Tag Archives: editorial

Coronavirus Contact Tracing: Evaluating The Potential Of Using Bluetooth Received Signal Strength For Proximity Detection

Douglas J. Leith and Stephen Farrell


Many countries are deploying Covid-19 contact tracing apps that use Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) to detect proximity within 2m for 15 minutes. However, Bluetooth LE is an unproven technology for this application, raising concerns about the efficacy of these apps. Indeed, measurements indicate that the Bluetooth LE received signal strength can be strongly affected by factors including (i) the model of handset used, (ii) the relative orientation of handsets, (iii) absorption by human bodies, bags etc. and (iv) radio wave reflection from walls, floors, furniture. The impact on received signal strength is comparable with that caused by moving 2m, and so has the potential to seriously affect the reliability of proximity detection. These effects are due the physics of radio propagation and suggest that the development of accurate methods for proximity detection based on Bluetooth LE received signal strength is likely to be challenging. We call for action in three areas. Firstly, measurements are needed that allow the added value of deployed apps within the overall contact tracing system to be evaluated, e.g. data on how many of the people notified by the app would not have been found by manual contact tracing and what fraction of people notified by an app actually test positive for Covid-19. Secondly, the 2m/15 minute proximity limit is only a rough guideline. The real requirement is to use handset sensing to evaluate infection risk and this requires a campaign to collect measurements of both handset sensor data and infection outcomes. Thirdly, a concerted effort is needed to collect controlled Bluetooth LE measurements in a wide range of real-world environments, the data reported here being only a first step in that direction.

Download the full article (from ACM)

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.

Update on ACM SIGCOMM CCR reviewing process: towards a more open review process

Ralph Holz, Marco Mellia, Olivier Bonaventure, Hamed Haddadi, Matthew Caesar, Sergey Gorinsky, Gianni Antichi, Joseph Camp, kc Klaffy, Bhaskaran Raman, Anna Sperotto, Aline Viana, Steve Uhlig


This editorial note aims to first inform the SIGCOMM community on the reviewing process in place currently at CCR, and second, share our plans to make CCR a more open and welcoming venue by making changes to the review process, adding more value to the SIGCOMM community.

Download the full article (from ACM)


Lessons learned organizing the PAM 2020 virtual conference

Chris Misa, Dennis Guse, Oliver Hohlfeld, Ramakrishnan Durairajan, Anna Sperotto, Alberto Dainotti, Reza Rejaie


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizing committee of the 2020 edition of the Passive and Active Measurement (PAM) conference decided to organize it as a virtual event. Unfortunately, little is known about designing and organizing virtual academic conferences in the networking domain and their impacts on the participants’ experience. In this editorial note, we first provide challenges and rationale for various organizational decisions we made in designing the virtual format of PAM 2020. We then illustrate the key results from a questionnaire-based survey of participants’ experience showing that, while virtual conferences have the potential to broaden participation and strengthen focus on technical content, they face serious challenges in promoting social interactions and broadening the scope of discussions. We conclude with key takeaways, lessons learned, and suggestions for future virtual conferences distilled from this experience.

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Workshop on Internet Economics (WIE 2019) report

kc claffy, David Clark


On 9-11 December 2019, CAIDA hosted the 10th interdisciplinary Workshop on Internet Economics (WIE) at UC San Diego’s Supercomputer Center. This workshop series provides a forum for researchers, Internet facilities and service providers, technologists, economists, theorists, policymakers, and other stakeholders to exchange views on current and emerging economic and policy debates. This year’s meeting had a narrower focus than in years past, motivated by a new NSF-funded project being launched at CAIDA: KISMET (Knowledge of Internet Structure: Measurement, Epistemology, and Technology). The objective of the KISMET project is to improve the security and resilience of key Internet systems by collecting and curating infrastructure data in a form that facilitates query, integration and analysis. This project is a part of NSF’s new Convergence Accelerator program, which seeks to support fundamental scientific exploration by creating partnerships across public and private sectors to solve problems of national importance.

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Thoughts about Artifact Badging

Noa Zilberman, Andrew W. Moore


Reproducibility: the extent to which consistent results are obtained when an experiment is repeated, is important as a means to validate experimental results, promote integrity of research, and accelerate follow up work. Commitment to artifact reviewing and badging seeks to promote reproducibility and rank the quality of submitted artifacts.

However, as illustrated in this issue, the current badging scheme, with its focus upon an artifact being reusable, may not identify limitations of architecture, implementation, or evaluation.

We propose that to improve the insight into artifact reproducibility, the depth and nature of artifact evaluation must move beyond simply considering if an artifact is reusable. Artifact evaluation should consider the methods of that evaluation alongside the varying of inputs to that evaluation. To achieve this, we suggest an extension to the scope of artifact badging, and describe both approaches and best practice arising in other communities. We seek to promote conversation and make a call to action intended to strengthen the scientific method within our domain.

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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

The January 2020 Issue

This January 2020 issue starts the fiftieth volume of Computer Communication Re- view. This marks an important milestone for our newsletter. This issue contains four tech- nical papers and three editorial notes. In C- Share: Optical Circuits Sharing for Software- Defined Data-Centers, Shay Vargaftik and his colleagues tackle the challenge of designing data-center networks that combine optical circuit switches with traditional packet switches.

In our second paper, A Survey on the Current Internet Interconnection Practices, Pedro Marcos and his colleagues provide the results of a survey answered by about hundred network operators. This provides very interesting data on why and how networks interconnect. In A first look at the Latin American IXPs, Esteban Carisimo and his colleagues analyze how Internet eXchange Points have been deployed in Latin America during the last decade.

Our fourth technical paper, Internet Backbones in Space, explores different aspects of using satellite networks to create Internet backbones. Giacomo Giuliari and his colleagues analyse four approaches to organise routing between the ground segment of satellite networks (SNs) and traditional terrestrial ISP networks,

Then, we have three very different editorial notes. In Network architecture in the age of programmability, Anirudh Sivaraman and his colleagues look at where programmable functions should be placed inside networks and the impact that programmability can have on the network architecture. In The State of Network Neutrality Regulation, Volker Stocker, Georgios Smaragdakis and William Lehr analyse network neutrality from the US and European viewpoints by considering the technical and legal implications of this debate. In Gigabit Broadband Measurement Workshop Report, William Lehr, Steven Bauer and David Clark report on a recent workshop that discusses the challenges of correctly measuring access networks as they reach bandwidth of 1 Gbps and more.

Finally, I’m happy to welcome Matthew Caesar as the new SIGCOMM Education Director. He is currently preparing different initiatives, including an education section in CCR.

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.