Computer Communication Review: Papers

Find a CCR issue:
  • Dimitri Papadimitriou, Lluís Fàbrega, Pere Vilà, Davide Careglio, Piet Demeester

    In this paper, we report the results of the workshop organized by the FP7 EULER project on measurement-based research and associated methodology, experiments and tools. This workshop aimed at gathering all Future Internet Research and Experimentation (FIRE) experimental research projects under this thematic. Participants were invited to present the usage of measurement techniques in their experiments, their developments on measurement tools, and their foreseeable needs with respect to new domains of research not currently addressed by existing measurement techniques and tools.

  • S. Keshav

    Networking researchers seem to fall into two nearly non-overlapping categories: those whose blood runs with the practical clarity of “rough consensus and running code” (in the words of Dave Clark) and those who worship, instead, at the altar of mathematical analysis. The former build systems that work, even work well, but don’t necessarily know at what level of scaling or load their systems will catastrophically fail. Congestion collapse in the Internet in the mid-1980’s, for example, was a direct result of this approach, and similar scaling failures recur periodically (HTTP 1.0, “push” content distribution, and Shoutcast, to name a few), although many pragmatically-engineered systems, such as DNS, email, and Twitter, have proved to be incredibly scalable and robust.

    Proponents of mathematical modeling are better able to quantify the performance of their systems, using the powerful tools arising from theories such as model checking, queueing theory, and control theory. However, purely analytical approaches (remember PetriNets?) have had little practical success due to three inherent limitations. To begin with, it is not clear what mathematical approach is the best fit to a given problem. There are a plethora of approaches -- each of which can take years to master -- and it is nearly impossible to decide, a priori, which one best matches the problem at hand. For example, to optimize a system one can use linear or quadratic optimization, or any number of heuristic approaches, such as hill-climbing, genetic algorithms, and taboo search. Which one to pick? It all depends on the nuances of the problem, the quality of the available tools, and prior experience in using these approaches. That’s pretty daunting for a seasoned researcher, let alone a graduate student. Second, every mathematically sound approach necessarily makes simplifying assumptions. Fitting the square peg of reality into the round hole of mathematical assumptions can lead to impractical, even absurd, designs. As a case in point, assumptions of individual rationality needed by decision and game theory rarely hold in practice. Third, having spent the time to learn about a particular modeling approach, a researcher may be seduced into viewing the approach as being more powerful than it really is, ignoring its faults and modeling assumptions. For these reasons, I believe that one should couple a healthy respect for mathematical modeling with a hearty skepticism of its outcomes.
    When mathematical modeling and pragmatic system design come together, it can lead to beautiful systems. The original Ethernet, for example, brought together the elegant mathematics of researchers like Kleinrock, Tobagi, Lam, and Abramson with hands-on implementation by Metcalfe. Similarly, Jacobson and Karels brought a deep understanding of control theory to their inspired design of TCP congestion control. More recently, the Google Page Rank algorithm by Page, Brin, Motwani, and Winograd is based on eigenvalue computation in sparse Markov matrices.
    Given these enormous successes, it is no wonder that researchers in our community try hard to combine mathematical modeling with system building. Most papers in SIGCOMM these days build and study real systems applying analytical techniques arising from areas such as optimization, protocol verification, information theory, and communication theory. Although I must confess that the mathematical details of many papers are beyond my understanding (despite my recent attempt to remedy the situation), I think this is a positive development.
    Yet, much needs to be done. As a field, we lack widely accepted abstractions for even relatively simple concepts such as names and addresses, let alone routing and middleboxes. These have stymied our ability to build standard models for networking problems or a standard list of Grand Challenges. The recent emphasis on clean-slate design has renewed focus on these problems, and I look forward to the outcomes of these efforts in the years to come.
  • Vinh The Lam, Sivasankar Radhakrishnan, Rong Pan, Amin Vahdat, George Varghese

    Application performance in cloud data centers often depends crucially on network bandwidth, not just the aggregate data transmitted as in typical SLAs. We describe a mechanism for data center networks called NetShare that requires no hardware changes to routers but allows bandwidth to be allocated predictably across services based on weights. The weights are either specified by a manager, or automatically assigned at each switch port based on a virtual machine heuristic for isolation. Bandwidth unused by a service is shared proportionately by other services, providing weighted hierarchical max-min fair sharing. On a testbed of Fulcrum switches, we demonstrate that NetShare provides bandwidth isolation in various settings, including multipath networks.

