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Building Trust 28 October 2015

Rough Guide to IETF 94: Scalability and Performance

Mat Ford
By Mat FordTechnology Program Manager

Bigger, Faster, Better

In this post I’ll highlight some of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) groups meeting as part of the IETF 94 meeting in Yokohama next week. These groups are working to explore and address more sophisticated ways to use and share available bandwidth, improve Internet performance, and otherwise efficiently get Internet content to where it needs to be.

Getting new networking code deployed on the Internet is often made difficult because of uncertainties about how existing hardware and software on the network will react. Measurements of the network, measurement platforms and methodologies are all key to improving our understanding of how we can safely evolve the network. On the Saturday prior to the IETF 94 meeting, the Research and Applications of Internet Measurements workshop will explore these topics in detail.

The importance of measurements and the relationship with good protocol engineering will also be the technical topic discussed during the plenary session on Wednesday afternoon.

Measurement techniques and data sources that could help us to make better engineering decisions to work around some of the rigidity in the protocol stack will be the subject of the proposed HOPS research group meeting on Monday morning. The agenda for the session includes a presentation on the results Apple have obtained from their testing of Explicit Congestion Notification.

The Internet Storage Sync BoF will take place on Tuesday afternoon. Network-based storage services allow users to keep local files synchronised with remote servers on the Internet. The goal of this BoF is to establish whether there is interest in working on a standardised protocol for these kind of file synchronisation services.

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.

On Tuesday, Applied Networking Research Prize winner Xiao Sophia Wang will present the results of her systematic study of web page load times using SPDY, an open networking protocol developed primarily at Google for transporting web content. A lot of the features of SPDY were incorporated in the HTTP/2 standard so this should offer a useful insight into the cutting edge of web performance.

Packet networks give rise to transient congestion by design and several groups are meeting to discuss different aspects of congestion control and avoidance. The RTP Media Congestion Avoidance Techniques working group is developing and evaluating congestion control algorithms to handle the emerging use of the Internet for real-time audio and video communication.

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 Yokohama to advance their important work on standardizing a large-scale broadband performance measurement infrastructure.

Related Working Groups and BoFs at IETF 94

iss BoF (Internet Storage Sync) BoF
Tuesday, 3 November 2015, 1520-1650, Room 502

tcpm (TCP Maintenance and Minor Extensions) WG
Thursday, 5 November 2015, 0900-1130, Rooms 411/412

irtfopen (IRTF Open Meeting)
Tuesday, 3 November 2015, 1710-1840, Room 502

hopsrg (Proposed How Ossified is the Protocol Stack?) RG
Monday, 2 November 2015, 0900-1130, Room 303

rmcat (RTP Media Congestion Avoidance Techniques) WG
Monday, 2 November 2015, 1520-1650, Room 502
Friday, 6 November 2015, 0900-1130, Room 501

Follow Us

There’s a lot going on in Yokohama, and whether you plan to be there or join remotely, there’s much to monitor. To follow along as we dole out this series of Rough Guide to IETF blog posts, follow us on the Internet Technology Matters blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, via RSS, or see

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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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