The April 2021 issue

The April 2021 issue contains one technical paper as well as five editorial notes.

The technical paper, Surviving switch failures in cloud datacenters, by Rachee Singh and her colleagues, examines the nature of switch failures in the datacenters of a large commercial cloud provider. This work studies a cohort of over 180,000 switches with a variety of hardware and software configurations.

Then, we have five editorial notes. The first one, The Netivus Manifesto: Making Collaborative Network Management Easier for the Rest of Us, by Joseph Severini and his colleagues, studies operational issues faced by Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) network owners.

The second editorial note, Revitalizing the Public Internet By Making it Extensible, by Hari Balakrishnan and his colleagues, argues for the creation of an Extensible Internet that supports in-network services that go beyond best-effort packet delivery.

The third editorial note, Workshop on Internet Economics (WIE 2020) Final Report, by kc claffy and David Clark, reports on the 11th interdisciplinary Workshop on Internet Economics (WIE).

The fourth editorial note, SatNetLab: A call to arms for the next global Internet testbed, by Ankit Singla, lays out a case for networking researchers to collaboratively undertake the construction of SatNetLab, a research platform that enables experimentation across upcoming satellite-based networks.

The fifth editorial note, Great Educators in Computer Networking: Bruce Davie, by Matthew Caesar and Bruce Davie, is an interview, part of a series on Great Educators in Computer Networking, where some of the most impactful and skilled educators in our field are interviewed.

I hope that you will enjoy reading this new issue and welcome comments and suggestions on CCR Online (https://ccronline.sigcomm.org) or by email at ccr-editor at sigcomm.org.

The January 2021 issue

This January 2021 issue contains three technical papers as well as two editorial notes.

The first technical paper, Distrinet: a Mininet Implementation for the Cloud, by Giuseppe Di Lena and his colleagues, proposes Distrinet, a distributed implementation of Mininet over multiple hosts, based on LXD/LXC, Ansible, and VXLAN tunnels. Distrinet is compatible with Mininet programs, generic and can deploy experiments on Linux clusters as well as on the Amazon EC2 cloud platform. Given how popular Mininet is for SDN evaluation, this contribution potentially provides a lot of value to our research community.

The second technical paper, Experience-Driven Research on Programmable Networks, by Hyojoon Kim and colleagues, presents a proof-of-concept to help researchers run experiments against their programmable network idea, in their own network. The authors present several data-plane applications as use cases that run on their campus and solve production network problems. While not fully reproducible, this paper is a good step towards encouraging similar efforts in our community.

Our third paper, The Case for Model-Driven Interpretability of Delay-based Congestion Control Protocols, by Muhammad Khan and his colleagues, presents a study of different delay-based congestion control algorithms for TCP. The proposed framework is flexible and allows to model delay-based protocols, by simplifying a congestion control protocol’s response into a guided random walk over a two-dimensional Markov model. The model is evaluated against actual traces collected in 3G/4G networks, and allows to get the intuition of which regime the congestion control loop is spending most of the time.

Then, we have two editorial notes. The first one, Italian Operators’ Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, by Massimo Candela and Antonio Prado, reports on the actions undertaken by network operators in Italy in response to COVID-19. The second editorial note, What do Information Centric Networks, Trusted Execution Environments, and Digital Watermarking have to do with Privacy, the Data Economy, and their future?, by Nikolaos Laoutaris and Costas Iordanou, discusses how ICNs combined with trusted execution environments and digital watermarking can be combined to build a personal data overlay inter-network that has a plethora of desirable properties for end-users.

I hope that you will enjoy reading this new issue and welcome comments and suggestions on CCR Online (https://ccronline.sigcomm.org) or by email at ccr-editor at sigcomm.org.

The October 2020 issue

This October 2020 issue contains five technical papers, the third paper of our education series, as well as three editorial notes.

The first technical paper, Partitioning the Internet using Anycast Catchments, by Kyle Schomp and Rami Al-Dalky, deals with anycast, one of the core operational strategies to improve service performance, availability and resilience. Anycast is widely used by cloud providers, content delivery networks (CDNs), major DNS operators and many more popular Internet services. However, anycast comes with limited visibility in how traffic will be distributed among the different server locations. The authors of this paper paper propose a technique for partitioning the Internet using passive measurements of existing anycast deployments, such that all IP addresses within a partition are routed to the same location for an arbitrary anycast deployment.