    Sharad Agarwal
  • Yosuke Himura, Yoshiko Yasuda

    Multi-tenant datacenter networking, with which multiple customer (tenant) networks are virtualized over a single shared physical infrastructure, is cost-effective but poses significant costs on manual configuration. Such tasks would be alleviated with configuration templates, whereas a crucial difficulty stems from creating appropriate (i.e., reusable) ones. In this work, we propose a graph-based method of mining configurations of existing tenants to extract their recurrent patterns that would be used as reusable templates for upcoming tenants. The effectiveness of the proposed method is demonstrated with actual configuration files obtained from a business datacenter network.

    Sharad Agarwal
  • Anonymous

    Some ISPs and governments (most notably the Great Firewall of China) use DNS injection to block access to "unwanted" websites. The censorship tools inspect DNS queries near the ISP's boundary routers for sensitive domain keywords and inject forged DNS responses, blocking the users from accessing censored sites, such as twitter and facebook. Unfortunately this causes collateral damage, affecting communication beyond the censored networks when outside DNS traffic traverses censored links. In this paper, we analyze the causes of the collateral damages and measure the Internet to identify the injecting activities and their effect. We find 39 ASes in China injecting forged DNS replies. Furthermore, 26 of 43,000 measured open resolvers outside China, distributed in 109 countries, may suffer some collateral damage from these forged replies. Different from previous work that considers the collateral damage being limited to queries to root servers (F, I, J) located in China, we find that most collateral damage arises when the paths between resolvers and some TLD name servers transit through ISPs in China.

    Philip Levis
  • kc claffy

    On Monday, 22 August 2011, CAIDA hosted a one-day workshop to discuss scalable measurement and analysis of BGP and traceroute topology data, and practical applications of such data analysis including tracking of macroscopic censorship and filtering activities on the Internet. Discussion topics included: the surprisingly stability in the number of BGP updates over time; techniques for improving measurement and analysis of inter-domain routing policies; an update on Colorado State's BGPMon instrumentation; using BGP data to improve the interpretation of traceroute data, both for real-time diagnostics (e.g., AS traceroute) and for large-scale topology mapping; using both BGP and traceroute data to support detection and mapping infrastructure integrity, including different types of of filtering and censorship; and use of BGP data to analyze existing and proposed approaches to securing the interdomain routing system. This report briefly summarizes the presentations and discussions that followed.

  • Jon Crowcroft

    In all seriousness, Differential Privacy is a new technique and set of tools for managing responses to statistical queries over secured data, in such a way that the user cannot reconstruct more precise identification of principles in the dataset beyond a formally well-specified bound. This means that personally sensitive data such as Internet packet traces or social network measurements can be shared between researchers without invading personal privacy, and that assurances can be made with accuracy. With less seriousness, I would like to talk about Differential Piracy, but not without purpose. For sure, while there are legitimate reasons for upstanding citizens to live without fear of eternal surveillance, there is also a segment of society that gets away with things they shouldn't, under a cloak. Perhaps that is the (modest) price we have to pay for a modicum less paranoia in this brave new world. So, there has been a lot of work recently on Piracy Preserving Queries and Differential Piracy. These two related technologies exploit new ideas in statistical security. Rather than security through obscurity, the idea is to offer privacy through lack of differentiation (no, not inability to perform basic calculus, more the inability to distinguish between large numbers of very similar things).

