Router support for fine-grained latency measurements

Ramana Rao Kompella, Kirill Levchenko, Alex C. Snoeren, George Varghese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


An increasing number of datacenter network applications, including automated trading and high-performance computing, have stringent end-to-end latency requirements where even microsecond variations may be intolerable. The resulting fine-grained measurement demands cannot be met effectively by existing technologies, such as SNMP, NetFlow, or active probing. We propose instrumenting routers with a hash-based primitive that we call a Lossy Difference Aggregator (LDA) to measure latencies down to tens of microseconds even in the presence of packet loss. Because LDA does not modify or encapsulate the packet, it can be deployed incrementally without changes along the forwarding path. When compared to Poisson-spaced active probing with similar overheads, our LDA mechanism delivers orders of magnitude smaller relative error; active probing requires 50-60 times as much bandwidth to deliver similar levels of accuracy. Although ubiquitous deployment is ultimately desired, it may be hard to achieve in the shorter term; we discuss a partial deployment architecture called mPlane using LDAs for intrarouter measurements and localized segment measurements for interrouter measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6093710
Pages (from-to)811-824
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication technology
  • computer networks
  • coordinated streaming
  • latency measurement
  • router

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Router support for fine-grained latency measurements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this