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The error rate is an important measure of performance in digital communications system, since it gives an indication of the quality of the received information. This paper provides a tutorial overview of methods of error monitoring under four broad classifications, namely, test sequences, parameter measurements, violation detection, and pseudo-error monitoring. A brief discussion of several approaches towards performance monitoring and the definition of error rate parameters is also given. The various methods are described and compared; but, no one monitor is singled out as the "best" since the final choice depends largely on the specific requirements of a given application.