paper on analyzing packet traces of TCP behavior available

Vern Paxson vern at
Tue Jun 24 19:03:42 UTC 1997

[My apologies to those of you who will receive multiple copies of this
announcement from other mailing lists ...]

The paper "Automated Packet Trace Analysis of TCP Implementations",
to appear in SIGCOMM '97, is now available from:

I've appended the abstract.


Automated Packet Trace Analysis of TCP Implementations

Vern Paxson
Network Research Group
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
vern at

We describe "tcpanaly", a tool for automatically analyzing a TCP
implementation's behavior by inspecting packet traces of the TCP's
activity.  Doing so requires surmounting a number of hurdles, including
detecting packet filter measurement errors, coping with ambiguities due to
the distance between the measurement point and the TCP, and accommodating a
surprisingly large range of behavior among different TCP implementations.
We discuss why our efforts to develop a fully general tool failed, and
detail a number of significant differences among 8 major TCP implementations,
some of which, if ubiquitous, would devastate Internet performance.  The
most problematic TCPs were all independently written, suggesting that
correct TCP implementation is fraught with difficulty.  Consequently, it
behooves the Internet community to develop testing programs and reference

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