Tag Archives: technical

REDACT: refraction networking from the data center

Arjun Devraj, Liang Wang, Jennifer Rexford

Abstract

Refraction networking is a promising censorship circumvention technique in which a participating router along the path to an innocuous destination deflects traffic to a covert site that is otherwise blocked by the censor. However, refraction networking faces major practical challenges due to performance issues and various attacks (e.g., routing-around-the-decoy and fingerprinting). Given that many sites are now hosted in the cloud, data centers offer an advantageous setting to implement refraction networking due to the physical proximity and similarity of hosted sites. We propose REDACT, a novel class of refraction networking solutions where the decoy router is a border router of a multi-tenant data center and the decoy and covert sites are tenants within the same data center. We highlight one specific example REDACT protocol, which leverages TLS session resumption to address the performance and implementation challenges in prior refraction networking protocols. REDACT also offers scope for other designs with different realistic use cases and assumptions.

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When latency matters: measurements and lessons learned

Marco Iorio, Fulvio Risso, Claudio Casetti

Abstract

Several emerging classes of interactive applications are demanding for extremely low-latency to be fully unleashed, with edge computing generally regarded as a key enabler thanks to reduced delays. This paper presents the outcome of a large-scale end-to-end measurement campaign focusing on task-offloading scenarios, showing that moving the computation closer to the end-users, alone, may turn out not to be enough. Indeed, the complexity associated with modern networks, both at the access and in the core, the behavior of the protocols at different levels of the stack, as well as the orchestration platforms used in data-centers hide a set of pitfalls potentially reverting the benefits introduced by low propagation delays. In short, we highlight how ensuring good QoS to latency-sensitive applications is definitely a multi-dimensional problem, requiring to cope with a great deal of customization and cooperation to get the best from the underlying network.

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P4Pi: P4 on Raspberry Pi for networking education

Sándor Laki, Radostin Stoyanov, Dávid Kis, Robert Soulé, Péter Vörös, Noa Zilberman

Abstract

High level, network programming languages, like P4, enable students to gain hands-on experience in the structure of a switch or router. Students can implement the packet processing pipeline themselves, without prior knowledge of circuit design. However, when choosing a P4 programmable target for use in the classroom, instructors face a lack of options. On the one hand, software solutions, such as the behavioral model (BMv2) switch, are overly simplified and offer low performance. On the other hand, existing hardware solutions are closed source and expensive.

In this paper, we present P4Pi, a new, low-cost, open-source hardware platform intended for networking education. P4Pi allows students to design and deploy P4-based network devices using the Raspberry Pi board, which has a price tag of less than many academic textbooks. We describe the high-level design of the P4Pi platform, offer some suggestions for how P4Pi could be used in the classroom, and present some additional use-cases for applications and functionality that could be developed using P4Pi.

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The graph neural networking challenge: a worldwide competition for education in AI/ML for networks

José Suárez-Varela, Miquel Ferriol-Galmés, Albert López, Paul Almasan, Guillermo Bernárdez, David Pujol-Perich, Krzysztof Rusek, Loïck Bonniot, Christoph Neumann, François Schnitzler, François Taïani, Martin Happ, Christian Maier, Jia Lei Du, Matthias Herlich, Peter Dorfinger, Nick Vincent Hainke, Stefan Venz, Johannes Wegener, Henrike Wissing, Bo Wu, Shihan Xiao, Pere Barlet-Ros, Albert Cabellos-Aparicio

Abstract

During the last decade, Machine Learning (ML) has increasingly become a hot topic in the field of Computer Networks and is expected to be gradually adopted for a plethora of control, monitoring and management tasks in real-world deployments. This poses the need to count on new generations of students, researchers and practitioners with a solid background in ML applied to networks. During 2020, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has organized the “ITU AI/ML in 5G challenge”, an open global competition that has introduced to a broad audience some of the current main challenges in ML for networks. This large-scale initiative has gathered 23 different challenges proposed by network operators, equipment manufacturers and academia, and has attracted a total of 1300+ participants from 60+ countries. This paper narrates our experience organizing one of the proposed challenges: the “Graph Neural Networking Challenge 2020”. We describe the problem presented to participants, the tools and resources provided, some organization aspects and participation statistics, an outline of the top-3 awarded solutions, and a summary with some lessons learned during all this journey. As a result, this challenge leaves a curated set of educational resources openly available to anyone interested in the topic.

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NemFi: record-and-replay to emulate WiFi

Abhishek kumar Mishra, Sara Ayoubi, Giulio Grassi, Renata Teixeira

Abstract

This paper presents NemFi: a trace-driven WiFi emulator. NemFi is a record-and-replay emulator that captures traces representing real WiFi conditions, and later replay these traces to reproduce the same conditions. In this paper, we demonstrate that the state-of-the-art emulator that was developed for cellular links cannot emulate WiFi conditions. We identify the three key differences that must be addressed to enable accurate WiFi record-and-replay: WiFi packet losses, medium-access control, and frame aggregation. We then extend the existing cellular network emulator to support WiFi record-and-replay. We evaluate the performance of NemFi via repeated experimentation across different WiFi conditions and for three different types of applications: speed-test, file download, and video streaming. Our experimental results demonstrate that average application performance over NemFi and real WiFi links is similar (with less than 3 percent difference).

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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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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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Experience-driven research on programmable networks

Hyojoon Kim, Xiaoqi Chen, Jack T Brassil, Jennifer Rexford

Abstract

Many promising networking research ideas in programmable networks never see the light of day. Yet, deploying research prototypes in production networks can help validate research ideas, improve them with faster feedback, uncover new research questions, and also ease the subsequent transition to practice. In this paper, we show how researchers can run and validate their research ideas in their own backyards—on their production campus networks—and we have seen that such a demonstrator can expedite the deployment of a research idea in practice to solve real network operation problems. We present P4Campus, a proof-of-concept that encompasses tools, an infrastructure design, strategies, and best practices—both technical and non-technical—that can help researchers run experiments against their programmable network idea in their own network. We use network tapping devices, packet brokers, and commodity programmable switches to enable running experiments to evaluate research ideas on a production campus network. We present several compelling data-plane applications as use cases that run on our campus and solve production network problems. By sharing our experiences and open-sourcing our P4 apps [28], we hope to encourage similar efforts on other campuses.

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Distrinet: a Mininet Implementation for the Cloud

Giuseppe Di Lena, Andrea Tomassilli, Damien Saucez, Frédéric Giroire, Thierry Turletti, Chidung Lac

Abstract

Networks have become complex systems that combine various concepts, techniques, and technologies. As a consequence, modelling or simulating them now is extremely complicated and researchers massively resort to prototyping techniques. Mininet is the most popular tool when it comes to evaluate SDN propositions. Mininet allows to emulate SDN networks on a single computer but shows its limitations with resource intensive experiments as the emulating host may become overloaded. To tackle this issue, we propose Distrinet, a distributed implementation of Mininet over multiple hosts, based on LXD/LXC, Ansible, and VXLAN tunnels. Distrinet uses the same API than Mininet, meaning that it is compatible with Mininet programs. It is generic and can deploy experiments on Linux clusters (e.g., Grid’5000), as well as on the Amazon EC2 cloud platform.

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