A One-way Packet Loss Metric for IPPM
RFC 2680

Document Type RFC - Proposed Standard (September 1999; Errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 7680
Authors Sunil Kalidindi  , Matthew Zekauskas  , Guy Almes 
Last updated 2020-01-21
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Network Working Group                                           G. Almes
Request for Comments: 2680                                  S. Kalidindi
Category: Standards Track                                   M. Zekauskas
                                             Advanced Network & Services
                                                          September 1999

                 A One-way Packet Loss Metric for IPPM

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1999).  All Rights Reserved.

1. Introduction

   This memo defines a metric for one-way packet loss across Internet
   paths.  It builds on notions introduced and discussed in the IPPM
   Framework document, RFC 2330 [1]; the reader is assumed to be
   familiar with that document.

   This memo is intended to be parallel in structure to a companion
   document for One-way Delay ("A One-way Delay Metric for IPPM") [2];
   the reader is assumed to be familiar with that document.

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [5].
   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.

   The structure of the memo is as follows:

   +  A 'singleton' analytic metric, called Type-P-One-way-Loss, is
      introduced to measure a single observation of packet transmission
      or loss.

Almes, et al.               Standards Track                     [Page 1]
RFC 2680          One Way Packet Loss Metric for IPPM     September 1999

   +  Using this singleton metric, a 'sample', called Type-P-One-way-
      Loss-Poisson-Stream, is introduced to measure a sequence of
      singleton transmissions and/or losses measured at times taken from
      a Poisson process.

   +  Using this sample, several 'statistics' of the sample are defined
      and discussed.

   This progression from singleton to sample to statistics, with clear
   separation among them, is important.

   Whenever a technical term from the IPPM Framework document is first
   used in this memo, it will be tagged with a trailing asterisk.  For
   example, "term*" indicates that "term" is defined in the Framework.

1.1. Motivation:

   Understanding one-way packet loss of Type-P* packets from a source
   host* to a destination host is useful for several reasons:

   +  Some applications do not perform well (or at all) if end-to-end
      loss between hosts is large relative to some threshold value.

   +  Excessive packet loss may make it difficult to support certain
      real-time applications (where the precise threshold of "excessive"
      depends on the application).

   +  The larger the value of packet loss, the more difficult it is for
      transport-layer protocols to sustain high bandwidths.

   +  The sensitivity of real-time applications and of transport-layer
      protocols to loss become especially important when very large
      delay-bandwidth products must be supported.

   The measurement of one-way loss instead of round-trip loss is
   motivated by the following factors:

   +  In today's Internet, the path from a source to a destination may
      be different than the path from the destination back to the source
      ("asymmetric paths"), such that different sequences of routers are
      used for the forward and reverse paths.  Therefore round-trip
      measurements actually measure the performance of two distinct
      paths together.  Measuring each path independently highlights the
      performance difference between the two paths which may traverse
      different Internet service providers, and even radically different
      types of networks (for example, research versus commodity
      networks, or ATM versus packet-over-SONET).

Almes, et al.               Standards Track                     [Page 2]
RFC 2680          One Way Packet Loss Metric for IPPM     September 1999

   +  Even when the two paths are symmetric, they may have radically
      different performance characteristics due to asymmetric queueing.

   +  Performance of an application may depend mostly on the performance
      in one direction.  For example, a file transfer using TCP may
      depend more on the performance in the direction that data flows,
      rather than the direction in which acknowledgements travel.
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