INTERNET-DRAFT                                              Marc Linsner
Intended Status: Informational                             Cisco Systems
Expires: January 16, 2014                                 Philip Eardley
                                                        Trevor Burbridge
                                                           July 15, 2013

              Large-Scale Broadband Measurement Use Cases


   Measuring broadband performance on a large scale is important for
   network diagnostics by providers and users, as well for as public
   policy.  To conduct such measurements, user networks gather data,
   either on their own initiative or instructed by a measurement
   controller, and then upload the measurement results to a designated
   measurement server.  Understanding the various scenarios and users of
   measuring broadband performance is essential to development of the
   system requirements.  The details of the measurement metrics
   themselves are beyond the scope of this document.

Status of this Memo

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

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

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Copyright and License Notice

   Copyright (c) 2013 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors. All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
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   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
     1.1  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
   2  Use Cases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
     2.1 Internet Service Provider (ISP) Use Case . . . . . . . . . .  3
     2.2 End User Network Diagnostics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     2.3 Regulators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
   3  Details of ISP Use Case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
     3.1 Existing Capabilities and Shortcomings . . . . . . . . . . .  6
     3.2 Understanding the quality experienced by customers . . . . .  6
     3.3 Benchmarking and competitor insight  . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
     3.4 Understanding the impact and operation of new devices and
         technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
     3.5 Design and planning  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
     3.6 Identifying, isolating and fixing network problems . . . . . 11
     3.7 Comparison with the regulator use case . . . . . . . . . . . 12
     3.8 Conclusions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
   4  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
   5  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
   6  Contributors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
   7  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
     7.1  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
   Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

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1  Introduction

   Large-scale measurement efforts in [LMAP-REQ] describe three use
   cases to be considered in deriving the requirements to be used in
   developing the solution.  This documents attempts to describe those
   use cases in further detail and include additional use cases.

1.1  Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

2  Use Cases

2.1 Internet Service Provider (ISP) Use Case

   An ISP, or indeed another network operator, needs to understand the
   performance of their networks, the performance of the suppliers
   (downstream and upstream networks), the performance of services, and
   the impact that such performance has on the experience of their
   customers. In addition they may also desire visibility of their
   competitor's networks and services in order to be able to benchmark
   and improve their own offerings. Largely the processes that ISPs
   operate (which are based on network measurement) include:

      o Identifying, isolating and fixing problems in the network,
      services or with CPE and end user equipment. Such problems may be
      common to a point in the network topology (e.g. a single
      exchange), common to a vendor or equipment type (e.g. line card or
      home gateway) or unique to a single user line (e.g. copper
      access). Part of this process may also be helping users understand
      whether the problem exists in their home network or with an over-
      the-top service instead of with their BB product.

      o Design and planning. Through identifying the end user experience
      the ISP can design and plan their network to ensure specified
      levels of user experience. Services may be moved closer to end
      users, services upgraded, the impact of QoS assessed or more
      capacity deployed at certain locations. SLAs may be defined at
      network or product boundaries.

      o Benchmarking and competitor insight. The operation of sample
      panels across competitor products can enable and ISP to assess
      where they play in the market, identify opportunities where other
      products operate different technology, and assess the performance

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      of network suppliers that are common to both operators.

      o Understanding the quality experienced by customers. Alongside
      benchmarking competitors, gaining better insight into the user's
      service through a sample panel of the operator's own customers.
      The end-to-end perspective matters, across home /enterprise
      networks, peering points, CDNs etc.

      o Understanding the impact and operation of new devices and
      technology. As a new product is deployed, or a new technology
      introduced into the network, it is essential that its operation
      and impact on other services is measured. This also helps to
      quantify the advantage that the new technology is bringing and
      support the business case for larger roll-out.

2.2 End User Network Diagnostics

   End users may want to determine whether their network is performing
   according to the specifications (e.g., service level agreements)
   offered by their Internet service provider, or they may want to
   diagnose whether components of their network path are impaired.  End
   users may perform measurements on their own, using the measurement
   infrastructure they provide or infrastructure offered by a third
   party, or they may work directly with their network or application
   provider to diagnose a specific performance problem.  Depending on
   the circumstances, measurements may occur at specific pre-defined
   intervals, or may be triggered manually.  A system administrator may
   perform such measurements on behalf of the user.  Example use cases
   of end user initiated performance measurements include:

      o An end user may wish to perform diagnostics prior to calling
      their ISP to report a problem.  Hence, the end user could connect
      a MA to different points of their home network and trigger manual
      tests.  Different attachment points could include their in-home
      802.11 network or an Ethernet port on the back of their BB modem.

      o An OTT or ISP service provider may deploy a MA within an their
      service platform to provide the end user a capability to diagnose
      service issues.  For instance a video streaming service may
      include a manually initiated MA within their platform that has the
      Controller and Collector predefined.  The end user could initiate
      performance tests manually, with results forwarded to both the
      provider and the end user via other means, like UI, email, etc.

