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Technology 17 March 2015

Rough Guide to IETF 92: Internet Scalability & Performance

Mat Ford
By Mat FordTechnology Program Manager
Maria CaseyGuest Author

In this post I’ll shine a light on some of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) efforts underway to explore and address more sophisticated ways to use available bandwidth, improve Internet performance, and otherwise efficiently get content to where it needs to be. These groups will all be meeting as part of the IETF 92 meeting in Dallas next week.

Following on from the recent IAB workshop on Stack Evolution in a Middlebox Internet (SEMI) that discussed the ossification of the transport layer and how to fix it for emerging applications, the Substrate Protocol for User Datagrams (spud) BoF will discuss requirements and strawman proposals for a protocol to expose selective and minimal metadata to the path. The intent is to restore control to the endpoint with regard to what data is exposed to the path so that middlebox functionality deemed useful can still be supported in the presence of encryption that otherwise renders such functionality impotent. The technical plenary meeting on Monday evening will include a brief readout from the SEMI workshop, and the Transport Area Open Meeting will include a longer presentation of the workshop discussion and outcomes.

Another outcome of the SEMI workshop will take place on Sunday evening in the form of an informal Bar BoF meeting to discuss measurement techniques and data sources that could help make better engineering decisions to work around some of the ossification in the protocol stack. The hope is that techniques similar to ‘happy eyeballs’ for IPv6 can be used to support deployment of new transport features and protocols.

Internet performance is to a large extent governed by the way transport protocols operate, and the tcpm WG will be meeting to discuss proposed new functionality to improve and enhance the working of TCP, the main transport protocol used on the Internet today.

Packet networks give rise to transient congestion by design and several groups are meeting to discuss different aspects of congestion control and avoidance (aqm, iccrg and rmcat). For regulators, being able to monitor the performance of networks, and the extent to which congestion or other factors are impacting consumers’ experience of the network is very important. The lmap working group is meeting in Dallas to advance their important work on standardizing a large-scale broadband performance measurement infrastructure.

Related Working Groups and BoFs at IETF 92

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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