A variety of network simulation tools are available today, each with its own functionality, memory demand and execution speed characteristics. Different tools are optimized for different purposes and different audiences. Nevertheless, significant differences in these characteristics creates the problem of qualifying user objectives under which a faster simulator that uses more memory is more “useful” than a slower simulation that uses less memory, and vice-versa. Our study is motivated by examination of performance characteristics of four simulators: JavaSim, ns, SSFNet-Java, and SSFNet-C++. Our approach considers “utility functions ” that a user might develop to quantify his view of the speed/memory/functionality tradeoffs. We consider general properties such functions might have, and explore how these properties lead utility to favor one simulator over another. Finally, we apply utility theory to the four simulators that motivated the study, and observe that a balance of speed and model size capability tends to maximize performance.
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