Network Working Group                                          A.Morton
Internet Draft                                             L.Ciavattone
Document: <draft-ietf-ippm-reordering-03.txt>            G.Ramachandran
Category: Standards Track                                     AT&T Labs

                   Packet Reordering Metric for IPPM

Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with
   all provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026 [1].

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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   This memo defines a simple metric to determine if a network has
   maintained packet order. It provides motivations for the new metric,
   gives the metric definition, and discusses the issues associated
   with its measurement. The memo defines additional sample metrics to
   quantify the extent of reordering in several useful dimensions. Some
   examples of evaluation using the various sample metrics are

1. Conventions used in this document

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [2].
   Although RFC 2119 was written with protocols in mind, the key words
   are used in this document for similar reasons.  They are used to
   ensure the results of measurements from two different
   implementations are comparable, and to note instances when an
   implementation could perturb the network.

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2. Introduction

   Ordered delivery is a property of successful packet transfer
   attempts, where the packet sequence ascends for each arriving packet
   and there are no backward steps.

   An explicit sequence number, such as an incrementing message number
   or the packet sending time carried in each packet, establishes the
   Source Sequence.

   The presence of reordering at the Destination is based on arrival

   This metric is consistent with RFC 2330 [3], and classifies arriving
   packets with sequence numbers smaller than their predecessors as
   out-of-order, or reordered. For example, if arriving packets are
   numbered 1,2,4,5,3, then packet 3 is reordered. This is equivalent
   to Paxon's reordering definition in [4], where "late" packets were
   declared reordered. The alternative is to emphasize "premature"
   packets instead (4 and 5 in the example), but only the arrival of
   packet 3 distinguishes this circumstance from packet loss. Focusing
   attention on late packets allows us to maintain orthogonality with
   the packet loss metric. The metric's construction is very similar to
   the sequence space validation for received segments in RFC793 [5].
   Earlier work to define ordered delivery includes [6], [7], [8], [9],
   [10] and more ???.

2.1 Motivation

   A reordering metric is relevant for most applications, especially
   when assessing network support for Real-Time media streams. The
   extent of reordering may be sufficient to cause a received packet to
   be discarded by functions above the IP layer.

   Packet order is not expected to change during transfer, but several
   specific path characteristics can cause their order to change.

   Examples are:
   * When two paths, one with slightly longer transfer time, support a
     single packet stream or flow, then packets traversing the longer
     path may arrive out-of-order. Multiple paths may be used to
     achieve load balancing, or may arise from route instability.
   * To increase capacity, a network device designed with multiple
     processors serving a single port may reorder as a byproduct.
   * A layer 2 retransmission protocol that compensates for an error-
     prone link may cause packet reordering.
   * If for any reason, the packets in a buffer are not serviced in the
     order of their arrival, their order will change.
   * If packets in a flow are assigned to multiple buffers (following
     evaluation of traffic characteristics, for example), and the

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     buffers have different occupations and/or service rates, then
     order will likely change.

   The ability to restore order at the destination will likely have
   finite limits.  Practical hosts have receiver buffers with finite
   size in terms of packets, bytes, or time (such as de-jitter
   buffers). Once the initial determination of reordering is made, it
   is useful to quantify the extent of reordering, or lateness, in all
   meaningful dimensions.

2.2 Goals and Objectives

   The definitions below intend to satisfy the goals of:
     1. Determining whether or not packet order is maintained.
     2. Quantifying the extent (achieving this second goal requires
        assumptions of upper layer functions and capabilities to
        restore order, and therefore several solutions).

   Reordering Metrics MUST:

   +  be relevant to one or more known applications
   +  be computable "on the fly"
   +  work with Poisson and Periodic test streams
   +  work even if the stream has duplicate or lost packets

   Reordering Metrics SHOULD:

   +  have concatenating results for segments measured separately
   +  have simplicity for easy consumption and understanding
   +  have relevance to TCP performance
   +  have relevance to Real-time application performance

3. An Ordered Arrival Singleton Metric

   The IPPM framework RFC 2330 [3] describes the notions of singletons,
   samples, and statistics. For easy reference:

        By a 'singleton' metric, we refer to metrics that are,
        in a sense, atomic.  For example, a single instance of "bulk
        throughput capacity" from one host to another might be defined
        as a singleton metric, even though the instance involves
        measuring the timing of a number of Internet packets.

   The evaluation of packet order requires several supporting concepts.
   The first is a sequence number applied to packets at the source to
   uniquely identify the order of packet transmission.  The sequence
   number may be established by a simple message number, a byte stream
   number, or it may be the actual time when each packet departs from
   the Source.

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   The second supporting concept is a stored value which is the "next
   expected" packet number. Under normal conditions, the value of Next
   Expected (NextExp) is the sequence number of the previous packet
   (plus 1 for message numbering).  In byte stream numbering, NextExp
   is a value 1 byte greater than the last in-order packet sequence
   number + payload. If Source time is used as the sequence number,
   NextExp is the Src time from the last in-order packet + 1 clock

   Each packet within a packet stream can be evaluated for its order
   singleton metric.

