Passive Aggressive Measurement with MGRP

By: 
Pavlos Papageorge, Justin McCann, and Michael Hicks
Appears in: 
CCR October 2009

We present the Measurement Manager Protocol (MGRP), an in-kernel service that schedules and transmits probes on behalf of active measurement tools. Unlike prior measurement services, MGRP transparently piggybacks application packets inside the often significant amounts of empty padding contained in typical probes. Using MGRP thus combines the modularity, flexibility, and accuracy of standalone active measurement tools with the lower overhead of passive measurement techniques. Microbenchmark experiments show that the resulting bandwidth savings makes it possible to measure the network accurately, but faster and more aggressively than without piggybacking, and with few ill effects to piggybacked application or competing traffic. When using MGRP to schedule measurements on behalf of MediaNet, an overlay service that adaptively schedules media streams, we show MediaNet can achieve significantly higher streaming rates under the same network conditions.