  • kc claffy

    On February 8-10, 2012, CAIDA hosted the fourth Workshop on Active Internet Measurements (AIMS-4) as part of our series of Internet Statistics and Metrics Analysis (ISMA) workshops. As with the previous three AIMS workshops, the goals were to further our understanding of the potential and limitations of active measurement research and infrastructure in the wide-area Internet, and to promote cooperative solutions and coordinated strategies to address future data needs of the network and security operations and research communities. This year we continued to focus on how measurement can illuminate two specific public policy concerns: IPv6 deployment and broadband performance. This report briefly describes topics discussed at this year's workshop. Slides and other materials related to the workshop are available at

  • Rute Sofia, Paulo Mendes, Manuel José Damásio, Sara Henriques, Fabio Giglietto, Erica Giambitto, Alessandro Bogliolo

    This paper provides an interdisciplinary perspective concerning the role of prosumers on future Internet design based on the current trend of Internet user empowerment. The paper debates the prosumer role, and addresses models to develop a symmetric Internet architecture and supply-chain based on the integration of social capital aspects. It has as goal to ignite the discussion concerning a socially-driven Internet architectural design.

  • Dirk Trossen

    The late noughties have seen an influx of work in different scientific disciplines, all addressing the question of 'design' and 'architecture'. It is a battle between those advocating the theory of 'emergent properties' and others who strive for a 'theory for 'architecture'. We provide a particular insight into this battle, represented in the form of a story that focuses on the role of a possibly unusual protagonist and his influence on computer science, the Internet, architecture and beyond. We show his relation to one of the great achievements of system engineering, the Internet, and the possible future as it might unfold. Note from the writer: The tale is placed in a mixture of reality and fiction, while postulating a certain likelihood for this fiction. There is no proof for the assertions made in this tale, leaving the space for a sequel to be told.

  • Marshini Chetty, Nick Feamster

    Managing a home network is challenging because the underlying infrastructure is so complex. Existing interfaces either hide or expose the network's underlying complexity, but in both cases, the information that is shown does not necessarily allow a user to complete desired tasks. Recent advances in software defined networking, however, permit a redesign of the underlying network and protocols, potentially allowing designers to move complexity further from the user and, in some cases, eliminating it entirely. In this paper, we explore whether the choices of what to make visible to the user in the design of today's home network infrastructure, performance, and policies make sense. We also examine whether new capabilities for refactoring the network infrastructure - changing the underlying system without compromising existing functionality - should cause us to revisit some of these choices. Our work represents a case study of how co-designing an interface and its underlying infrastructure could ultimately improve interfaces for that infrastructure.

  • Cheng Yi, Alexander Afanasyev, Lan Wang, Beichuan Zhang, Lixia Zhang

    In Named Data Networking (NDN) architecture, packets carry data names rather than source or destination addresses. This change of paradigm leads to a new data plane: data consumers send out Interest packets, routers forward them and maintain the state of pending Interests, which is used to guide Data packets back to the consumers. NDN routers' forwarding process is able to detect network problems by observing the two-way traffic of Interest and Data packets, and explore multiple alternative paths without loops. This is in sharp contrast to today's IP forwarding process which follows a single path chosen by the routing process, with no adaptability of its own. In this paper we outline the design of NDN's adaptive forwarding, articulate its potential benefits, and identify open research issues.

  • S. Keshav

    As a networking researcher, working with computer networks day in and day out, you probably have rarely paused to reflect on the surprisingly difficult question of "What is a network?" For example, would you consider a bio-chemical system to be a network? How about a social network? Or a water supply network? Or the electrical grid? After all, all of these share some aspects in common with a computer network: they can be represented as a graph and they carry a flow (of chemical signals, messages, water, and electrons, respectively) from one or more sources to one or more destinations. So, shouldn't we make them equally objects of study by SIGCOMM members?

