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Below are some actual examples of the use to which the PingER data and reports have been put.
Identifying sites to upgrade
From the PingER reports, we identified that some U.S. universities had poor to bad
connectivity to ESnet sites. This was impeding some collaborations. In 1997, a
working group was formed by the ESnet Steering Committee (ESSC) to review
the situation and provide recommendations. We selected the top 20 universities
(ranked by DoE funding) which did not have direct ESnet connections and
made sure they were all monitored by PingER. After reviewing the results, we
identified those (there were 4) with very poor (> 5% packet loss) and poor (> 2.5% loss)
connectivity (there were 8) over a period of 4 months. This list was then
reviewed to look at the
existing plans for improved connectivity (in particular several of the universities
were about to join the vBNS). The information was then provided to the
ESnet management to evaluate the cost of prviding direct ESnet connections
for each of the universities. This exercise was repeated a year later, except the threshold
was reduced to 1%. This time there were 2 with poor packet loss (> 2.5%) and 8 with
acceptable packet loss (>1%).
From a detailed
Case Study on NIIT Pakistan we were able to identify that the
problem with connectivity to universities in Pakistan was not due to
the performance of the Pakistani National Research and Education Network
(NREN) supplied by PERN but rather due to the poor last mile connections
to the university sites. These were dramatically congested. This was reported
to the head of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Atta ur Rahman and
led to upgrading of the links to universities.
Choosing an ISP for home connectivity
In 1996, SLAC wanted to recommend a ISDN Internet Service provider (ISP) for
people wishing to connect to SLAC from their homes in the San Francisco Bay
Area. To evaluate the connectivity that the various ISPs could provide we
decided to use PingER to monitor the ISP gateways in areas where
we had several potential SLAC users. The results enabled us to select an ISP who
had low loss and good RTT. We continued the monitring after selecting
the ISP and used it to request improvements to and identify problems with the ISP.
We also used the information to recommend a second ISP and
remove our recommendation on the first ISP. Finally due to inconsistent performance
we removed all recommendations for ISPs and provided our own ISDN service.
In 1999, SLAC wanted to recommend a DSL ISP for people wishing to connect to SLAC from their
home. There were 2 major contenders, one of which was about twice the price of the other.
We needed to compare the performances of the 2 ISPs, so we set PingER to monitor nodes on both
networks from SLAC. We discovered that the TCP thruput of the more expensive ISP was an order
of magnitude better. This was very valuable information that we were able to provide to
prospective users to help in making a decision.
Setting expectations for a collaboration
Several High Energy Physics (HEP) experiments have introduced the concept of regional computer
centers. Typically there a few of these (e.g. BaBar regional computer centers in France, Italy
and the U.K. as well as the main center at SLAC). These centers are expected to perform much
of the computing required by the collaboration and so need good connectivity to the experiment
in order to get a copy of the data and to be able to share the results. By using PingER to
measure the loss and RTT, we are able to provide expectations for the
performance for bulk data
transfer and other applications.
When putting together the
Data Grid (PPDG) proposal (a collaboration of 3
universities and 6 Labs), it was very valuable to be able to look at the PingER data and
evaluate what the performance between the sites would be like with the existing
production links. As a result of this we put together a
web site for the PPDG collaboration
focussed on the PingER results for the collaborators.
Deciding where to site a software development effort
The BaBar experiment at SLAC needed to locate a software code porting activity
at one of the collaborator sites with expertise in a particular Unix platform.
We used PingER to evaluate the performance between SLAC and the various potential
university collaborator sites to see which one had appropriate connectivity and
performance. This information was a major selection factor in the final choice.
Setting expectations for VoIP
Several national Labs (CERN in Geneva, DESY in Hamburg, FNAL in Chicago IL, LBNL in Berkeley
CA, and SLAC in Menlo Park CA) have set up a pilot Voice over IP (VoIP)
project to evaluate the utility and
performance of this technology.
By comparing the results from PingER with various ITU recommendations for loss,
RTT and jitter, together with the perceptions of voice quality from the pilot,
we are able to determine how well VoIP might work between various pairs of sites.
to the Internet. One is via ESnet,
the other via Stanford University. The
performance of both these connections is excellent, however, the way the 2 network
peer with other ISPs can differ dramatically. By reviewing the performance
and routes from Stanford and from SLAC to sites of interest to SLAC we can
see whether sending packets via Stanford or via ESnet (SLAC's default
routing is via ESnet) should provide better performance for SLAC.
In one example of this we compared the performance between SLAC/ESnet
or Stanford and Colorado State (see
Routing via Campus), discovered it was much better
(factor of 2 less RTT)
via Stanford, and then worked with the ESnet NOC to change ESnet's routing
to Colorado State to make a big improvement.