2.3 Regulators

      Regulators in jurisdictions around the world are responding to

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      consumers' adoption of broadband technology solution for
      traditional telecommunications and media services by reviewing the
      historical approaches to regulating these industries and services
      and in some cases modifying existing approaches or developing new

      Some jurisdictions have responded to a perceived need for greater
      information about broadband performance in the development of
      regulatory policies and approaches for broadband technologies by
      developing large-scale measurement programs. Programs such as the
      U.S. Federal Communications Commission's Measuring Broadband
      America, U.K. Ofcom's UK Broadband Speeds reports and a growing
      list of other programs employ a diverse set of operational and
      technical approaches to gathering data in scientifically and
      statistical robust ways to perform analysis and reporting on
      diverse aspects of broadband performance.

      While each jurisdiction responds to distinct consumer, industry,
      and regulatory concerns, much commonality exists in the need to
      produce datasets that are able to compare multiple broadband
      providers, diverse technical solutions, geographic and regional
      distributions, and marketed and provisioned levels and
      combinations of broadband services.

      Regulators role in the development and enforcement of broadband
      policies also require that the measurement approaches meet a high
      level of verifiability, accuracy and fairness to support valid and
      meaningful comparisons of broadband performance

      LMAP standards could answer regulators shared needs by providing
      scalable, cost-effective, scientifically robust solutions to the
      measurement and collection of broadband performance information.

      The main consumer of this use case are regulators

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3  Details of ISP Use Case

3.1 Existing Capabilities and Shortcomings

      In order to get reliable benchmarks some ISPs use vendor provided
      hardware measurement platforms that connect directly to the home
      gateway. These devices typically perform a continuous test
      schedule, allowing the operation of the network to be continually
      assessed throughout the day. Careful design ensures that they do
      not detrimentally impact the home user experience or corrupt the
      test results by testing when the user is also using the Broadband
      line. While the test capabilities of such probes are good, they
      are simply too expensive to deploy on mass scale to enable
      detailed understanding of network performance (e.g. to the
      granularity of a single backhaul or single user line). In addition
      there is no easy way to operate similar tests on other devices (eg
      set top box) or to manage application level tests (such as IPTV)
      using the same control and reporting framework.

      ISPs also use speed and other diagnostic tests from user owned
      devices (such as PCs, tablets or smartphones). These often use
      browser related technology to conduct tests to servers in the ISP
      network to confirm the operation of the user BB access line. These
      tests can be helpful for a user to understand whether their BB
      line has a problem, and for dialogue with a helpdesk. However they
      are not able to perform continuous testing and the uncontrolled
      device and home network means that results are not comparable.
      Producing statistics across such tests is very dangerous as the
      population is self-selecting (e.g. those who think they have a

      Faced with a gap in current vendor offerings some ISPs have taken
      the approach of placing proprietary test capabilities on their
      home gateway and other consumer device offerings (such as Set Top
      Boxes). This also means that different device platforms may have
      different and largely incomparable tests, developed by different
      company sub-divisions managed by different systems.

3.2 Understanding the quality experienced by customers

      Operators want to understand the quality of experience (QoE) of
      their broadband customers. The understanding can be gained through
      a "panel", ie a measurement probe is deployed to a few 100 or 1000
      of its customers. The panel needs to be a representative sample
      for each of the operator's technologies (FTTP, FTTC, ADSL...) and
      broadband options (80Mb/s, 20Mb/s, basic...), ~100 probes for
      each. The operator would like the end-to-end view of the service,

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      rather than (say) just the access portion. So as well as simple
      network statistics like speed and loss rates they want to
      understand what the service feels like to the customer. This
      involves relating the pure network parameters to something like a
      'mean opinion score' which will be service dependent (for instance
      web browsing QoE is largely determined by latency above a few

      An operator will also want compound metrics such as "reliability",
      which might involve packet loss, DNS failures, re-training of the
      line, video streaming under-runs etc.

      The operator really wants to understand the end-to-end service
      experience. However, the home network (Ethernet, wifi, powerline)
      is highly variable and outside its control. To date, operators
      (and regulators) have instead measured performance from the home
      gateway. However, mobile operators clearly must include the
      wireless link in the measurement.