The second technical paper, LoRadar: LoRa Sensor Network Monitoring through Passive Packet Sniffing, by Kwon Nung Choi and colleagues, moves us to a very different topic, in the area of IoT, and in particular Low Power WAN technologies (LPWANs) such as Long Range (LoRa). This paper develops a software tool, LoRadar, to monitor LoRa’s medium access control protocol on commodity hardware via passive packet sniffing.

Our third paper, A first look at the IP eXchange Ecosystem, by Andra Lutu and her colleagues, deals with the very important topic of the IPX Network, which we use every time we roam with our smartphones and interconnects about 800 Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) worldwide. Despite its size, neither its organisation nor its operation are well known within our community. This paper provides a first analysis of the IPX network, which we hope will be followed by other works on this under-studied topic.

The fourth paper, Mobile Web Browsing Under Memory Pressure, by Ihsan Ayyub Qazi and colleagues, investigates the impact of memory usage on mobile devices in the context of web browsing. The authors present a study using landing page loading time and memory requirements for a number of Android-based smartphones using Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Brave. The extensive results of this paper cover the effect of tabs, scrolling, the number of images, and the number of requests made for different objects.

The fifth paper, Retrofitting Post-Quantum Cryptography in Internet Protocols: A Case Study of DNSSEC, by Moritz Mueller and his colleagues, analyses the implications of different Post-Quantum Cryptography solutions in the context of Domain Name System Security Extensions. What makes this paper very interesting, is its timeliness, since the networking and security communities are currently investigating suitable alternatives for DNSSEC, and candidate solutions shall be selected by early 2022.

The sixth paper, also our third paper in the new education series, COSMOS Educational Toolkit: Using Experimental Wireless Networking to Enhance Middle/High School STEM Education, by Panagiotis Skrimponis and his colleagues, describes COSMOS, a general-purpose educational toolkit for teaching students about a variety of computer science concepts, including computer networking. The notable aspect of this work is that the COSMOS testbed has already been deployed and used by a large number of students, and has already demonstrated great value to the community.

Then, we have three editorial notes. The first two are coincidentally on the very timely topic of contact tracing. The first one, Coronavirus Contact Tracing: Evaluating The Potential Of Using Bluetooth Received Signal Strength For Proximity Detection, by Douglas J. Leith and Stephen Farrell, reports on the challenges faced when deploying Covid-19 contact tracing apps that use Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) to detect proximity. The second editorial note, Digital Contact Tracing: Technologies, Shortcomings, and the Path Forward, by Amee Trivedi and Deepak Vasisht, investigates the technology landscape of contact-tracing apps and reports on what they believe are the missing pieces. Our third and final editorial note, Using Deep Programmability to Put Network Owners in Control, by Nate Foster and colleagues, share their vision regarding deep programmability across the stack.

I hope that you will enjoy reading this new issue and welcome comments and suggestions on CCR Online (https://ccronline.sigcomm.org) or by email at ccr-editor at sigcomm.org.

The July 2020 issue

This July 2020 issue contains four technical papers, the second paper of our education series, as well as two editorial notes.

The first technical paper, Tracking the deployment of TLS 1.3 on the Web: A story of experimentation and centralization, by Ralph Holz and his colleagues, deals with Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.3, a redesign of the Web’s most important security protocol. TLS 1.3 was standardized in August 2018 after a four year-long, unprecedented design process involving many cryptographers and industry stakeholders. In their work, the authors track deployment, uptake, and use of TLS 1.3 from the early design phase until well over a year after standardization.

The second technical paper, Does Domain Name Encryption Increase Users’ Privacy?, by Martino Trevisan and colleagues, is on a topic related to the first technical paper. This work shows that DNS over HTTP (DoH) does not offer the privacy protection that many assume. For the purposes of reproducibility, the authors provide the data used under NDA with the institution owning the data. The authors also share config files and ML environment details in the interest of promoting replicability in other environments.

Our third paper, Using Application Layer Banner Data to Automatically Identify IoT Devices, by Talha Javed and his colleagues, is of the “repeatable technical papers” type, which are technical contributions that provide their artefacts, e.g., software, datasets. This paper attempts to replicate a Usenix Security 2018 paper. It describes the efforts of the authors at re-implementing the solution described in the Usenix Security paper, especially the challenges encountered when authors of the original paper are unwilling to respond to requests for artefacts. We hope it will encourage additional reproducibility studies.