    You could argue that some of these networks differ dramatically from the Internet. The water network, for example, does not carry any messages and is unidirectional. So, it is not a communication network, unlike the Internet or, perhaps, a social network. This implicitly takes the position that the only networks we (as computer networking researchers) ought to study are bidirectional communication networks. This is a conservative position that is relatively easy to justify, but it excludes from consideration some interesting and open research questions that arise in the context of these other networks. Choosing the capacity of a water tank or an electrical transformer turns out to be similar in many respects to choosing the capacity of a router buffer or a transmission link. Similarly, one could imagine that the round-trip-time on a social network (the time it takes for a rumour you started to get back to you by word of mouth) would inform you about the structure of social network in much the same way as an ICMP ping. For these reasons, a more open-minded view about the nature of a network may be both pragmatic and conducive to innovation.
    My own view is that a network is any system that can be naturally represented by a graph. Additionally, a communication network is any system where a flow
    that originates at some set of source nodes is delivered to some set of destination nodes typically due to the forwarding action of intermediate nodes (although this may not be strictly necessary). This broad definition encompasses water networks, biological networks, and electrical networks as well as telecommunication networks and the Internet. It seeks to present a unifying abstraction so that techniques developed in one form of network can be adopted by researchers in the others.
    Besides a broad definition of networks, like the one above, the integrative study of networks--or ‘Network Science’ as its proponents call it-requires the underlying communities (and there are more than one) to be open to ideas from each other, and for the publication fora in these communities to be likewise “liberal in what you accept,” in Jon Postel's famous words. This is essential to allow researchers in Network Science to carry ideas from one community to another, despite their being less than expert in certain aspects of their work. CCR, through its publication of non-peer-reviewed Editorials, is perfectly positioned to follow this principle.
    I will end with a couple of important announcements. First, this issue will mark the end of Stefan Saroiu's tenure as an Area Editor. His steady editorial hand will be much missed. Thanks, Stefan!
    Second, starting September 1, 2012, Dina Papagiannaki will take over as the new Editor of CCR. Dina has demonstrated a breadth of understanding and depth of vision that assures me that CCR will be in very good hands. I am confident that under her stewardship CCR will rise to ever greater heights. I wish her the very best.
  • Supasate Choochaisri, Kittipat Apicharttrisorn, Kittiporn Korprasertthaworn, Pongpakdi Taechalertpaisarn, Chalermek Intanagonwiwat

    Desynchronization is useful for scheduling nodes to perform tasks at different time. This property is desirable for resource sharing, TDMA scheduling, and collision avoiding. Inspired by robotic circular formation, we propose DWARF (Desynchronization With an ARtificial Force field), a novel technique for desynchronization in wireless networks. Each neighboring node has artificial forces to repel other nodes to perform tasks at different time phases. Nodes with closer time phases have stronger forces to repel each other in the time domain. Each node adjusts its time phase proportionally to its received forces. Once the received forces are balanced, nodes are desynchronized. We evaluate our implementation of DWARF on TOSSIM, a simulator for wireless sensor networks. The simulation results indicate that DWARF incurs significantly lower desynchronization error and scales much better than existing approaches.

    Bhaskaran Raman
  • André Zúquete, Carlos Frade

    The IPv4 address space is quickly getting exhausted, putting a tremendous pressure on the adoption of even more NAT levels or IPv6. On the other hand, many authors propose the adoption of new Internet addressing capabilities, namely content-based addressing, to complement the existing IP host-based addressing. In this paper we propose the introduction of a location layer, between transport and network layers, to address both problems. We keep the existing IPv4 (or IPv6) host-based core routing functionalities, while we enable hosts to become routers between separate address spaces by exploring the new location header. For a proof of concept, we modified the TCP/IP stack of a Linux host to handle our new protocol layer and we designed and conceived a novel NAT box to enable current hosts to interact with the modified stack.

    David Wetherall
  • Kate Lin, Yung-Jen Chuang, Dina Katabi

    In many wireless systems, it is desirable to precede a data transmission with a handshake between the sender and the receiver. For example, RTS-CTS is a handshake that prevents collisions due to hidden terminals. Past work, however, has shown that the overhead of such handshake is too high for practical deployments. We present a new approach to wireless handshake that is almost overhead free. The key idea underlying the design is to separate a packet's PLCP header and MAC header from its body and have the sender and receiver first exchange the data and ACK headers, then exchange the bodies of the data and ACK packets without additional headers. The header exchange provides a natural handshake at almost no extra cost. We empirically evaluate the feasibility of such lightweight handshake and some of its applications. Our testbed evaluation shows that header-payload separation does not hamper packet decodabilty. It also shows that a light handshake enables hidden terminals, i.e., nodes that interfere with each other without RTS/CTS, to experience less than 4% of collisions. Furthermore, it improves the accuracy of bit rate selection in bursty and mobile environments producing a throughput gain of about 2x.