      Active measurements are the most obvious approach, ie special
      measurement traffic is sent by - and to - the probe. In order not
      to degrade the service of the customer, the measurement data
      should only be sent when the user is silent, and it shouldn't
      reduce the customer's data allowance. The other approach is
      passive measurements on the customer's real traffic; the advantage
      is that it measures what the customer actually does, but it
      creates extra variability (different traffic mixes give different
      results) and especially it raises privacy concerns.

      From an operator's viewpoint, understanding customers better
      enables it to offer better services. Also, simple metrics can be
      more easily understood by senior managers who make investment
      decisions and by sales and marketing.

      The characteristics of large scale measurements that emerge from
      these examples:

      1.  Averaged data (over say 1 month) is generally ok

      2.  A panel (subset) of only a few customers is OK

      3.  Both active and passive measurements are possible, though the
      former seems easier

      4.  Regularly scheduled tests are fine (providing active tests
      back off if the customer is using the line). Scheduling can be
      done some time ahead ('starting tomorrow, run the following test
      every day').

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      5.  The operator needs to devise metrics and compound measures
      that represent the QoE

      6.  End-to-end service matters, and not (just) the access link

3.3 Benchmarking and competitor insight

   An operator may want to check that the results reported by the
   regulator match its own belief about how its network is performing.
   There is quite a lot of variation in underlying line performance for
   customers on (say) a nominal 20Mb/s service, so it is possible for
   two panels of ~100 probes to produce different results.

   An operator may also want more detailed understanding of its
   competitors, beyond that reported by the regulator - probably by
   getting a third party to establish a panel of probes in its rival
   ISPs. Measurements could, for example, help an operator: target its
   marketing by showing that it's 'best for video streaming' but 'worst
   for web browsing'; gain detailed insight into the strengths and
   weaknesses of different access technologies (DSL vs cable vs
   wireless); understand market segments that it currently doesn't
   serve; and so on.

   The characteristics of large scale measurements that emerge from
   these examples are very similar to the sub use case above:

      1.  Averaged data (over say 1 month) is generally ok

      2.  A panel (subset) of only a few customers is OK

      3.  Both active and passive measurements are possible, though the
      former seems easier

      4.  Regularly scheduled tests are fine (providing active tests
      back off if the customer is using the line). Scheduling can be
      done some time ahead ('starting tomorrow, run the following test
      every day').

      5.  The performance metrics are whatever the operator wants to
      benchmark. As well as QoE measures, it may want to measure some
      network-specific parameters.

      6.  As well as the performance of the access link, the performance
      of different network segments, including end-to-end.

3.4 Understanding the impact and operation of new devices and technology

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   Another type of measurement is to test new capabilities and services
   before they are rolled out. For example, the operator may want to:
   check whether a customer can be upgraded to a new broadband option;
   understand the impact of IPv6 before it makes it available to its
   customers (will v6 packets get through, what will the latency be to
   major websites, what transition mechanisms will be most is
   appropriate?); check whether a new capability can be signaled using
   TCP options (how often it will be blocked by a middlebox? - along the
   lines of some existing experiments) [Extend TCP]; investigate a
   quality of service mechanism (eg checking whether Diffserv markings
   are respected on some path); and so on.

   The characteristics of large scale measurements that emerge from
   these examples are:

      1.  New tests need to be devised that test a prospective

      2.  Most of the tests are probably simply: "send one packet and
      record what happens", so an occasional one-off test is sufficient.

      3.  A panel (subset) of only a few customers is probably OK, to
      gain an understanding of the impact of a new technology, but it
      may be necessary to check an individual line where the roll-out is
      per customer.

      4.  An active measurement is needed.

3.5 Design and planning

   Operators can use large scale measurements to help with their network
   planning - proactive activities to improve the network.

   For example, by probing from several different vantage points the
   operator can see that a particular group of customers has performance
   below that expected during peak hours, which should help capacity
   planning. Naturally operators already have tools to help this - a
   network element reports its individual utilisation (and perhaps other
   parameters). However, making measurements across a path rather than
   at a point may make it easier to understand the network. There may
   also be parameters like bufferbloat that aren't currently reported by
   equipment and/or that are intrinsically path metrics.

   It may also be possible to run stress tests for risk analysis, for
   example 'if whizzy new application (or device) becomes popular, which
   parts of my network would struggle, what would be the impact on other
   services and how many customers would be affected'.

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   Another example is that the operator may want to monitor performance
   where there is a service level agreement. This could be with its own
   customers, especially enterprises may have an SLA. The operator can
   proactively spot when the service is degrading near to the SLA limit,
   and get information that will enable more informed conversations with
   the customer at contract renewal.