3.1 Metric Name:


3.2 Metric Parameters:

   +  Src, the IP address of a host

   +  Dst, the IP address of a host

   +  SrcTime, the time of packet emission from the Source (or wire

   +  s, the packet sequence number applied at the Source, in units of

   +  SrcByte, the packet sequence number applied at the Source, in
     units of payload bytes.

   +  NextExp, the Next Expected Sequence number at the Destination, in
     units of messages, time, or bytes.

   +  PayloadSize, the number of bytes contained in the information
      field and referred to when the SrcByte sequence is based on byte

3.3 Definition:

   The Type-P-Non-Reversing-Order of a packet is defined as true if
   s >= NextExp (the packet is in-order). In this case, NextExp is set
   to s+1.

   The Type-P-Non-Reversing-Order of a packet is defined as false if
   s < NextExp (the packet is reordered). In this case, NextExp value
   does not change.

   Since the Next Expected value cannot decrease, it represents a non-
   reversing order that is the basis to identify reordered packets.

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   For the alternate sequence dimensions, in-order packets have byte
   stream numbers or Source times greater than or equal to the value of
   Next Expected. Each new in-order packet will increase the Next
   Expected by 1 clock tick for Source times, or the payload size plus
   1 for byte numbering.

   This definition can also be specified in pseudo-code.
   On successful arrival of a packet with sequence number s:
        if s >= NextExp, /* s is true, in-order */
                NextExp = s + PayloadSize + 1;
        else            /* when s < NextExp */
                /* packet s is false, reordered */

   The sequence number s may be replaced by SrcTime or SrcByte. When
   using s (message-based sequence numbering) or Source time,

3.4 Discussion

   Any arriving packet bearing a sequence number from the sequence that
   establishes the Next Expected value can be evaluated to determine
   whether it is in-order or reordered, based on a previous packet's
   arrival. In the case where Next Expected is Undefined (because the
   arriving packet is the first successful transfer), the packet is
   designated in-order.

   This metric assumes re-assembly of packet fragments before

   If duplicate packets (multiple non-corrupt copies) arrive at the
   destination, they MUST be noted and only the first to arrive is
   considered for further analysis (copies would be declared reordered
   according to the definition above). This requirement has the same
   storage requirements as earlier IPPM metrics, and follows the
   precedent of RFC 2679.

   Packets with s > NextExp are a special case of in-order delivery.
   This condition indicates a sequence discontinuity, either because of
   packet loss or reordering. Reordered packets must arrive for the
   sequence discontinuity to be defined as a reordering discontinuity
   (see next section). Discontinuities are easiest to detect with
   message numbering or payload byte numbering where payload size is
   constant (and retransmissions are distinguished), and may be
   possible with Periodic Streams and Source Time numbering.

4. Sample Metrics

   In this section, we define metrics applicable to a sample of packets
   from a single Source sequence number system. We begin with a simple
   ratio metric indicating the reordered portion of the sample. When

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   this ratio is zero, no further reordering metrics are needed for
   that sample.

   When reordering occurs, it is highly desirable to assert the degree
   to which a packet is out-of-order, or reordered with respect to a
   sample of packets. This section defines several metrics that
   quantify the extent of reordering in various units of measure. Each
   "extent" metric highlights a relevant use.

   The metrics in the sub-sections below have a network
   characterization orientation, but also have relevance to receiver

4.1 Reordered Packet Ratio

4.1.1 Metric Name:


4.1.2 Metric Parameters:

   The parameter set includes Type-P-Non-Reversing-Order singleton
   parameters, the parameters unique to Poisson or Periodic Streams (as
   in RFC 2330 and RFC3432), plus the following:

   + T0, a start time

   + Tf, an end time

   + dT, a waiting time for each packet to arrive

4.1.3 Definition:

   For the packets arriving successfully between T0 and Tf+dT, the
   ratio of reordered packets in the sample is

   (Total of Reordered packets) / (Total packets received)

   This fraction may be expressed as a percentage (multiply by 100%).
   Note that in the case of duplicate packets, only the first copy is

4.2 Reordering Extent

   This section defines the extent to which packets are reordered, and
   associates a specific sequence discontinuity with each reordered

4.2.1 Metric Name:


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4.2.2 Parameter Notation:

   Given a stream of packets sent from a source to a destination, let K
   be the total number of packets in that stream.

   Assign each packet a sequence number, a consecutive integer from 1
   to K in the order of packet emission.

   Let L be the total number of packets received out of the K packets
   sent. Recall that identical copies (duplicates) have been removed,
   so L<=K.

   Let s[1], s[2], ..., s[L], represent the original sequence numbers
   associated with the packets in order of arrival.

   Consider a reordered packet (as identified in section 3) with
   arrival index i and source sequence number s[i]. There exists a set
   of indexes j (1<=j<i) such that s[j] > s[i].

4.2.3 Definition:

   The reordering extent, e, of packet s[i] is defined to be
   i-j for the smallest value of j.

