Improving accuracy in end-to-end packet loss measurement Conference Paper uri icon


  • Measurement and estimation of packet loss characteristics are challenging due to the relatively rare occurrence and typically short duration of packet loss episodes. While active probe tools are commonly used to measure packet loss on end-to-end paths, there has been little analysis of the accuracy of these tools or their impact on the network. The objective of our study is to understand how to measure packet loss episodes accurately with end-to-end probes. We begin by testing the capability of standard Poisson-modulated end-to-end measurements of loss in a controlled laboratory environment using IP routers and commodity end hosts. Our tests show that loss characteristics reported from such Poisson-modulated probe tools can be quite inaccurate over a range of traffic conditions. Motivated by these observations, we introduce a new algorithm for packet loss measurement that is designed to overcome the deficiencies in standard Poisson-based tools. Specifically, our method creates a probe process that (1) enables an explicit trade-off between accuracy and impact on the network, and (2) enables more accurate measurements than standard Poisson probing at the same rate. We evaluate the capabilities of our methodology experimentally by developing and implementing a prototype tool, called BADABING. The experiments demonstrate the trade-offs between impact on the network and measurement accuracy. We show that BADABING reports loss characteristics far more accurately than traditional loss measurement tools.

name of conference

  • Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM 2005 Conference on Applications, Technologies, Architectures, and Protocols for Computer Communications, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, August 22-26, 2005

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Sommers, J., Duffield, N., Barford, P., & Ron, A.

citation count

  • 34

complete list of authors

  • Sommers, J||Duffield, N||Barford, P||Ron, A

publication date

  • October 2005