   An operator may also want to monitor the performance of its
   suppliers, to check whether they meet their SLA or to compare two
   suppliers if it is dual-sourcing. This could include its transit
   operator, CDNs, peering, video source, local network provider (for a
   global operator in countries where it doesn't have its own network),
   even the whole network for a virtual operator.

   Through a better understanding of its own network and its suppliers,
   the operator should be able to focus investment more effectively - in
   the right place at the right time with the right technology. What-if
   tests could help quantify the advantage that a new technology brings
   and support the business case for larger roll-out.

   The characteristics of large scale measurements emerging from these

      1.  A key challenge is how to integrate results from measurements
      into existing network planning and management tools

      2.  New tests may need to be devised for the what-if and risk
      analysis scenarios.

      3.  Capacity constraints first reveal themselves during atypical
      events (early warning). So averaging of measurements should be
      over a much shorter time than the sub use case discussed above.

      4.  A panel (subset) of only a few customers is OK for most of the
      examples, but it should probably be larger than the QoE use case
      #1 and the operator may also want to regularly change who is in
      the subset, in order to sample the revealing outliers.

      5.  Measurements over a segment of the network ("end-to-middle")
      are needed, in order to refine understanding, as well as end-to-
      end measurements.

      6.  The primary interest is in measuring specific network
      performance parameters rather than QoE.

      7.  Regularly scheduled tests are fine

      8.  Active measurements are needed; passive ones probably aren't

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3.6 Identifying, isolating and fixing network problems

   Operators can use large scale measurements to help identify a fault
   more rapidly and decide how to solve it.

   Operators already have Test and Diagnostic tools, where a network
   element reports some problem or failure to a management system.
   However, many issues are not caused by a point failure but something
   wider and so will trigger too many alarms, whilst other issues will
   cause degradation rather than failure and so not trigger any alarm.
   Large scale measurements can help provide a more nuanced view that
   helps network management to identify and fix problems more rapidly
   and accurately.

   One example was described in [IETF85-Plenary]. The operator was
   running a measurement panel for reasons discussed in sub use case #1.
   It was noticed that the performance of some lines had unexpectedly
   degraded. This led to a detailed (off-line) investigation which
   discovered that a particular home gateway upgrade had caused a
   (mistaken!) drop in line rate.

   Another example is that occasionally some internal network management
   event (like re-routing) can be customer-affecting (of course this is
   unusual). This affects a whole group of customers, for instance those
   on the same DSLAM. Understanding this will help an operator fix the
   fault more rapidly and/or allow the affected customers to be informed
   what's happening and/or request them to re-set their home hub
   (required to cure some conditions). More accurate information enables
   the operator to reassure customers and take more rapid and effective
   action to cure the problem.

   There may also be problems unique to a single user line (e.g. copper
   access) that need to be identified.

   Often customers experience poor broadband due to problems in the home
   network - the ISP's network is fine. For example they may have moved
   too far away from their wireless access point. Perhaps 80% of
   customer calls about fixed BB problems are due to in-home wireless
   issues. These issues are expensive and frustrating for an operator,
   as they are extremely hard to diagnose and solve. The operator would
   like to narrow down whether the problem is in the home (with the home
   network or edge device or home gateway), in the operator's network,
   or with an over-the-top service. The operator would like two
   capabilities. Firstly, self-help tools that customers use to improve
   their own service or understand its performance better, for example
   to re-position their devices for better wifi coverage. Secondly, on-
   demand tests that can the operator can run instantly - so the call
   centre person answering the phone (or e-chat) could trigger a test

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   and get the result whilst the customer is still on-line session.

   The characteristics of large scale measurements emerging from these

      1.  A key challenge is how to integrate results from measurements
      into the operator's existing Test and Diagnostics system.

      2.  Results from the tests shouldn't be averaged

      3.  Tests are generally run on an ad hoc basis, ie specific
      requests for immediate action

      4.  "End-to-middle" measurements, ie across a specific network
      segment, are very relevant

      5.  The primary interest is in measuring specific network
      performance parameters and not QoE

      6.  New tests are needed for example to check the home network (ie
      the connection from the home hub to the set top boxes or to a
      tablets on wifi)

      7.  Active measurements are critical. Passive ones may be useful
      to help understand exactly what the customer is experiencing.

3.7 Comparison with the regulator use case

   Today an increasing number of regulators measure the performance of
   broadband operators. Typically they deploy a few 1000 probes, each of
   which is connected directly to the broadband customer's home gateway
   and periodically measures the performance of that line. The regulator
   ensures they have a set of probes that covers the different ISPs and
   their different technology types and contract speeds, so that they
   can publish statistically-reasonable average performances.
   Publicising the results stimulates competition and so pressurises
   ISPs to improve broadband service.