   Informally, the reordering extent is the maximum distance, in
   packets, from a reordered packet to the earliest packet received
   that has a larger sequence number.  If a packet is in-order, it's
   reordering extent is undefined. The first packet to arrive is in-
   order by definition, and has undefined reordering extent.

   >>>>>>>   Comment on this definition of extent:  For some arrival
   orders, the assignment of a simple position/distance as the
   reordering extent tends to overestimate the receiver storage needed
   to restore order. We need to weigh the value of adding more
   complexity in this definition against the accuracy it would provide.
   A more accurate and complex procedure to calculate packet storage
   would be to subtract any earlier reordered packets that the receiver
   could pass on to the upper layers.
   Those who desire "on-the-fly" calculation must assess whether such a
   procedure is feasible.

4.2.4 Discussion:

   The packet with index j (s[j], identified in the Definition above)
   is the reordering discontinuity associated with packet with index i
   (s[i]). This definition is formalized below.

   Note that the K packets in the stream could be some subset of a
   larger stream, but L is still the total number of packets received
   out of the K packets sent in that subset.

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   A receiver must possess storage to restore order to packets that are
   reordered. For cases with single reordered packets, the extent e
   gives the number of packets that must be held in the receiver's
   buffer while waiting for the reordered packet to complete the
   sequence. For more complex scenarios, the extent may be an
   overestimate of required storage. See Examples section (specific
   example to be provided).

   Knowledge of the reordering extent e is particularly useful for
   determining the portion of reordered packets that can or cannot be
   restored to order in a typical receiver buffer based on their
   arrival order alone (and without the aid of retransmission).

   A sample's reordering extents may be expressed as a histogram, to
   easily summarize the frequency of various extents.

4.3 Reordering Offset

   Any reordered packets can be assigned offset values indicating the
   storage in bytes and lateness in terms of buffer time that a
   receiver must possess to accommodate them. The various offset
   metrics are calculated only on reordered packets, as identified by
   the ordered arrival singleton in section 3.

4.3.1 Metric Name: Type-P-packet-Late-Time-Stream

   Metric Parameters: In addition to the parameters defined for Type-P-
   Non-Reversing-Order, we specify:

   +  DstTime, the time that each packet in the stream arrives at Dst

   Definition: Lateness in time is calculated using Dst times. When
   received packet i is reordered, and has a reordering extent e, then:

   LateTime(i) = DstTime(i)-DstTime(i-e)

   Alternatively, using similar notation to that of section 4.2, an
   equivalent definition is:
   LateTime(i) = DstTime(i)-DstTime(j), for min{j|1<=j<i} that
   satisfies s[j]>s[i], or SrcTime[j]>SrcTime[i].

4.3.2 Metric Name: Type-P-packet-Byte-Offset-Stream

   Metric Parameters: We use the same parameters defined above.

   Definition: Byte stream offset is the sum of the payload sizes of
   intervening in-order packets between the reordered packet and the
   discontinuity (including the packet at the discontinuity).

   For reordered packet i with a reordering extent e:
   ByteOffset(i) = Sum[in-order packets back to reordering discon.]

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                 = Sum[PayloadSize(packet at i-1 if in-order),
                        PayloadSize(packet at i-2 if in-order), ...
                        PayloadSize(packet at i-e if in-order)]

4.3.3 Discussion

   The offset metrics can help predict whether reordered packets will
   be useful in a general receiver buffer system with finite limits.
   The limit may be the number of bytes or packets the buffer can
   store, or the time of storage prior to a cyclic play-out instant (as
   with de-jitter buffers).

   Note that the One-way IPDV [11] gives the delay variation for a
   packet w.r.t. the preceding packet in the source sequence. Lateness
   and IPDV give an indication of whether a buffer at Dst has
   sufficient storage to accommodate the network's behavior and restore
   order. When an earlier packet in the Src sequence is lost, IPDV will
   necessarily be undefined for adjacent packets, and Late Time may
   provide the only way to evaluate the usefulness of a packet.

   In the case of de-jitter buffers, there are circumstances where the
   receiver employs loss concealment at the intended play-out time of a
   late packet. However, if this packet arrives out of order, the Late
   Time determines whether the packet is still useful. IPDV no longer
   applies, because the receiver establishes a new play-out schedule
   with additional buffer delay to accommodate similar events in the
   future - this requires very minimal processing.

   When packets in the stream have variable sizes, it may be most
   useful to characterize Offset in terms of the payload size(s) of
   stored packets (using byte stream numbering).

4.4 Gaps between multiple Reordering Discontinuities

4.4.1 Metric Name:


4.4.2 Parameters:

   No new parameters.

4.4.3 Definition of Reordering Discontinuity:

   All reordered packets are associated with a packet at a reordering
   discontinuity, defined as the in-order packet arrival s[j] at the
   minimum value of j (1<=j<i) for which s[j]> s[i].