The fourth paper, Towards Declarative Self-Adapting Buffer Management, by Pavel Chuprikov and his colleagues, introduces a novel machine learning based approach to buffer management. The idea is to provide a queue management infrastructure that automatically adapts to traffic changes and identifies the policy that is hypothetically best suited for current traffic patterns. The authors adopt a multi-armed bandits model, and given that different objectives and assumptions lead to different bandit algorithms, they discuss and explore the design space while providing an experimental evaluation that validates their recommendations. The authors provide a GitHub repository that allows for the reproducibility of their result through the NS-2 simulator.

The fifth paper, also our second paper in the new education series, Open Educational Resources for Computer Networking, by Olivier Bonaventure and his colleagues, describes an effort to create an online, interactive textbook for computer networking. What distinguishes this textbook from traditional ones is that it not only is it free and available for anyone in the world to use, but also, it is also interactive. Therefore, this goes way beyond what a textbook usually offers: it is an interactive learning platform for computer networking. The authors here report on about ten years of experience with it, that led to some interesting experiences and lessons learned.

Then, we have two editorial notes. The first, Lessons Learned Organizing the PAM 2020 Virtual Conference, by Chris Misa and his colleagues, reports on the experience from the organizing committee of the 2020 edition of the Passive and Active Measurement (PAM) conference, that took place as a virtual event. It provides important lessons learned for future conferences that decide to go for a virtual event. The second editorial note, Update on ACM SIGCOMM CCR reviewing process: making the review process more open, by the whole CCR editorial board, aims to inform the SIGCOMM community on the reviewing process in place currently at CCR, and to share our plans to make CCR a more open and welcoming venue, adding more value to the SIGCOMM community.

I hope that you will enjoy reading this new issue and welcome comments and suggestions on CCR Online (https: //ccronline.sigcomm.org) or by email at ccr-editor at sigcomm.org.

The April 2020 Issue

SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review (CCR) is produced by a group of members of our community that spend time to prepare the newsletter that you read every quarter. Olivier Bonaventure served as editor during the last four years and his term is now over. It is my pleasure to now serve the community as the editor of CCR. As Olivier and other editors in the past did, we’ll probably adjust the newsletter to the evolving needs of the community. A first change is the introduction of a new Education series led by Matthew Caesar, our new SIGCOMM Education Director. This series will be part of every issue of CCR, and will contain different types of contributions, not only technical papers as in the current issue, but also position papers (that promote discussion through a defensible opinion on a topic), studies (describing research questions, methods, and results), experience reports (that describe an approach with a reflection on why it did/did not work), and approach reports (that describe a technical approach with enough detail for adoption by others).

This April 2020 issue contains five technical papers, the first paper of our new education series, as well as three editorial notes.

The first technical paper, RIPE IPmap Active Geolocation: Mechanism and Performance Evaluation, by Ben Du and his colleagues, introduces the research community to the IPmap single-radius engine and evaluates its effectiveness against commercial geolocation databases.

It is often believed that traffic engineering changes are rather infrequent. In the second paper, Path Persistence in the Cloud: A Study of the Effects of Inter-Region Traffic Engineering in a Large Cloud Provider’s Network, Waleed Reda and his colleagues reveal the high frequency of traffic engineering activity within a large cloud provider’s network.

In the third paper, The Web is Still Small After More Than a Decade, Nguyen Phong Hoang and his colleagues revisit some of the decade-old studies on web presence and co-location.

The fourth paper, a repeatable paper originated in the IMC reproducibility track, An Artifact Evaluation of NDP, by Noa Zilberman, provides an analysis of NDP (New Data centre protocol). NDP was first presented at ACM SIGCOMM 2017 (best paper award) and proposes a novel data centre transport architecture. In this paper, the author builds the analysis of the artefact proposed by the original authors of NDP, showing how it is possible to carry out research and build new results on previous work done by other fellow researchers.

The Low Latency, Low Loss, Scalable throughput (L4S) architecture addresses this problem by combining scalable congestion control such as DCTCP and TCP Prague with early congestion signalling from the network. In our fifth technical paper, Validating the Sharing Behavior and Latency Characteristics of the L4S Architecture, Dejene Boru Oljira and his colleagues validate some of the experimental result(s) reported in the previous works that demonstrate the co-existence of scalable and classic congestion controls and its low-latency service.

