During NSF's fiscal year 1994, SDSC continued to collaborate with NSF/DNCRI on NREN Engineering Group (NEG) activities. NSF's Division for Advanced Scientific Computing funded this as a supplement to the base funding of the San Diego Supercomputer Center. The overall NEG effort included collaborative work among NSF (particularly Steve Wolff and his staff), LANL (Peter Ford) and SDSC (Hans-Werner Braun and K C. Claffy).
A major objective of NSF's NREN Engineering Group is to facilitate a graceful evolution of the national networking agenda via NSF's involvement as a federal agency. Domestic networking requirements and architectural issues are prominently on the agenda, as are design criteria for international connections to the U.S. portion of the Internet. As such, the NEG has been participating in the conceptualization of network implementation plans, and network engineering studies for NSF/DNCRI. We have written a paper on provisioning the Internet with multiple service levels to address some difficulties under resource contention, co-authored with Steve Wolff of NSF, and UCSD economist Roger Bohn . Other discussions with NSF and the Internet community surrounded issues of policy, such as network acceptable use policies.
In the future, as the NSFNET backbone service provisioning agreement ceases and Internet connectivity becomes an industrial commodity, metrics for describing the quality of connectivity will be important to market efficiency. One of our goals has been and will be to determine how to describe Internet workload using metrics that will enable customers and service providers to agree on a definition of a given grade of service. One common notion of network workload is `burstiness', as we discuss in section 2.3, but there is not yet agreement in the Internet community on the best metric to define burstiness. Such notions will become critical to the commercial Internet marketplace as NSF gradually decreases funding to Internet service providers.