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   Recall that i - e = min(j). Subsequent reordered packets may be
   associated with the same s[j], or with a different discontinuity.
   This definition is used in the definition of the Reordering Gap,

4.4.4 Definition of Reordering Gap:

   A reordering gap is the distance between successive reordering
   discontinuities. Type-P-packet-Reordering-Gap-Stream assigns a value
   to (all) packets in a stream.


      The packet s[j'] is found to be a reordering discontinuity, based
      on the arrival of reordered packet s[i'] with extent e', and

      an earlier reordering discontinuity s[j], based on the arrival of
      reordered packet s[i] with extent e is detected, and

      i' > i, and

      there are no reordering discontinuities between j and j',

   then the Reordering Gap for packet s[j'] is the difference between
   the arrival positions the reordering discontinuities, as shown

   Gap(j')    =   (j')  -  (j)


   The Type-P-packet-Reordering-Gap-Stream for the packet is 0.

   Gaps may also be expressed in time:

   GapTime(j') = DstTime(j') - DstTime(j)

4.4.5 Discussion

   When separate reordering discontinuities can be distinguished, then
   a count may also be reported (along with the discontinuity
   description, such as the number of reordered packets associated with
   that discontinuity and their extents and offsets). The Gaps between
   a sample's reordering discontinuities may be expressed as a
   histogram, to easily summarize the frequency of various gaps.
   Reporting the mode, average, range, etc. may also summarize the

   The Gap metric may help to correlate the frequency of reordering
   discontinuities with their cause.

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4.5 Reordering-free Runs

   This section defines a metric based on a count of consecutive in-
   order packet arrivals.

4.5.1 Metric Name:


4.5.2 Parameters:

   No new parameters.

4.5.3 Definition:

   As packets in a sample arrive at Dst, the count of packets to the
   next reordered packet is a Reordering-Free run. Note that the
   minimum run-length is one according to this definition. A pseudo
   code example follows:

   r = 0; /* r is the run counter */
   z = 1; /* z is the index for storing different runs */
   Run[*]; /* a vector of run-lengths */

   while(packets arrive with sequence number s)
        if (s >= NextExp) /* s is in-order */
                then r++;

        else    /* s is reordered */
                r = 1;

4.5.4 Discussion:

   Each arrival of a reordered packet yields a new count in the Run
   vector.  Long runs accompany periods where order was maintained,
   while short runs indicate frequent, or multi-packet reordering.

5. Metric Related to Receiver Assessment

5.1 A TCP-Relevant Metric

5.1.1 Metric Name:


5.1.2 Parameter Notation:

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   Let n be a positive integer (a parameter).  Let k be a positive
   integer equal to the number of packets sent (sample size).  Let l be
   a non-negative integer representing the number of packets that were
   received out of the k packets sent.  (Note that there is no
   relationship between k and l: on one hand, losses can make l less
   than k; on the other hand, duplicates can make l greater than k.)
   Assign each sent packet a sequence number, 1 to k, in order of
   packet emission.

   Let s[1], s[2], ..., s[l] be the original sequence numbers of the
   received packets, in the order of arrival.

5.1.3 Definitions

   Definition 1: Received packet number i (n < i <= l), with source
   sequence number s[i], is n-reordered if and only if for all j such
   that i-n <= j < i, s[j] > s[i].

   Claim: If by this definition, a packet's reordering is n and 0 < n'
   < n, then the packet is also reordered to the n' extent.

   Note: This definition is illustrated by C code in Appendix A.  It
   determines the n-reordering for a value of n=3 (when actually
   writing applications that would report the metric, one would
   probably report it for several values of n, such as 1, 2, 3, 4 --
   and maybe a few more consecutive values).
   This definition does not assign an n to all reordered packets as
   defined by the singleton metric, in particular when blocks of
   successive packets are reordered. (In the arrival sequence
   s={1,2,3,7,8,9,4,5,6}, packets 4, 5, and 6 are reordered, but only 4
   is n-reordered, with n=3.)

   Definition 2: The degree of n-reordering of the sample is m/l.

   Definition 3: The degree of "monotonic reordering" of the sample is
   its degree of 1-reordering.

   Definition 4: A sample is said to have no reordering if its degree
   of n-reordering is 0.

5.1.4 Discussion:

   The degree of n-reordering may be expressed as a percentage, in
   which case the number from definition 2 is multiplied by 100.

   Knowledge of n-reordering is particularly useful for determining the
   portion of reordered packets that can or cannot be restored to order
   in a typical TCP receiver buffer based on their arrival order alone
   (and without the aid of retransmission).

   Important special cases are n=1 and n=3:

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   - For n=1, absence of 1-reordering means the sequence numbers that
   the receiver sees are monotonically increasing with respect to the
   previous arriving packet.

   - For n=3, a NewReno TCP sender would retransmit 1 packet in
   response to an instance of 3-reordering and therefore consider this
   packet lost for the purposes of congestion control (the sender will
   half its congestion window). Detecting instances of 3-reordering is
   useful for determining the portion of reordered packets that are in
   fact as good as lost.

