CCR Papers from July 2014

  • Dina Papagiannaki

    Welcome to the July issue of CCR, an issue that should hopefully inspire a number of discussions that we can continue in person during Sigcomm, in Chicago. This issue features 17 papers, 5 of which are editorial notes, and 12 technical contributions from our community.

    The technical part features novel contributions in the area of router location inference, performance of fiber-to-the-home networks, BGP, programmable middleboxes, and a programming language for protocol independent packet processors. Each one of them is advancing the state of the art and should be a useful building block for future research.

    The research community is increasingly becoming multidisciplinary. One cannot help but get inspired when he/she sees the elegance of solutions that address real problems in one discipline while exploiting knowledge produced in another. This is the mission of the fifth technical submission in this issue. The core of the contribution is to adopt the concept of design contests and apply it to the area of congestion control protocols in wireless networks. The authors point out that one of the key requirements in any design contest is to “have an unambigious, measurable objective that will allow one to compare protocols”. And this is exactly what the authors do in their work. The article concludes that design contests can benefit networking research, if designed properly, and they encourage others to explore their strengths and weaknesses.

    The remaining papers of the technical part are devoted to one of the largest efforts undertaken in the recent years to rethink the architecture of the Internet, e.g. the Future Internet Architecture program of the U.S. National Science Foundation. FIA targets the design of a trustworthy Internet, that incorporates societal, economical, and legal constraints, while following a clean slate approach.

    It was the initiative of Prof. David Wetherall, from University of Washington, to bring the four FIA proposals, and affiliated project ChoiceNet, to CCR, and provide a very comprehensive exposition of the different avenues taken by the different consortia. I have to thank David for acm all the hard work he did in order to bring all the pieces in the same place, something that will undoubtedly help our community understand the FIA efforts in a greater extent. The FIA session is preceded by a technical note by Dr. Darleen Fisher, FIA program director at the U.S. National Science Foundation. It is inspiring to see how a long term (11-year) funding effort has led to a number of functioning components that may define the Internet of the future. Thank you Darleen for a wonderful introductory note!

    Our editorial session comprises 5 papers. Two of the papers cover workshop reports: i) the workshop on Internet Economics 2013, and ii) the roundtable on real time communications research, that was held along with IPTComm, in October 2013. We have an article introducing the ProtoRINA prototype, a user-space prototype of the Recursive InterNetwork Architecture (RINA), and a qualitative study of the Internet census data that was collected in March 2013, and that has attracted significant attention in our community.

    The last editorial is appearing in CCR per my own invitation to its author, Daniel Stenberg. By the end of this year the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is aiming to standardize the second version of HTTP, i.e. HTTP 2.0. This new version is going to be a very significant change compared to HTTP v1 aiming to provide better support for mobile browsing. Daniel is a Mozilla engineer participating in the standardization of HTTP 2.0 and has kindly accepted to publish his thoughts on HTTP 2.0 at CCR.

    This issue also marks the start of tenure for Dr. Aline Carneiro Viana, from INRIA. Aline is bringing a lot of energy to the editorial board and her expertise in ad hoc, sensor networks, delay tolerant networks, and cognitive radio networks.

    With all that, I hope to see most of you in Chicago in August, and please feel free to send me any suggestions on things you would like to see published from CCR in the future.

  • B. Huffaker, M. Fomenkov, K. Claffy

    In this paper we focus on geolocating Internet routers, using a methodology for extracting and decoding geography-related strings from fully qualified domain names (hostnames). We first compiled an extensive dictionary associating geographic strings (e.g., airport codes) with geophysical locations. We then searched a large set of router hostnames for these strings, assuming each autonomous naming domain uses geographic hints consistently within that domain. We used topology and performance data continually collected by our global measurement infrastructure to discern whether a given hint appears to co-locate different hostnames in which it is found. Finally, we generalized geolocation hints into domain-specific rule sets. We generated a total of 1,711 rules covering 1,398 different domains and validated them using domain-specific ground truth we gathered for six domains. Unlike previous efforts which relied on labor-intensive domain-specific manual analysis, we automate our process for inferring the domain specific heuristics, substantially advancing the state-of-the-art of methods for geolocating Internet resources.