The sixth paper, also our very first paper in the new education series, An Open Platform to Teach How the Internet Practically Works, by Thomas Holterbach and his colleagues, describes a software infrastructure that can be used to teach about how the Internet works. The platform presented by the authors aims to be a much smaller, yet a representative copy of the Internet. The paper’s description and evaluation are focused on technical aspects of the design, but as a teaching tool, it may be more helpful to describe more about pedagogical issues.

Then, we have three very different editorial notes. The first, Workshop on Internet Economics (WIE 2019) report, by kc Klaffy and David Clark, reports on the 2019 interdisciplinary Workshop on Internet Economics (WIE). The second, strongly related to the fourth technical paper, deals with reproducibility. In Thoughts about Artifact Badging, Noa Zilberman and Andrew Moore illustrate that the current badging scheme may not identify limitations of architecture, implementation, or evaluation. Our last editorial note is a comment on a past editorial, “Datacenter Congestion Control: Identifying what is essential and making it practical” by Aisha Mushtaq, et al., from our July 2019 issue. This comment, authored by James Roberts, disputes that shortest remaining processing time (SRPT the crucial factor in achieving good flow completion time (FCT) performance in datacenter networks.

Steve Uhlig — CCR Editor

Great educators in computer networking: Bruce Davie

Matthew Caesar, Bruce Davie

Abstract

This interview is part of a series on Great Educators in Computer Networking, where we interview some of the most impactful and skilled educators in our field. Here, we interviewed Australian Bruce Davie, the self-described computer scientist/engineer/runner/cyclist, who agreed to talk to us about his thoughts on computer networking education, his role in it, his thoughts about the big ideas in our field, and how the pandemic is changing our work. Bruce has over 30 years of industry experience and is well known for a broad spectrum of educational initiatives such as co-authoring several textbooks, as well as his contributions to many networking standards and technologies, including IP quality of service, network virtualization, software defined networking, and more.

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SatNetLab: A call to arms for the next global Internet testbed

Ankit Singla

Abstract

The space industry is moving rapidly towards offering low-latency and high-bandwidth global Internet coverage using low Earth orbit satellites. Such networks represent “one giant leap” in Internet infrastructure, both in their goals and the underlying technology. Due to their unique characteristics, they open up new opportunities, and pose new research challenges. I thus lay out a case for networking researchers to collaboratively undertake the construction of SatNetLab, a research platform that enables experimentation across upcoming satellite-based networks.

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Workshop on Internet Economics (WIE 2020) Final Report

kc claffy, David Clark

Abstract

On 16-17 December 2020, CAIDA hosted the 11th interdisciplinary Workshop on Internet Economics (WIE) in a virtual Zoom conference. This year our goal was to gather feedback from researchers on their experiences using CAIDA’s data for economics or policy research. We invited all researchers who reported use of CAIDA data in these disciplines. We discussed their successes and challenges of using the data, and how CAIDA could help these fields via Internet measurement and data curation. To avoid Zoom fatigue, we had a conversation-focused rather than presentation-focused workshop. Research topics we discussed included: Internet data for macroeconomics; connectivity and its effect on economic interdependence; effects of the EU’s new GDPR on internet interconnection; measuring corporate cyber risk; measuring work-from-home trends; measuring the economic value of open source software; and more generally how to best support evidence-based policymaking.

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The Netivus Manifesto: Making Collaborative Network Management Easier for the Rest of Us

Joseph Severini, Radhika Niranjan Mysore, Vyas Sekar, Sujata Banerjee, Michael K. Reiter

Abstract

We study operational issues faced by Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) network owners and find that SME network management practices have stagnated over the past decade, despite many recent advances in network management. Many of these advances target hyperscalers and ISPs and cannot be directly applied to SME networks that are operated with vastly different constraints. In our work, we outline these constraints and explain how they impact challenges around debugging, namely: representing, reproducing, and remediating network problems. This article takes a fresh look at these challenges in the light of SME practices around collaborative debugging and presents a roadmap aimed to help resolve SME operational issues quickly.