   We note that the definition of n-reordering cannot predict the exact
   number of packets unnecessarily retransmitted by a TCP sender under
   some circumstances, such as cases with closely-spaced reordered
   singletons. The definition is less complicated than a TCP
   implementation where both time and position influence the sender's

   A sample's n-reordering may be expressed as a histogram, to
   summarize the frequency for each value of n.

6. Measurement Issues

   The results of tests will be dependent on the time interval between
   measurement packets (both at the Src, and during transport where
   spacing may change).  Clearly, packets launched infrequently (e.g.,
   1 per 10 seconds) are unlikely to be reordered.

   Test streams may prefer to use a periodic sending interval so that a
   known temporal bias is maintained, also bringing simplified results
   analysis (as described in RFC 3432 [12]). In this case, the periodic
   sending interval should be chosen to reproduce the closest Src
   packet spacing expected. Of course, packet spacing is likely to vary
   as the stream traverses the test path.
   <<<<Ed.Note: Is this sufficient? It is a very important

   The Non-reversing order criterion and all metrics described above
   remain valid and useful when a stream of packets experiences packet
   loss, or both loss and reordering. In other words, losses alone do
   not cause subsequent packets to be declared reordered.

   Assuming that the necessary sequence information (sequence number
   and/or source time stamp) is included in the packet payload
   (possibly in application headers such as RTP), packet sequence may
   be evaluated in a passive measurement arrangement.  Also, it is
   possible to evaluate sequence at a single point along a path, since
   the usual need for synchronized Src and Dst Clocks may be relaxed to
   some extent.

   When the Src sequence is based on byte stream, or payload numbering,
   care must be taken to avoid declaring retransmitted packets

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   reordered. The additional reference of Src Time is one way to avoid
   this ambiguity.

   Since this metric definition may use sequence numbers with finite
   range, it is possible that the sequence numbers could reach end-of-
   range and roll over to zero during a measurement.  By definition,
   the Next Expected value cannot decrease, and all packets received
   after a roll-over would be declared reordered.  Sequence number
   roll-over can be avoided by using combinations of counter size and
   test duration where roll-over is impossible (and sequence is reset
   to zero at the start). Also, message-based numbering results in
   slower sequence consumption.  There may still be cases where
   methodological mitigation of this problem is desirable (e.g., long-
   term testing).  The elements of mitigation are:

   1. There must be a test to detect if a roll-over has occurred.  It
   would be nearly impossible for the sequence numbers of successive
   packets to jump by more than half the total range, so these large
   discontinuities are designated as roll-over.

   2. All sequence numbers used in computations are represented in a
   sufficiently large precision.  The numbers have a correction applied
   (equivalent to adding a significant digit) whenever roll-over is

   3. Reordered packets coincident with sequence numbers reaching end-
   of-range must also be detected for proper application of correction

   In practice, there may be limited ability to determine reordering
   extent, because the storage for previous packets may be limited.
   Saving only packets that indicate discontinuities (and their arrival
   positions) will reduce storage volume. When discarding all stream
   information beyond a threshold packet count, the reordering extent
   or degree of n-reordering may need to be expressed as greater than
   the threshold value, and Gap calculations would not be possible.

   The requirement to ignore duplicate packets also requires storage.
   Here, tracking the sequence numbers of missing packets may minimize
   storage. Missing packets may eventually be declared lost, or
   reordered if they arrive. The missing packet list and the largest
   sequence number received thus far are sufficient information to
   determine if a packet is a duplicate.

7. Examples of Arrival Order Evaluation

   This section provides some examples to illustrate how the non-
   reversing order criterion works, and the value of viewing reordering
   in both the dimensions of time and position.
   Throughout this section, we will refer to packets by their source
   sequence number, except where noted.  So "Packet 4" refers to the
   packet with source sequence number 4, and the reader should refer to

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   the tables in each example to determine packet 4's arrival index
   number, if needed.

   Table 1 gives a simple case of reordering, where one packet is
   reordered, Packet 4. Packets are listed according to their arrival,
   and message numbering is used.

   Table 1 Example with Packet 4 Reordered,
   Sending order(SrcNum@Src): 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10
   s            Src     Dst                     Dst     Byte    Late
   @Dst NextExp Time    Time    Delay   IPDV    Order   Offset  Time
    1     1       0      68      68              1
    2     2      20      88      68       0      2
    3     3      40     108      68       0      3
    5     4      80     148      68     -82      4
    6     6     100     168      68       0      5
    7     7     120     188      68       0      6
    8     8     140     208      68       0      7
    4     9      60     210     150      82      8      400     62
    9     9     160     228      68       0      9
   10    10     180     248      68       0     10

   Each column gives the following information:

   s        Packet sequence number at the Source.
   NextExp  The value of NextExp when the packet arrived(before
   SrcTime  Packet time stamp at the Source, ms.
   DstTime  Packet time stamp at the Destination, ms.
   Delay    1-way delay of the packet, ms.
   IPDV     IP Packet Delay Variation, ms
            IPDV = Delay(SrcNum)-Delay(SrcNum-1)
   DstOrder Order in which the packet arrived at the Destination.
   Byte Offset  The Byte Offset of a reordered packet, in bytes.
   LateTime The lateness of a reordered packet, in ms.

