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A fundamental challenge of efficient network planning and traffic engineering is being able to directly relate traffic flows to network paths. In this paper we propose a new approach for network monitoring which has the ability of directly relating traffic flows to network paths, termed Intrinsic Monitoring. The approach advocates storing node and link related metrics within the packet header structure as the packet is processed through the network. Through the use of a newly proposed IPv6 Hop by Hop extension header, each intermediate node that supports such a header can use it as a medium to carry node specific metrics. This approach enables direct monitoring of both, the intermediate nodes that a particular packet traverses and characteristics of the packet's spatial trajectory through the network. We demonstrate that our approach is scalable as it reduces the total overhead associated with collecting the metrics in comparison to the popular traceroute network diagnostics tool, while also reducing the total time taken to retrieve these metrics.
Date of Conference: 23-27 May 2010