End-to-End Internet Packet Dynamics

Abstract

We discuss findings from a large-scale study of Internet packet dynamics conducted by tracing 20,000 TCP bulk transfers between 35 Internet sites. Because we traced each 100 Kbyte transfer at both the sender and the receiver, the measurements allow us to distinguish between the end-to-end behaviors due to the different directions of the Internet paths, which often exhibit asymmetries. We characterize the prevalence of unusual network events such as outof-order delivery and packet corruption; discuss a robust receiverbased algorithm for estimating “bottleneck bandwidth” that addresses deficiencies discovered in techniques based on “packet pair”; investigate patterns of packet loss, finding that loss events are not well-modeled as independent and, furthermore, that the distribution of the duration of loss events exhibits infinite variance; and analyze variations in packet transit delays as indicators of congestion periods, finding that congestion periods also span a wide range of time scales

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