   We can see that when Packet 4 arrives, NextExp=9, and it is declared
   reordered. We compute the extent of reordering as follows:

   Using the notation <s[1], ..., s[i], ..., s[L]>, the received
   packets are represented as:

   s = 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 4, 9, 10
   i = 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
   when j=7, 8 > 4, so the reordering extent is 1 or more.
   when j=6, 7 > 4, so the reordering extent is 2 or more.
   when j=5, 6 > 4, so the reordering extent is 3 or more.
   when j=4, 5 > 4, so the reordering extent is 4 or more.

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   when j=3, but 3 < 4, and 4 is the maximum extent, e=4 (assuming
   there are no earlier sequence discontinuities, as in this example).

   Further, we can compute the Late Time (210-148=62ms using DstTime)
   compared to Packet 5's arrival.  If the receiver has a de-jitter
   buffer that holds more than 4 packets, or at least 62 ms storage,
   Packet 4 may be useful. Note that 1-way delay and IPDV also indicate
   unusual behavior for Packet 4.

   If all packets contained 100 byte payloads, then Byte Offset is
   equal to 400 bytes.

   Following the definitions of section 5.1, Packet 4 is defined to be

   Table 2 Example with Packets 5 and 6 Reordered,
   Sending order(s @Src): 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10
   s            Src     Dst                     Dst     Byte    Late
   @Dst NextExp Time    Time    Delay   IPDV    Order   Offset  Time
    1     1       0      68      68              1
    2     2      20      88      68       0      2
    3     3      40     108      68       0      3
    4     4      60     128      68       0      4
    7     5     120     188      68     -22      5
    5     8      80     189     109      41      6      100     1
    6     8     100     190      90     -19      7      100     2
    8     8     140     208      68       0      8
    9     9     160     228      68       0      9
   10    10     180     248      68       0     10

   Table 2 shows a case where Packets 5 and 6 arrive just behind Packet
   7, so both 5 and 6 are reordered. The Late times (189-188=1, 190-
   188=2) are small.

   Using the notation <s[1], ..., s[i], ..., s[l]>, the received
   packets are represented as:

                      \/ \/
   s = 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10
   i = 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
                      /\ /\

   Considering Packet 5 first:
   when j=5, 7 > 5, so the reordering extent is 1 or more.
   when j=4, but 4 < 5, so 1 is its maximum extent, and e=1.

   Considering Packet 6 next:
   when j=6, 5 < 6, the extent is not yet defined.
   when j=5, 7 > 6, so the reordering extent is i-j=2 or more.
   when j=4, 4 < 6, and we find 2 is its maximum extent, and e=2.

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   We can also associate each of these reordered packets with a
   reordering discontinuity. We find the minimum j=5 (for both packets)
   according to Section 4.2.4. So Packet 6 is associated with the same
   reordering discontinuity as Packet 5, at Packet 7.

   Following the definitions of section 5.1, Packet 5 is defined to be
   1-reordered, but Packet 6 is not qualified n-reordered.

   A hypothetical sender/receiver pair may retransmit Packet 5
   unnecessarily, since it is 1-reordered (in agreement with the
   singleton metric). Though Packet 6 may not be unnecessarily
   retransmitted, the receiver cannot advance Packet 7 to the higher
   layers until after Packet 6 arrives. Therefore, the singleton metric
   correctly determined that Packet 6 is reordered.

   Table 3 Example with Packets 4, 5, and 6 reordered
   Sending order(s @Src): 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11
   s            Src     Dst                     Dst     Byte    Late
   @Dst NextExp Time    Time    Delay   IPDV    Order   Offset  Time
    1    1        0      68      68              1
    2    2       20      88      68       0      2
    3    3       40     108      68       0      3
    7    4      120     188      68     -88      4
    8    8      140     208      68       0      5
    9    9      160     228      68       0      6
   10   10      180     248      68       0      7
    4   11       60     250     190     122      8      400     62
    5   11       80     252     172     -18      9      400     64
    6   11      100     256     156     -16     10      400     68
   11   11      200     268      68       0     11

   The case in Table 3 is where three packets in sequence have long
   transit times (Packets with s = 4,5,and 6). Delay, Late time, and
   Byte Offset capture this very well, and indicate variation in
   reordering extent, while IPDV indicates that the spacing between
   packets 4,5,and 6 has changed.

   The histogram of Reordering extents (e) would be:

   Bin         1  2  3  4  5  6  7
   Frequency   0  0  0  1  1  1  0

   Using the notation <s[1], ..., s[i], ..., s[l]>, the received
   packets are represented as:

   s = 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9,10, 4, 5, 6, 11
   i = 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,11

   We first calculate the n-reordering. Considering Packet 4 first:
   when n=1, 7<=j<8, and 10> 4, so the packet is 1-reordered.

