``when we get through we won't be done.''
Steve Wolff, director, DNCRI, NSF on the NSFNET transition
(one among many since 1983) at 1994 Farnet meeting
Steve Wolff, director, DNCRI, NSF on the NSFNET transition (one among many since 1983) at 1994 Farnet meeting
We conclude by mentioning an issue of recent popular interest as well as symbolic of the larger problem: Internet security and prevention of criminal behavior. Ironically, workload and performance characterization issues are inextricably intertwined with security and privacy. Much of the talk about the Internet's inherent insecurity due to the inability to track traffic at the required granularity is misleading. It is not an inability to examine traffic operationally that has prevented it thus far, whether for security or workload characterization (and the same tools could do both), but rather its priority relative to the rest of the community research agenda.
As a result, the gap has grown large between the unambiguous results of confined experiments which target isolated environments, and the largely unknown characteristics of the extensive Internet infrastructure that is heading toward global ubiquity.
Empirical investigation and improved methodology for doing so can improve current operational statistics collection architectures, allowing service providers to prepare for more demanding use of the infrastructure and allowing network analysts to develop more accurate Internet models. In short, we can contribute to a greater understanding of real computer networks of pervasive scale. by reducing the gaps among: (1) what network service providers need; (2) what statistics service providers can provide; and (3) what in-depth network analysis requires.
We encourage discussion as soon as possible within the community on developing a policy on statistics collection/exchange/posting of available NAP/ISP statistics, with supporting tools to allow greater understanding of customer requirements and service models, equitable cost allocation models for Internet services, verification that a given level of service was actually rendered, and evolution toward a level of Internet performance that matches or surpasses that of most telecommunication systems today.