Measurement Study of Changes in Service-Level Reachability in the Global TCP/IP Internet: Goals, Experimental Design, Implementation, and Policy Considerations
RFC 1273

Document Type RFC - Informational (November 1991; No errata)
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Network Working Group                                        M. Schwartz
Request for Comments: 1273                        University of Colorado
                                                           November 1991

                   A Measurement Study of Changes in
                Service-Level Reachability in the Global
              TCP/IP Internet: Goals, Experimental Design,
               Implementation, and Policy Considerations

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard.  Distribution of this memo is
   unlimited.

Abstract

   In this report we discuss plans to carry out a longitudinal
   measurement study of changes in service-level reachability in the
   global TCP/IP Internet.  We overview our experimental design,
   considerations of network and remote site load, mechanisms used to
   control the measurement collection process, and network appropriate
   use and privacy issues, including our efforts to inform sites
   measured by this study.  A list of references and information on how
   to contact the Principal Investigator are included.

Introduction

   The global TCP/IP Internet interconnects millions of individuals at
   thousands of institutions worldwide, offering the potential for
   significant collaboration through network services and electronic
   information exchange.  At the same time, such powerful connectivity
   offers many avenues for security violations, as evidenced by a number
   of well publicized events over the past few years.  In response, many
   sites have imposed mechanisms to limit their exposure to security
   intrusions, ranging from disabling certain inter-site services, to
   using external gateways that only allow electronic mail delivery, to
   gateways that limit remote interactions via access control lists, to
   disconnection from the Internet.  While these measures are preferable
   to the damage that could occur from security violations, taken to an
   extreme they could eventually reduce the Internet to little more than
   a means of supporting certain pre-approved point-to-point data
   transfers.  Such diminished functionality could hinder or prevent the
   deployment of important new types of network services, impeding both
   research and commercial advancement.

   To understand the evolution of this situation, we have designed a

Schwartz                                                        [Page 1]
RFC 1273                  A Measurement Study              November 1991

   study to measure changes in Internet service-level reachability over
   a period of one year.  The study considers upper layer service
   reachability instead of basic IP connectivity because the former
   indicates the willingness of organizations to participate in inter-
   organizational computing, which will be an important component of
   future wide area distributed applications.

   The data we gather will contribute to Internet research and
   engineering planning activities in a number of ways.  The data will
   indicate the mechanisms sites use to distance themselves from
   Internet connectivity, the types of services that sites are willing
   to run (and hence the type of distributed collaboration they are
   willing to support), and variations in these characteristics as a
   function of geographic location and type of institution (commercial,
   educational, etc.).  Understanding these trends will allow
   application designers and network builders to more realistically plan
   for how to support future wide area distributed applications such as
   digital library systems, information services, wide area distributed
   file systems, and conferencing and other collaboration-support
   systems.  The measurements will also be of general interest, as they
   represent direct measurements of the evolution of a global electronic
   society.

   Clearly, a study of this nature and magnitude raises a number of
   potential concerns.  In this note we overview our experimental
   design, considerations of network and remote site load, mechanisms
   used to control the measurement collection process, and our efforts
   to inform sites measured by this study, along with concomitant
   network appropriate use and privacy issues.

   A point we wish to stress from the outset is that this is not a study
   of network security.  The experiments do not attempt to probe the
   security mechanisms of any machine on the network.  The study is
   concerned solely with the evolution of network connectivity and
   service reachability.

Experimental Design

   The study consists of a set of runs of a program over the span of one
   to two days each month, repeated bimonthly for a period of one year
   (in January 1992, March 1992, May 1992, July 1992, September 1992,
   and November 1992).  Each program run attempts to connect to 13
   different TCP services at each of approximately 12,700 Internet
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