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   when n=2, 6<=j<8, and 9 > 4, so the packet is 2-reordered.
   when n=3, 5<=j<8, and 8 > 4, so the packet is 3-reordered.
   when n=4, 4<=j<8, and 7 > 4, so the packet is 4-reordered.
   when n=5, 3<=j<8, but 3 < 4, and 4 is the maximum n-reordering.

   Considering packet 5[9] next:
   when n=1, 8<=j<9, but 4 < 5, so the packet at i=9 is not qualified
   as n-reordered. We find the same to for Packet 6.

   We now consider whether reordered Packets 5 and 6 are associated
   with the same reordering discontinuity as Packet 4.  Using the test
   of Section 4.2.4, Definition 2, we find that the minimum j=4 for all
   three packets. They are all associated with the reordering
   discontinuity at Packet 7.

   This example shows again that the n-reordering definition identifies
   a single Packet (4) with a sufficient degree of reordering to result
   in one unnecessary packet retransmission by the New Reno TCP sender.
   Also, the reordered arrival of Packets 5 and 6 will allow the
   receiver process to pass Packets 7 through 10 up the protocol stack
   (the singleton metric indicates 5 and 6 are reordered, and they are
   all associated with a single reordering discontinuity).

   Table 4 Example with Packets Multiple Reordering Discontinuities
   Sending order(s @Src): 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16

          Discontinuity         Discontinuity
   s = 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 11, 14, 15, 16
   i = 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

   r = 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 1, 2, 3,  4,  5,  6,  1,  2,  3,  4, ...
   Run[] counts =     5  1                     6

   Packet 4 has extent e=2, Packet 5 has extent e=3, and Packet 11 has
   e=2. There are two different reordering discontinuities at Packet 6
   (where j=4) and Packet 12 (where j=11).

   According to the definition of Reordering Gap
   Gap(j') = (j') - (j)
   Gap(11) = (11) - (4) = 7

   We also have three reordering-free runs of lengths 5, 1, and 6.

   The differences between these two multiple-event metrics are evident
   here.  Gaps are the distance between sequence discontinuities that
   are subsequently defined as reordering discontinuities, while
   reordering-free runs are capture the distance between reordered

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8. Security Considerations

8.1 Denial of Service Attacks

   This metric requires a stream of packets sent from one host (Src) to
   another host (Dst) through intervening networks.  This method could
   be abused for denial of service attacks directed at Dst and/or the
   intervening network(s).

   Administrators of Src, Dst, and the intervening network(s) should
   establish bilateral or multi-lateral agreements regarding the
   timing, size, and frequency of collection of sample metrics.  Use of
   this method in excess of the terms agreed between the participants
   may be cause for immediate rejection or discard of packets or other
   escalation procedures defined between the affected parties.

8.2 User data confidentiality

   Active use of this method generates packets for a sample, rather
   than taking samples based on user data, and does not threaten user
   data confidentiality. Passive measurement must restrict attention to
   the headers of interest. Since user payloads may be temporarily
   stored for length analysis, suitable precautions MUST be taken to
   keep this information safe and confidential.

8.3 Interference with the metric

   It may be possible to identify that a certain packet or stream of
   packets is part of a sample. With that knowledge at Dst and/or the
   intervening networks, it is possible to change the processing of the
   packets (e.g. increasing or decreasing delay) that may distort the
   measured performance.  It may also be possible to generate
   additional packets that appear to be part of the sample metric.
   These additional packets are likely to perturb the results of the
   sample measurement.

   To discourage the kind of interference mentioned above, packet
   interference checks, such as cryptographic hash, may be used.

9. IANA Considerations

   Since this metric does not define a protocol or well-known values,
   there are no IANA considerations in this memo.

10. References

   1  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3", BCP
      9, RFC 2026, October 1996.

   2  Bradner, S.,  "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement
      Levels", RFC 2119, March 1997.

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   3  Paxson, V., Almes, G., Mahdavi, J., and Mathis, M., "Framework
      for IP Performance Metrics", RFC 2330, May 1998.

   4  V.Paxson, "Measurements and Analysis of End-to-End Internet
      Dynamics," Ph.D. dissertation, U.C. Berkeley, 1997,

   5  Postel, J., "Transmission Control Protocol", STD 7, RFC 793,
      September 1981.
      Obtain via:

   6  L.Ciavattone and A.Morton, "Out-of-Sequence Packet Parameter
      Definition (for Y.1540)", Contribution number T1A1.3/2000-047,
      October 30, 2000.

   7  J.C.R.Bennett, C.Partridge, and N.Shectman, "Packet Reordering is
      Not Pathological Network Behavior," IEEE/ACM Transactions on
      Neteworking, vol.7, no.6, pp.789-798, December 1999.

   8  D.Loguinov and H.Radha, "Measurement Study of Low-bitrate
      Internet Video Streaming", Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM
      Internet Measurement Workshop 2001 November 1-2, 2001, San
      Francisco, USA.

