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A Framework for Defining Network Complexity (RFC7980) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000248068D
Original Publication Date: 2016-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2016-Oct-22
Document File: 48 page(s) / 57K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

M. Behringer: AUTHOR [+4]


Network design can be described as the art of finding the simplest solution to solve a given problem. Complexity is thus assumed in the design process; engineers do not ask if there should be complexity, but rather, how much complexity is required to solve the problem. The question of how much complexity assumes there is some way to characterize the amount of complexity present in a system. The reality is, however, this is an area of research and experience rather than a solved problem within the network engineering space. Today's design decisions are made based on a rough estimation of the network's complexity rather than a solid understanding.

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Independent Submission                                      M. Behringer Request for Comments: 7980                                     A. Retana Category: Informational                                    Cisco Systems ISSN: 2070-1721                                                 R. White                                                                 Ericsson                                                                G. Huston                                                                    APNIC                                                             October 2016

               A Framework for Defining Network Complexity


   Complexity is a widely used parameter in network design, yet there is    no generally accepted definition of the term.  Complexity metrics    exist in a wide range of research papers, but most of these address    only a particular aspect of a network, for example, the complexity of    a graph or software.  While it may be impossible to define a metric    for overall network complexity, there is a desire to better    understand the complexity of a network as a whole, as deployed today    to provide Internet services.  This document provides a framework to    guide research on the topic of network complexity as well as some    practical examples for trade-offs in networking.

   This document summarizes the work of the IRTF's Network Complexity    Research Group (NCRG) at the time of its closure.  It does not    present final results, but a snapshot of an ongoing activity, as a    basis for future work.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is    published for informational purposes.

   This is a contribution to the RFC Series, independently of any other    RFC stream.  The RFC Editor has chosen to publish this document at    its discretion and makes no statement about its value for    implementation or deployment.  Documents approved for publication by    the RFC Editor are not a candidate for any level of Internet    Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 7841.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,    and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

 Behringer, et al.             Informational                     [Page 1]
 RFC 7980                  Complexity Framework              October 2016

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