    Joel Sommers
  • M. Luckie

    Researchers depend on public BGP data to understand the structure and evolution of the AS topology, as well as the operational security and resiliency of BGP. BGP data is provided voluntarily by network operators who establish BGP sessions with route collectors that record this data. In this paper, we show how trivial it is for a single vantage point (VP) to introduce thousands of spurious routes into the collection by providing examples of five VPs that did so. We explore the impact these misbehaving VPs had on AS relationship inference, showing these misbehaving VPs introduced thousands of AS links that did not exist, and caused relationship inferences for links that did exist to be corrupted. We evaluate methods to automatically identify misbehaving VPs, although we find the result unsatisfying because the limitations of real-world BGP practices and AS relationship inference algorithms produce signatures similar to those created by misbehaving VPs. The most recent misbehaving VP we discovered added thousands of spurious routes for nine consecutive months until 8 November 2012. This misbehaving VP barely impacts (0.1%) our validation of our AS relationship inferences, but this number may be misleading since most of our validation data relies on BGP and RPSL which validates only existing links, rather than asserting the non-existence of links. We have only a few assertions of non-existent routes, all received via our public-facing website that allows operators to provide validation data through our interactive feedback mechanism. We only discovered this misbehavior because two independent operators corrected some inferences, and we noticed that the spurious routes all came from the same VP. This event highlights the limitations of even the best available topology data, and provides additional evidence that comprehensive ground truth validation from operators is essential to scientific research on Internet topology.

    Renata Teixeira
  • M. Sargent, M. Allman

    Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) networks are on the brink of bringing significantly higher capacity to residential users compared to today'ss commercial residential options. There are several burgeoning FTTH networks that provide capacities of up to 1 Gbps. We have been monitoring one such operational network the Case Connection Zone - for 23 months. In this paper we seek to understand the extent to which the users in this network are in fact making use of the provided bi-directional 1 Gbps capacity. We find that even when given virtually unlimited capacity the majority of the time users do not retrieve information from the Internet in excess of commercially available data rates and transmit at only modestly higher rates than commodity networks support. Further, we find that end host issues - most prominently buffering at both end points - are often the cause of the lower-than-expected performance.

    Fabián E. Bustamante
  • K. Khan, Z. Ahmed, S. Ahmed, A. Syed, S. Khayam

    With only access billing no longer ensuring profits, an ISP's growth now relies on rolling out new and differentiated services. However, ISPs currently do not have a well-defined architecture for rapid, cost-effective, and scalable dissemination of new services. We present iSDF, a new SDN-enabled framework that can meet an ISP's service delivery constraints concerning cost, scalability, deployment flexibility, and operational ease. We show that meeting these constraints necessitates an SDN philosophy for a centralized management plane, a decoupled (from data) control plane, and a programmable data plane at customer premises. We present an ISP service delivery framework (iSDF) that provides ISPs a domain-specific API for network function virtualization by leveraging a programmable middlebox built from commodity home-routers. It also includes an application server to disseminate, configure, and update ISP services. We develop and report results for three diverse ISP applications that demonstrate the practicality and flexibility of iSDF, namely distributed VPN (control plane decisions), pay-per-site (rapid deployment), and BitTorrent blocking (data plane processing).

    Katerina Argyraki
  • A. Sivaraman, K. Winstein, P. Varley, J. Batalha, A. Goyal, S. Das, J. Ma, H. Balakrishnan

    In fields like data mining and natural language processing, design contests have been successfully used to advance the state of the art. Such contests offer an opportunity to bring the excitement and challenges of protocol design - one of the core intellectual elements of research and practice in networked systems - to a broader group of potential contributors, whose ideas may prove important. Moreover, it may lead to an increase in the number of students, especially undergraduates or those learning via online courses, interested in pursuing a career in the field. We describe the creation of the infrastructure and our experience with a protocol design contest conducted in MIT's graduate Computer Networks class. This contest involved the design and evaluation of a congestion-control protocol for paths traversing cellular wireless networks. One key to the success of a design contest is an unambiguous, measurable objective to compare protocols. In practice, protocol design is the art of trading off conflicting goals with each other, but in this contest, we specified that the goal was to maximize log(throughput/delay). This goal is a good match for applications such as video streaming or videoconferencing that care about high throughput and low interactive delays. Some students produced protocols whose performance was better than published protocols tackling similar goals. Furthermore, the convex hull of the set of all student protocols traced out a tradeoff curve in the throughput-delay space, providing useful insights into the entire space of possible protocols. We found that student protocols diverged in performance between the training and testing traces, indicating that some students had overtrained ("overfitted") their protocols to the training trace. Our conclusion is that, if designed properly, such contests could benefit networking research by making new proposals more easily reproducible and amenable to such "gamification," improve networked systems, and provide an avenue for outreach.

    Augustin Chaintreau
  • Darleen Fisher

    The Future Internet Architectures (FIA) constitutes a 10year effort by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) that was launched in 2006, with the announcement of the Future INternet Design (FIND) research area within a Network Technologies and Systems (NeTS) program solicitation. This solicitation outlined a three-phase program to "rethink" the Internet, beginning with FIND and culminating in the recently announced two-year awards for Future Internet ArchitectureNext Phase (FIA-NP). Because many readers may not be familiar with the thinking behind this effort, this article aims to provide a historical context and background for the technical papers included in this issue.