   9  J.Bellardo and S.Savage, "Measuring Packet Reordering,"
      Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Workshop
      2002, November 6-8, Marseille, France.

   10 S.Jaiswal et al., "Measurement and Classification of Out-of-
      Sequence Packets in a Tier-1 IP Backbone," Proceedings of the ACM
      SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Workshop 2002, November 6-8,
      Marseille, France.

   11 Demichelis, C., and Chimento, P., "IP Packet Delay Variation
      Metric for IP Performance Metrics (IPPM)", RFC 3393, November

   12 Raisanen, V., Grotefeld, G., and Morton, A., "Network performance
      measurement with periodic streams", RFC 3432, November 2002.

12. Acknowledgments

   The authors would like to acknowledge many helpful discussions with
   Matt Mathis, Jon Bennett, and Matt Zekauskas.  We gratefully
   acknowledge the foundation laid by the authors of the IP performance
   Framework [3].

13. Appendix A (informative)

   Two example c-code implementations of reordering definitions follow:

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   Example 1  n-reordering ============================================

   #include <stdio.h>

   #define MAX_N   100

   #define min(a, b) ((a) < (b)? (a): (b))
   #define loop(x) ((x) >= 0? x: x + MAX_N)

    * Read new sequence number and return it.  Return a sentinel value
   of EOF
    * (at least once) when there are no more sequence numbers.  In this
    * the sequence numbers come from stdin; in an actual test, they
   would come
    * from the network.
           int             res, rc;
           rc = scanf("%d\n", &res);
           if (rc == 1) return res;
           else return EOF;

           int             m[MAX_N];       /* We have m[j-1] == number
                                            * j-reordered packets. */
           int             ring[MAX_N];    /* Last sequence numbers
   seen. */
           int             r = 0;          /* Ring pointer for next
   write. */
           int             l = 0;          /* Number of sequence
   numbers read. */
           int             s;              /* Last sequence number
   read. */
           int             j;

           for (j = 0; j < MAX_N; j++) m[j] = 0;
           for (; (s = read_sequence_number()) != EOF; l++, r = (r+1) %
   MAX_N) {
                   for (j=0; j<min(l, MAX_N) && s<ring[loop(r-j-1)];
   j++) m[j]++;
                   ring[r] = s;

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           for (j = 0; j < MAX_N && m[j]; j++)
                   printf("%d-reordering = %f%%\n", j+1, 100.0*m[j]/(l-
           if (j == 0) printf("no reordering\n");
           else if (j < MAX_N) printf("no %d-reordering\n", j+1);
           else printf("only up to %d-reordering is handled\n", MAX_N);

   Example 2   singleton and n-reordering comparison =================

   #include <stdio.h>

   #define MAX_N   100
   #define min(a, b) ((a) < (b)? (a): (b))
   #define loop(x) ((x) >= 0? x: x + MAX_N)

   /* Global counters */
   int receive_packets=0;       /* number of recieved */
   int reorder_packets=0;       /* number of reordered packets */

   /* function to test if current packet has been reordered
    * returns 0 = not reordered
    *         1 = reordered
   int testorder1(int seqnum)   // Al
        static int NextExp = 1;
        int iReturn = 0;

        if (seqnum >= NextExp) {
                NextExp = seqnum+1;
        } else {
                iReturn = 1;
        return iReturn;

   int testorder2(int seqnum)   // Stanislav
           static int      ring[MAX_N];    /* Last sequence numbers
   seen. */
           static int   r = 0;          /* Ring pointer for next write.
           int             l = 0;          /* Number of sequence
   numbers read. */
           int             j;
        int     iReturn = 0;

        r = (r+1) % MAX_N;

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           for (j=0; j<min(l, MAX_N) && seqnum<ring[loop(r-j-1)]; j++)
                    iReturn = 1;
           ring[r] = seqnum;
      return iReturn;

   int main(int argc, char *argv[])
           int i, packet;
        for (i=1; i< argc; i++) {
                packet = atoi(argv[i]);
                reorder_packets += testorder2(packet);
        printf("Received packets = %d, Reordered packets = %d\n",
   receive_packets, reorder_packets);

13. Author's Addresses

   Al Morton
   AT&T Labs
   Room D3 - 3C06
   200 Laurel Ave. South
   Middletown, NJ 07748 USA
   Phone  +1 732 420 1571

   Len Ciavattone
   AT&T Labs
   Room C4 - 2B29
   200 Laurel Ave. South
   Middletown, NJ 07748 USA
   Phone  +1 732 420 1239

   Gomathi Ramachandran
   AT&T Labs
   Room C4 - 3D22
   200 Laurel Ave. South
   Middletown, NJ 07748 USA
   Phone  +1 732 420 2353

   Stanislav Shalunov
   200 Business Park Drive, Suite 307
   Armonk, NY 10504
   Phone: + 1 914 765 1182
   EMail: <>

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   Jerry Perser
   Spirent Communications
   26750 Agoura Road
   Calabasas, CA 91302  USA
   Phone: + 1 818 676 2300
   EMail: <>

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