   The operator use case has similarities but several significant
   differences from the regulator one:

      o  Performance metrics: A regulator and operator are generally
      interested in the same performance metrics. Both would like
      standardised metrics, though this is more important for

      o  Sampling: The regulator wants an average across a
      representative sample of broadband customers (per operator, per

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      type of BB contract). The operator also wants to measure
      individual lines with a problem.

      o  Timeliness: The regulator wants to know the (averaged)
      performance last quarter (say). For fault identification and
      fixing, the operator would like to know the performance at this
      moment and also to instruct a test to be run at this moment (so
      the requirement is on both the testing and reporting). Also, when
      testing the impact of new devices and technology, the operator is
      gaining insight about future performance.

      o  Scheduling: The regulator wants to run scheduled tests
      ('measure download rate every hour'). The operator also wants to
      run one-off tests; perhaps also the result of one test would
      trigger the operator to run a specific follow-up test.

      o  Pre-processing: A regulator would like standard ways of
      processing the collected data, to remove outlier measurements and
      aggregate results, because this can significantly affect the final
      "averaged" result. Pre-processing is not important for an

      o  Historic data: The regulator wants to track how the (averaged)
      performance of each operator changes on (say) a quarterly basis.
      The operator would like detailed, recent historic data (eg a
      customer with an intermittent fault over the last week).

      o  Scope: To date, regulators have measured the performance of
      access lines. An operator also wants to understand the performance
      of the home (or enterprise) network and of the end-to-end service,
      ie including backbone, core, peering and transit, CDNs and
      application /content servers.

      o  Control of testing and reporting: The operator wants detailed
      control. The regulator contracts out the measurement caboodle and
      'control' will be via negotiation with its contractor.

      o  Politics: A regulator has to take account of government targets
      (eg UK government: "Our ambition (by 2015) is to provide superfast
      broadband (24Mbps) to at least 90 per cent of premises in the UK
      and to provide universal access to standard broadband with a speed
      of at least 2Mbps.") This may affect the metrics the regulator
      wants to measure and certainly affects how they interpret results.
      The operator is more focused on winning market share.

3.8 Conclusions

   There is a clear need from an ISP point of view to deploy a single

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   coherent measurement capability across a wide number of heterogeneous
   devices both in their own networks and in the home environment. These
   tests need to be able to operate from a wide number of locations to a
   set of interoperable test points in their own network as well as
   spanning supplier and competitor networks.

   Regardless of the tests being operated, there needs to be a way to
   demand or schedule the tests and critically ensure that such tests do
   not affect each other; are not affected by user traffic (unless
   desired) and do not affect the user experience. In addition there
   needs to be a common way to collect and understand the results of
   such tests across different devices to enable correlation and
   comparison between any network or service parameters.

   Since network and service performance needs to be understood and
   analysed in the presence of topology, line, product or contract
   information it is critical that the test points are accurately
   defined and authenticated.

   Finally the test data, along with any associated network, product or
   contract data is commercial or private information and needs to be

4  Security Considerations

   The transport of Controller to MA and MA to Collector traffic must be
   protected both in-flight and such that each entity is known and
   trusted to each other.

   It is imperative that end user identifying data is protected.
   Identifying data includes, end user name, time and location of the
   MA, and any attributes about a service such as service location,
   including IP address that could be used to re-construct physical

5  IANA Considerations


6  Contributors

   The information in this document is partially derived from text
   written by the following contributors:

   James Miller

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7  References

7.1  Normative References

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

   [LMAP-REQ] Schulzrinne, H., "Large-Scale Measurement of Broadband
              Performance:  Use Cases, Architecture and Protocol
              Requirements", draft-schulzrinne-lmap-requirements,
              September, 2012

   [IETF85 Plenary] Crawford, S., "Large-Scale Active Measurement of
              Broadband Networks",
              opsandtech-7.pdf 'example' from slide 18

   [Extend TCP] Michio Honda, Yoshifumi Nishida, Costin Raiciu, Adam
              Greenhalgh, Mark Handley and Hideyuki Tokuda. "Is it Still
              Possible to Extend TCP?" Proc. ACM Internet Measurement
              Conference (IMC), November 2011, Berlin, Germany.

Authors' Addresses

              Marc Linsner
              Marco Island, FL


              Philip Eardley
              B54 Room 77, Adastral Park, Martlesham
              Ipswich, IP5 3RE


              Trevor Burbridge
              B54 Room 77, Adastral Park, Martlesham
              Ipswich, IP5 3RE

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