    David Wetherall
  • D. Naylor, M. Mukerjee, P. Agyapong, R. Grandl, R. Kang

    Motivated by limitations in today's host-centric IP network, recent studies have proposed clean-slate network architectures centered around alternate first-class principals, such as content, services, or users. However, much like the hostcentric IP design, elevating one principal type above others hinders communication between other principals and inhibits the network's capability to evolve. This paper presents the eXpressive Internet Architecture (XIA), an architecture with native support for multiple principals and the ability to evolve its functionality to accommodate new, as yet unforeseen, principals over time. We present the results of our ongoing research motivated by and building on the XIA architecture, ranging from topics at the physical level ("how fast can XIA go") up through to the user level.

  • T. Wolf, J. Griffioen, K. Calvert, R. Dutta, G. Rouskas, I. Baldin, A. Nagurney

    The Internet has been a key enabling technology for many new distributed applications and services. However, the deployment of new protocols and services in the Internet infrastructure itself has been sluggish, especially where economic incentives for network providers are unclear. In our work, we seek to develop an "economy plane" for the Internet that enables network providers to offer new network-based services (QoS, storage, etc.) for sale to customers. The explicit connection between economic relationships and network services across various time scales enables users to select among service alternatives. The resulting competition among network service providers will lead to overall better technological solutions and more competitive prices. In this paper, we present the architectural aspects of our ChoiceNet economy plane as well as some of the technological problems that need to be addressed in a practical deployment.

  • A. Afanasyev, J. Burke, L. Zhang, claffy, L. Wang, V. Jacobson, P. Crowley, C. Papadopoulos, B. Zhang

    Named Data Networking (NDN) is one of five projects funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation under its Future Internet Architecture Program. NDN has its roots in an earlier project, Content-Centric Networking (CCN), which Van Jacobson first publicly presented in 2006.1 The NDN project investigates Jacobson's proposed evolution from today's host-centric network architecture (IP) to a data-centric network architecture (NDN). This conceptually simple shift has far-reaching implications for how we design, develop, deploy, and use networks and applications. We describe the motivation and vision of this new architecture, and its basic components and operations. We also provide a snapshot of its current design, development status, and research challenges. More information about the project, including prototype implementations, publications, and annual reports, is available on

  • A. Venkataramani, J. Kurose, D. Raychaudhuri, K. Nagaraja, M. Mao, S. Banerjee

    MobilityFirst is a future Internet architecture with mobility and trustworthiness as central design goals. Mobility means that all endpoints - devices, services, content, and networks - should be able to frequently change network attachment points in a seamless manner. Trustworthiness means that the network must be resilient to the presence of a small number of malicious endpoints or network routers. MobilityFirst enhances mobility by cleanly separating names or identifiers from addresses or network locations, and enhances security by representing both in an intrinsically verifiable manner, relying upon a massively scalable, distributed, global name service to bind names and addresses, and to facilitate services including device-to-service, multicast, anycast, and context-aware communication, content retrieval, and more. A key insight emerging from our experience is that a logically centralized global name service can significantly enhance mobility and security and transform network-layer functionality. Recognizing and validating this insight is the key contribution of the MobilityFirst architectural effort.

  • T. Anderson, K. Birman, R. Broberg, M. Caesar, D. Comer, C. Cotton, M. Freedman, A. Haeberlen, Z. Ives, A. Krishnamurthy, W. Lehr, B. Loo, D. Mazières, A. Nicolosi, J. Smith, I. Stoica, R. van Renesse, M. Walfish, H. Weatherspoon, C. Yoo

    NEBULA is a proposal for a Future Internet Architecture. It is based on the assumptions that: (1) cloud computing will comprise an increasing fraction of the application workload offered to an Internet, and (2) that access to cloud computing resources will demand new architectural features from a network. Features that we have identified include dependability, security, flexibility and extensibility, the entirety of which constitute resilience. NEBULA provides resilient networking services using ultrareliable routers, an extensible control plane and use of multiple paths upon which arbitrary policies may be enforced. We report on a prototype system, Zodiac, that incorporates these latter two features.

  • P. Bosshart, D. Daly, G. Gibb, M. Izzard, N. McKeown, J. Rexford, C. Schlesinger, D. Talayco, A. Vahdat, G. Varghese, D. Walker

    P4 is a high-level language for programming protocol-independent packet processors. P4 works in conjunction with SDN control protocols like OpenFlow. In its current form, OpenFlow explicitly specifies protocol headers on which it operates. This set has grown from 12 to 41 fields in a few years, increasing the complexity of the specification while still not providing the flexibility to add new headers. In this paper we propose P4 as a strawman proposal for how OpenFlow should evolve in the future. We have three goals: (1) Reconfigurability in the field: Programmers should be able to change the way switches process packets once they are deployed. (2) Protocol independence: Switches should not be tied to any specific network protocols. (3) Target independence: Programmers should be able to describe packet processing functionality independently of the specifics of the underlying hardware. As an example, we describe how to use P4 to configure a switch to add a new hierarchical label.