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Revitalizing the Public Internet By Making it Extensible

Hari Balakrishnan, Sujata Banerjee, Israel Cidon, David Culler, Deborah Estrin, Ethan Katz-Bassett, Arvind Krishnamurthy, Murphy McCauley, Nick McKeown, Aurojit Panda, Sylvia Ratnasamy, Jennifer Rexford, Michael Schapira, Scott Shenker, Ion Stoica, David Tennenhouse, Amin Vahdat, Ellen Zegura

Abstract

There is now a significant and growing functional gap between the public Internet, whose basic architecture has remained unchanged for several decades, and a new generation of more sophisticated private networks. To address this increasing divergence of functionality and overcome the Internet’s architectural stagnation, we argue for the creation of an Extensible Internet (EI) that supports in-network services that go beyond best-effort packet delivery. To gain experience with this approach, we hope to soon deploy both an experimental version (for researchers) and a prototype version (for early adopters) of EI. In the longer term, making the Internet extensible will require a community to initiate and oversee the effort; this paper is the first step in creating such a community.

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Surviving switch failures in cloud datacenters

Rachee Singh, Muqeet Mukhtar, Ashay Krishna, Aniruddha Parkhi, Jitendra Padhye, David Maltz

Abstract

Switch failures can hamper access to client services, cause link congestion and blackhole network traffic. In this study, we examine the nature of switch failures in the datacenters of a large commercial cloud provider through the lens of survival theory. We study a cohort of over 180,000 switches with a variety of hardware and software configurations and find that datacenter switches have a 98% likelihood of functioning uninterrupted for over 3 months since deployment in production. However, there is significant heterogeneity in switch survival rates with respect to their hardware and software: the switches of one vendor are twice as likely to fail compared to the others. We attribute the majority of switch failures to hardware impairments and unplanned power losses. We find that the in-house switch operating system, SONiC, boosts the survival likelihood of switches in datacenters by 1% by eliminating switch failures caused by software bugs in vendor switch OSes.

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What do information centric networks, trusted execution environments, and digital watermarking have to do with privacy, the data economy, and their future?

Nikolaos Laoutaris, Costas Iordanou

Abstract

What if instead of having to implement controversial user tracking techniques, Internet advertising & marketing companies asked explicitly to be granted access to user data by name and category, such as Alice→Mobility→05-11-2020? The technology for implementing this already exists, and is none other than the Information Centric Networks (ICN), developed for over a decade in the framework of Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiatives. Beyond named access to personal data, ICN’s in-network storage capability can be used as a substrate for retrieving aggregated, anonymized data, or even for executing complex analytics within the network, with no personal data leaking outside. In this opinion article we discuss how ICNs combined with trusted execution environments and digital watermarking, can be combined to build a personal data overlay inter-network in which users will be able to control who gets access to their personal data, know where each copy of said data is, negotiate payments in exchange for data, and even claim ownership, and establish accountability for data leakages due to malfunctions or malice. Of course, coming up with concrete designs about how to achieve all the above will require a huge effort from a dedicated community willing to change how personal data are handled on the Internet. Our hope is that this opinion article can plant some initial seeds towards this direction.

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Italian operators’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Massimo Candela, Antonio Prado

Abstract

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments introduced several social restrictions. As of 18 March 2020, more than 250 million people were in lockdown in Europe. This drastically increased the number of online activities. Due to this unprecedented situation, some concerns arose about the suitability of the Internet network to sustain the increased usage.

Italy was severely hit by the first wave of the pandemic and various regions underwent a lockdown before the main country-wide one. The Italian network operators started sharing information about improvements carried out on the network and new measures adopted to support the increase in Internet usage. In this report, by means of a questionnaire, we collect information and provide a quantitative overview of the actions undertaken by network operators in Italy. The attitude of Italian operators was synergic and proactive in supporting the changed market conditions caused by the public health emergency.

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The case for model-driven interpretability of delay-based congestion control protocols

Muhammad Khan, Yasir Zaki, Shiva R. Iyer, Talal Ahamd, Thomas Poetsch, Jay Chen, Anirudh Sivaraman, Lakshmi Subramanian

Abstract

Analyzing and interpreting the exact behavior of new delay-based congestion control protocols with complex non-linear control loops is exceptionally difficult in highly variable networks such as cellular networks. This paper proposes a Model-Driven Interpretability (MDI) congestion control framework, which derives a model version of a delay-based protocol by simplifying a congestion control protocol’s response into a guided random walk over a two-dimensional Markov model. We demonstrate the case for the MDI framework by using MDI to analyze and interpret the behavior of two delay-based protocols over cellular channels: Verus and Copa. Our results show a successful approximation of throughput and delay characteristics of the protocols’ model versions across variable network conditions. The learned model of a protocol provides key insights into an algorithm’s convergence properties.

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