June 8, 1997
On any given day, Berkeley Lab is a party to about half a million
Internet connections. While ideally the Internet delivers data quickly
and intact, packets of data get lost, delayed, replicated and reordered,
a situation which proved to be fertile ground for Vern Paxson's
Paxson, a member of the Network Research Group in the Information
and Computing Sciences Division, recently earned his Ph.D. in Computer
Science at UC Berkeley with a dissertation on development of a measurement
framework for the Internet. Using 37 Internet sites, Vern studied
1,000 paths linking those sites to determine what happens to data
packets transmitted through the network.
Wading through a mountain of diverse data, Vern learned that the
basic measurement tool--packet filters--can give misleading results.
He also found that some implementations of TCP, the dominant Internet
protocol for data transfer, have major problems that could potentially
lead to wide disruptions in data transfer.
Paxson said his research has implications for many facets of Internet
use, including distributed collaborations, and could help in the
development of new tools for improved data transfer. He plans to
continue his work on a broader scale.