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IAB Minutes 2021-03-31

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Minutes of the 2021-03-31 IAB Teleconference

1. Administrivia

1.1. Attendance

  • Jari Arkko
  • Deborah Brungard
  • Ben Campbell
  • Lars Eggert (IETF Chair)
  • Wes Hardaker
  • Cullen Jennings
  • Mirja Kühlewind (IAB Chair)
  • Zhenbin Li
  • Jared Mauch
  • Cindy Morgan (IAB Executive Administrative Manager)
  • Karen O’Donoghue (ISOC Liaison)
  • Tommy Pauly
  • David Schinazi
  • Amy Vezza (IETF Secretariat)
  • Russ White
  • Jiankang Yao
  • Colin Perkins (IRTF Chair)
  • Martin Vigoureux (IESG Liaison)
  • Stuart Cheshire
  • Christoph Paasch
  • Dave Taht
  • Daniel Migault
  • Omer Shapira
  • Greg Wood

2. Proposal for a workshop on user-consumable network quality

Stuart Cheshire, Christoph Paasch, and Dave Taht joined the IAB to present a proposal for an IAB workshop on Network Quality.

Stuart Cheshire noted that the conversation on this topic began once people started working from home more during the COVID-19 pandemic and were unhappy with their Internet connections. The overall goal of the workshop would be to improve the user experience for people using the Internet, including:

  • Internet voice telephony
  • Video conferencing
  • On-line video games
  • Video streaming
  • Web browsing
  • Remote filesystems
  • Maps, weather, stock quotes, etc.

Stuart Cheshire said that the reliability and responsiveness of each individual use case is what matters, but the Internet needs to remain a flexible general-purpose network. Application-specific network optimizations are not the goal.

The proposed workshop would explore what generic network properties contribute to a good user experience. Generic network properties include:

  • Physical & link-layer: Low-level queueing and aggregation delays
  • IP-layer features: IPv6, DHCPv6 PD, SQM/AQM, ECN, etc.
  • Transport-layer features: TFO, MPTCP, QUIC, Accurate ECN, etc.
  • Pseudo-transport-layer: HTTP (widely used substrate for many applications)
  • Essential infrastructure: DNS, maybe others… ?

Application-layer solutions and techniques are not the goal of this workshop; a capable and flexible underlying general-purpose network is the goal.

Another goal of the workshop would be to agree on measurement metrics or an industry-wide agreement on methodology for evaluating network behaviors. For companies to invest resources, they need to see results.

Christoph Paasch added that being able to explain the metrics in a way that is understandable to the end user is also important, so that they can understand their network quality.

Stuart Cheshire said that part of what he would like to see is new thinking about what should actually be measured.

Tommy Pauly noted that there is always a risk with testing metrics that vendors will just build to the tests. If we can build a better test, we may end up with better outcomes.

Stuart Cheshire said that writing documents is not enough. If there was some kind of open-source measurement tool that informed end-users about their Internet connections, those informed users could reward operators that provide better quality Internet connections with their business. Better quality Internet connections enable better user experience with current and future network applications.

Potential workshop participants include:

  • Network equipment designers, implementers, and vendors
    • Mobile data (cellular) equipment
    • Cable modem equipment, DSL modem equipment, etc.
    • Home gateways, Ethernet switches, Wi-Fi access points, etc.
    • Backbone equipment vendors (Cisco, Juniper, etc.)
    • Silicon vendors (Ethernet switch chipset vendors, Mellanox, Netronome, etc.)
    • Open Source community (OpenWrt, etc.)
  • Network operators
  • End-system vendors
  • User-facing Internet services
  • Academia

Wes Hardaker asked who the target audience for the output of these metrics would be. Stuart Cheshire replied that it should target the end users, since they are the ones who will decide what to spend their money on.

The desired outcomes of the workshop include:

  • Initial agreement on what are desirable network properties
  • Initial agreement on measurement methodology
  • Agreement on next steps and where those various work items will be conducted

The IAB will work with Stuart Cheshire and Christoph Paasch to further refine the workshop proposal and draft a call for papers and timeline for the workshop.