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The study of the characteristics of high performance computer networks is becoming more important as the variety of services offered increases. The basic methods to address this problem are analytical modelling, simulation and measurements. For new or improved systems, only the two first approaches are feasible. It is shown that both suffer from fundamental limitations that hamper their effectiveness in the evaluation of modern high speed networks and transfer modes. A scalable, parallel computer based, solution to the limitations of simulation is presented. It is based on a combination of dedicated hardware and the utilisation of general purpose (MIMD) parallel computers.