NsGTFA: A GUI Tool to Easily Measure Network Performance through the Ns2 Trace File

Idris Skloul Ibrahim, Peter John Beaufoy King, Hans-Wolfgang Loidl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Ns2 is an open-source communications network simulator primarily used in research and teaching. Ns2 provides substantial support for simulation of TCP, routing, and multicast protocols over wired and wireless networks. Although Ns2 is a widely used powerful simulator, it lacks a way to measure networks that are used to assess reliability and performance metrics (e.g., the number of packets transferred from source to destination, delay in packets, packet loss, etc.) and it does not analyse the trace files it produces. The data obtained from the simulations are not straightforward to analyse. Ns2 is still unable to provide any data analysis statistics or graphics as requested. Moreover, the analysis of the Ns2 trace file using any software scripts requires further steps by a developer to do data processing and then produce graphical outputs. Lack of standardisation of tools means that results from different users may not be strictly comparable. There are alternative tools; however, most of them are not standalone applications, requiring some additional libraries. Also, they lack a user-friendly interface. This article presents the architecture and development considerations for the NsGTFA (Ns2 GUI Trace File Analyser) tool, which intends to simplify the management and enable the statistical analysis of trace files generated during network simulations. NsGTFA runs under Windows and has a friendly graphical user interface. This tool is a very fast standalone application implemented in VC++, taking as input an Ns2 trace file. It can output two-dimensional (2D) and 3D graphs (points, lines, and bar charts) or data sets, whatever the trace file format (Tagged, Old, or New). It is also possible to specify the output of standard network performance metrics. NsGTFA satisfies most user needs. There is no complex installation process, and no external libraries are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-477
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Intelligent Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • GUI trace file analyser
  • network performance metrics
  • trace file format
  • VC++

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software
  • Information Systems


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