, but
   may have different application performance.  Ignoring this
   information is a tradeoff between simplicity and precision.  To
   capture all information necessary to perfectly capture outcomes we
   are getting into extreme computational complexity.  As an
   application's performance is bound by how the developers react to
   varying network performance, meaning nearly all different series of
   latencies may have different application outcomes.

   It will most likely be necessary to add a time-scale to the
   application requirement specifications.

8.2.  Subsampling the real distribution

   Additionally, we cannot capture latency on every packet that is sent.
   We can probe and sample, but there will always be unknowns.  We are
   now in the realm of probability.  Perfection is impossible, but
   instead of denying this, we should embrace it, which is why talking
   about the probability of outcomes is the way forward.

8.3.  Assuming Linear Relationship between Perfect and Unusable (and
      that it is not really a probability)

   One can conjure up scenarios where 50ms latency is actually worse
   than 51ms latency as developers may have chosen 50ms as the threshold
   for changing quality, and the threshold may be imperfect.  Taking
   these scenarios into account would add another magnitude of
   complexity to determining network requirements and finding a distance
   measure (between requirement and actual measured capability).

8.4.  Binary Bandwidth threshold

   Choosing this is to reduce complexity, but we do acknowledge that the
   applications are not that simple.  The defence for this trade off is
   that insufficient bandwidth will cause queues and therefore latency,
   and it should be possible to see this.  Additionally, network
   requirements can be set up per quality level (resolution, fps etc.)
   for the application.  However, having too many network requirements
   also increases the complexity for users of the framework, and it is
   still unclear if this is the optimal tradeoff.

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8.5.  Low resolution on Packet Loss

   To ensure simplicity, packet loss is described as infinite latency
   and the resolution will be bound to the percentiles we chose to
   sample.  There is a good argument that some applications need higher
   resolution on packet loss for sufficiently describing application
   outcomes.  If this good evidence is presented for this, packet loss
   should be measured separately and added to the QoO formula.

8.6.  Arbitrary selection of percentiles

   There is a need for a selection of percentiles, as we in the name of
   simplicity can’t use them all.  But how should we select them?  The
   0th (minimal) and 50th (median) percentile have implicit usage by
   themselves.  [BITAG] discusses that the 90th, 98th and 99th
   percentiles are key for some apps.  In general the wisdom is that the
   higher percentiles are more useful for interactive applications, but
   only to a certain point.  At this point an application sees it as
   packet loss and may adapt to it.  Should we pick the 95th, 96th
   percentile, the 96.5th or the 97th?  We don’t know, and as this is
   likely not universal across applications and applications classes, we
   simply have to choose arbitrarily, and to the best of our knowledge.

9.  Implementation status

   Note to RFC Editor: This section MUST be removed before publication
   of the document.

   This section records the status of known implementations of the
   protocol defined by this specification at the time of posting of this
   Internet-Draft, and is based on a proposal described in [RFC7942].
   The description of implementations in this section is intended to
   assist the IETF in its decision processes in progressing drafts to
   RFCs.  Please note that the listing of any individual implementation
   here does not imply endorsement by the IETF.  Furthermore, no effort
   has been spent to verify the information presented here that was
   supplied by IETF contributors.  This is not intended as, and must not
   be construed to be, a catalog of available implementations or their
   features.  Readers are advised to note that other implementations may

   According to [RFC7942], "this will allow reviewers and working groups
   to assign due consideration to documents that have the benefit of
   running code, which may serve as evidence of valuable experimentation
   and feedback that have made the implemented protocols more mature.
   It is up to the individual working groups to use this information as
   they see fit".

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9.1.  qoo-c

   *  Link to the open-source repository:

   *  The organization responsible for the implementation:


   *  A brief general description:

      A C library for calculating Quality of Outcome

   *  The implementation's level of maturity:

      A complete implentation of the specification described in this

   *  Coverage:

      The library is tested with unit tests

   *  Licensing:

      GPL 2.0

   *  Implementation experience:

      Tested by the author.  Needs additional testing by third parties.

   *  Contact information:

      Bjørn Ivar Teigen:

   *  The date when information about this particular implementation was
      last updated:

      10th of January 2024

9.2.  goresponsiveness

   *  Link to the open-source repository:

      The specific pull-request:

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   *  The organization responsible for the implementation:

      University of Cincinatti for goresponsiveness as a whole, Domos
      for the QoO part.

   *  A brief general description:

      A network quality test written in Go.  Capable of measuring RPM
      and QoO.

   *  The implementation's level of maturity:

      In active development

   *  Coverage:

      The QoO part is tested with unit tests

   *  Licensing:

      GPL 2.0

   *  Implementation experience:

      Needs testing by third parties

   *  Contact information:

      Bjørn Ivar Teigen:

      William Hawkins III:

   *  The date when information about this particular implementation was
      last updated:

      10th of January 2024

10.  Conventions and Definitions

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in
   BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
   capitals, as shown here.

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11.  Security Considerations

   TODO Security

12.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no IANA actions.

13.  References

13.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <>.

13.2.  Informative References

   [BITAG]    BITAG, "Latency Explained", October 2022,

              "Bufferbloat: Dark buffers in the Internet", n.d.,

              "Requirements for a Network Quality Framework Useful for
              Applications, Users, and Operators", n.d..

   [Haeri22]  "Mind Your Outcomes: The ΔQSD Paradigm for Quality-Centric
              Systems Development and Its Application to a Blockchain
              Case Study", n.d.,

   [IRTT]     "Isochronous Round-Trip Tester", n.d.,

   [Kelly]    Kelly, F. P., "Networks of Queues", n.d.,

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   [RFC5357]  Hedayat, K., Krzanowski, R., Morton, A., Yum, K., and J.
              Babiarz, "A Two-Way Active Measurement Protocol (TWAMP)",
              RFC 5357, DOI 10.17487/RFC5357, October 2008,

   [RFC5481]  Morton, A. and B. Claise, "Packet Delay Variation
              Applicability Statement", RFC 5481, DOI 10.17487/RFC5481,
              March 2009, <>.

   [RFC6049]  Morton, A. and E. Stephan, "Spatial Composition of
              Metrics", RFC 6049, DOI 10.17487/RFC6049, January 2011,

   [RFC6390]  Clark, A. and B. Claise, "Guidelines for Considering New
              Performance Metric Development", BCP 170, RFC 6390,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6390, October 2011,

   [RFC7942]  Sheffer, Y. and A. Farrel, "Improving Awareness of Running
              Code: The Implementation Status Section", BCP 205,
              RFC 7942, DOI 10.17487/RFC7942, July 2016,

   [RFC8239]  Avramov, L. and J. Rapp, "Data Center Benchmarking
              Methodology", RFC 8239, DOI 10.17487/RFC8239, August 2017,

   [RFC8762]  Mirsky, G., Jun, G., Nydell, H., and R. Foote, "Simple
              Two-Way Active Measurement Protocol", RFC 8762,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8762, March 2020,

   [RFC9318]  Hardaker, W. and O. Shapira, "IAB Workshop Report:
              Measuring Network Quality for End-Users", RFC 9318,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC9318, October 2022,

   [RPM]      "Responsiveness under Working Conditions", July 2022,

   [RRUL]     "Real-time response under load test specification", n.d.,

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   [TR-452.1] Broadband Forum, "TR-452.1: Quality Attenuation
              Measurement Architecture and Requirements", September


   TODO acknowledge.

Authors' Addresses

   Bjørn Ivar Teigen
   Gaustadalléen 21

   Magnus Olden
   Gaustadalléen 21

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