Category Archives: 2021

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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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.

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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