Multicast-based inference of network-internal characteristics: accuracy of packet loss estimation Conference Paper uri icon


  • We explore the use of end-to-end multicast traffic as measurement probes to infer network-internal characteristics. We have developed in an earlier paper [2] a Maximum Likelihood Estimator for packet loss rates on individual links based on losses observed by multicast receivers. This technique exploits the inherent correlation between such observations to infer the performance of paths between branch points in the multicast tree spanning the probe source and its receivers. We evaluate through analysis and simulation the accuracy of our estimator under a variety of network conditions. In particular, we report on the error between inferred loss rates and actual loss rates as we vary the network topology, propagation delay, packet drop policy, background traffic mix, and probe traffic type. In all but one case, estimated losses and probe losses agree to within 2 percent on average. We feel this accuracy is enough to reliably identify congested links in a wide-area internetwork. © 1999 IEEE.

author list (cited authors)

  • Caceres, R., Duffield, N. G., Horowitz, J., Towlsey, D., & Bu, T.

publication date

  • January 1, 1999 11:11 AM