    Marco Mellia
  • G. Kalejaiye, J. Rondina, L. Albuquerque, T. Pereira, L. Campos, R. Melo, D. Mascarenhas, M. Carvalho

    This paper describes a strategy that was designed, implemented, and presented at the Mobile Ad Hoc Networking Interoperability and Cooperation (MANIAC) Challenge 2013. The theme of the challenge was "Mobile Data Offloading" and consisted on developing and comparatively evaluating strategies to offload infrastructure access points via customer ad hoc forwarding using handheld devices. According to the challenge rules, a hop-by-hop bidding contest should decide the path of each data packet towards its destination. Consequently, each team should rely on other teams' willingness to forward packets for them in order to get their traffic across the network. Following these rules, this paper proposes a strategy that is based on the concept of how "tight" a node is to successfully deliver a packet to its destination within a given deadline. This "tightness" idea relies on a shortest-path analysis of the underlying network graph, and it is used to define three sub-strategies that specify a) how to participate in an auction; b) how to announce an auction; and c) how to decide who wins the announced auction. The proposed strategy seeks to minimize network resource utilization and to promote cooperative behavior among participant nodes.

    Sanjay Jha
  • T. Krenc, O. Hohlfeld, A. Feldmann

    On March 17, 2013, an Internet census data set and an accompanying report were released by an anonymous author or group of authors. It created an immediate media buzz, mainly because of the unorthodox and unethical data collection methodology (i.e., exploiting default passwords to form the Carna botnet), but also because of the alleged unprecedented large scale of this census (even though legitimate census studies of similar and even larger sizes have been performed in the past). Given the unknown source of this released data set, little is known about it. For example, can it be ruled out that the data is faked? Or if it is indeed real, what is the quality of the released data? The purpose of this paper is to shed light on these and related questions and put the contributions of this anonymous Internet census study into perspective. Indeed, our findings suggest that the released data set is real and not faked, but that the measurements suffer from a number of methodological flaws and also lack adequate meta-data information. As a result, we have not been able to verify several claims that the anonymous author(s) made in the published report. In the process, we use this study as an educational example for illustrating how to deal with a large data set of unknown quality, hint at pitfalls in Internet-scale measurement studies, and discuss ethical considerations concerning third-party use of this released data set for publications.

  • C. Davids, G. Ormazabal, R. State

    In this article we describe the discussion and conclusions of the "Roundtable on Real-Time Communications Research: What to Study and How to Collaborate" held at the Illinois Institute of Technology's Real-Time Communications Conference and Expo, co-located with the IPTComm Conference, October 15-17, 2013.

  • kc claffy, D. Clark

    On December 12-13 2013, CAIDA and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) hosted the (invitation-only) 4th interdisciplinary Workshop on Internet Economics (WIE) at the University of California's San Diego Supercomputer Center. This workshop series provides a forum for researchers, commercial Internet facilities and service providers, technologists, economists, theorists, policy makers, and other stakeholders to inform current and emerging regulatory and policy debates. The theme for this year's workshop was the economic health of the Internet ecosystem, including emphasis on the cost of and revenue sources to support content delivery, the quality of user experience, economic and policy influences on and effects of emerging specialized services, and the role of data in evaluating ecosystem health. This report describes the discussions and presents relevant open research questions identified by participants. Slides presented at the workshop and a copy of this final report are available at

  • D. Stenberg

    A detailed description explaining the background and problems with current HTTP that has lead to the development of the next generation HTTP protocol: HTTP 2. It also describes and elaborates around the new protocol design and functionality, including some implementation specifics and a few words about the future. This article is an editorial note submitted to CCR. It has NOT been peer reviewed. The author takes full responsibility for this article's technical content. Comments can be posted through CCR Online.

  • Y. Wang, I. Matta, F. Esposito, J. Day

    ProtoRINA is a user-space prototype of the Recursive InterNetwork Architecture. RINA is a new architecture that builds on the fundamental principle that networking is interprocess communication. As a consequence, RINA overcomes inherent weaknesses of the current Internet, e.g., security, mobility support, and manageability. ProtoRINA serves not only as a prototype that demonstrates the advantages of RINA, but also as a network experimental tool that enables users to program different policies using its built-in mechanisms. In this note, we introduce ProtoRINA as a vehicle for making RINA concepts concrete and for encouraging researchers to use and benefit from the prototype.

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