Re: Confessions of an Ethernet watcher
14-Feb-86 04:48:45-UT

Mike, Mike and Paul,

I'm finding this exchange highly informative, although it was certainly not my
intent in starting this off to provoke flames or even warm gases. Whether any
of us realized it or not, thorughout the spectrum from the TOPS-20s to the
scruffy fuzzballs, we are building real networks, even if the nodes are mailer
and femailer entities and the links are flaky transport-level connections. You
guys and others here have raised issues of congestion, routing, flow control
and fairness, not to mention multicasting and alternate-route fallback.

This scenario is being studied by the Testing Task Force, chaired by Ed Cain
of DCEC. Ed has been clamoring for hard data, which from your and my watches
is available only by holographing our eyeballs. More reports like yours would
be warmly welcomed. Especially useful are reports on mean aggregate traffic
per day and per busiest hour, as well as typical and maximum simultaneous
transport connections (for mailer and femailer separately). Of particular
interest would be the strategy used in response to errors: requeueing interval
and priority, dependency on type of error and position in the protocols stack.
Hard data on the incidences of such errors, such as might be captured in the
system log file, would be invaluable. It would also be useful to have a sketch
of the queueing discipline, connection-service discipline and fairness
principles, as well as a description of any special mechanisms for congestion
and flow controls.

I'm not sure I want to volunteer to manage the collection and distribution of
such a trove, but I would be glad to tickle the discussion and contribute what
interesting data I can collect. It is my view, as expressed in several fora,
that the effort to collect this kind of information and construct an
appropriate network-mail model is a legitimate research area which should be
funded accordingly.


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