In another case we compared the performance between SLAC/ESnet or Stanford and
PacBell's Internet. In the former case the traffic went via the STARTAP
in Chicago and sustained RTT's of around 130 msec. In the latter case it went
via Palo Alto and sustained an RTT of about 30 msec.
When the major cables through the Mediterranean were cut in January and
December 2008 the PingER data was used to evaluate which countries were
affected, by how much and for how long. See
Effects of Fibre Outage through the Mediterranean and
Effects of Mediterranean Fibre Cuts December 2008.
In July 2009, the Seacom submarine fibre cable went line, connecting East Africa at
higher speeds and dramatically reduced Round Trip Times (RTT)
to the Internet. Using the PingER data we were able to identify the effects
PingER has been used in many studies to quantify the discrepancy
in Internet performance for developed countries/regions and developing
countries regions, see for example:
January 2009 Report of the ICFA-SCIC Monitoring Working Group
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
The CTBTO based in Vienna---
is engaged in monitoring the world for signs of nuclear explosions.
The collected data and processed results are made available to authorized
recipients in CTBTO Member States as well as a number of tsunami warning
organizations. Many of the recipients, so-called National Data Centres,
receive the data over a secure Internet connection. For this reason,
they are interested in evaluations of the quality and available bandwidths
for Internet connections in the African countries, as well as in Asia and
other parts of the world that are on the low-end side of the so-called
Digital Divide. They looked with interest at the data we publish in the
PingER pages. More.
Identifying the optimal location to provide a HotMail service.
Knowing the performance between PingER hosts in similar locations as the
client and the various HotMail servers, one can optimize which server to
access from the client.
With measurements going back to 1997, PingER data provides a history of Internet performance. For example the
uneven development of the Internet.
Used as Illustrations
Back to top
- Bridging the Digital Divide South Africa needs cheap, fast, and reliable bandwidth to fulfil its
aspirations . not just in big science, but to reach its development goals
as well. Phil Charles demonstrates the relationship between astronomy
and the Internet and argues that the time has come for bold action.
- Internety Cimmunications Using SIP, Delievering VoIP and Multimedia Services
with Session Initiation Protocol, by Henry Sinnreich ansd Alan B. Johnson, Published by Wiley Publishing, Fig 18.3 2nd Edition.
- Email from Mike Jensen, 12/17/2011 , I'm writing a chapter for a book commissioned by the w3 foundation on internet access and i wanted to use one of your pinger project graphics
Symmetrry Magazine, Violume 5, Issue 4, September 2008.
- Email from Yohei Kuga at KEIO University, 5/14/2011
I'm Yohei Kuga at KEIO University from Japan.
Now I'm writing a book that topic is Internet architecture and current
status written in Japanese.
And in this book, I hope to introduce PingER activities with 'PingER
metrics intensity map'.
Could I use PingER metrics intensity map image in the book?
-intensity-map.html) We think Image size is one-half page (about size
is 10cm x 8cm) with image source and references.
- Email from Katherine Blundell, oct 15, 2009
I have come across an interesting plot attributed to you on page 1 of
the attached article, showing growth in bandwidth to various
countries, particularly developing ones. Is there an updated version
of this plot you might be willing to let me have?
This is partly for my own interest, and partly because I will be
speaking tomorrow at the annual Microsoft Research e-Science workshop
on a project of mine (www.GlobalJetWatch.net) involving deploying
telescopes various countries separated in longitude. While the
project is research-driven, there is an important educational/outreach
component with a web-learning site to help encourage children in
developing countries to learn - and love - science, but could
potentially be hindered by lack of bandwidth to these countries. I
was tentatively wondering about very briefly making this point at this
particular workshop, but obviously I would only do this if you were
happy for me to, and I would of course fully attribute the plot to
- Email from Katie Yurkewicz
I am currently creating a Web site companion for Science Grid This Week, and I would like your permission to include the PingER plot I used in Science Grid This Week in the new site's image bank. The site will be called the Science Grid Network, and will host Science Grid This Week and include science grid-related images, links and presentations. The image bank will be part of the existing interactions.org image bank
(http://www.interactions.org/imagebank/) and subject to that bank's permission policy.
I will include your name and email address as a contact for the image unless you request otherwise. The image I intend to archive is shown here:
Please let me know if I have permission to archive the image. If you have another PingER image that you'd rather I use, or any other images, links or introductory grid-related presentations that you would like to include on the site, please send them along!
- Email from email@example.com 12/21/2005
Computerworld would like to publish the pie charts on page 7 of your January 2005 IDFA SCISC Network Monitoring Report and source them to the ICFA at Stanford. This would be for an infographic concerning Internet reliability and would be part of a larger feature I am writing on the Internet and telecommunications services.
Can you let me know before the holidays if you have any objections or if there are issues you would like to discuss, such as proper sourcing?
Created 9/17/99. Revised 5/18/2012..