    Bhaskaran Raman
  • Cheng Huang, Ivan Batanov, Jin Li

    Internet services are often deployed in multiple (tens to hundreds) of geographically distributed data centers. They rely on Global Traffic Management (GTM) solutions to direct clients to the optimal data center based on a number of criteria like network performance, geographic location, availability, etc. The GTM solutions, however, have a fundamental design limitation in their ability to accurately map clients to data centers - they use the IP address of the local DNS resolver (LDNS) used by a client as a proxy for the true client identity, which in some cases causes suboptimal performance. This issue is known as the client-LDNS mismatch problem. We argue that recent proposals to address the problem suffer from serious limitations. We then propose a simple new solution, named ``FQDN extension'', which can solve the client-LDNS mismatch problem completely. We build a prototype system and demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed solution. Using JavaScript, the solution can be deployed immediately for some online services, such as Web search, without modifying either client or local resolver.

    Renata Teixeira
  • Shane Alcock, Perry Lorier, Richard Nelson

    This paper introduces libtrace, an open-source software library for reading and writing network packet traces. Libtrace offers performance and usability enhancements compared to other libraries that are currently used. We describe the main features of libtrace and demonstrate how the libtrace programming API enables users to easily develop portable trace analysis tools without needing to consider the details of the capture format, file compression or intermediate protocol headers. We compare the performance of libtrace against other trace processing libraries to show that libtrace offers the best compromise between development effort and program run time. As a result, we conclude that libtrace is a valuable contribution to the passive measurement community that will aid the development of better and more reliable trace analysis and network monitoring tools.

    AT&T Labs
  • Pamela Zave

    Correctness of the Chord ring-maintenance protocol would mean that the protocol can eventually repair all disruptions in the ring structure, given ample time and no further disruptions while it is working. In other words, it is "eventual reachability." Under the same assumptions about failure behavior as made in the Chord papers, no published version of Chord is correct. This result is based on modeling the protocol in Alloy and analyzing it with the Alloy Analyzer. By combining the right selection of pseudocode and textual hints from several papers, and fixing flaws revealed by analysis, it is possible to get a version that may be correct. The paper also discusses the significance of these results, describes briefly how Alloy is used to model and reason about Chord, and compares Alloy analysis to model-checking.

    David Wetherall
  • Juan Camilo Cardona Restrepo, Rade Stanojevic

    In spite of the tremendous amount of measurement efforts on understanding the Internet as a global system, little is known about the 'local' Internet (among ISPs inside a region or a country) due to limitations of the existing measurement tools and scarce data. In this paper, empirical in nature, we characterize the evolution of one such ecosystem of local ISPs by studying the interactions between ISPs happening at the Slovak Internet eXchange (SIX). By crawling the web archive we collect 158 snapshots (spanning 14 years) of the SIX website, with the relevant data that allows us to study the dynamics of the Slovak ISPs in terms of: the local ISP peering, the traffic distribution, the port capacity/utilization and the local AS-level traffic matrix. Examining our data revealed a number of invariant and dynamic properties of the studied ecosystem that we report in detail.

    Yin Zhang
  • Eric Keller, Michael Schapira, Jennifer Rexford

    Traditional traffic engineering adapts the routing of traffic within the network to maximize performance. We propose a new approach that also adaptively changes where traffic enters and leaves the network—changing the “traffic matrix”, and not just the intradomain routing configuration. Our approach does not affect traffic patterns and BGP routes seen in neighboring networks, unlike conventional inter-domain traffic engineering where changes in BGP policies shift traf-

    fic and routes from one edge link to another. Instead, we capitalize on recent innovations in edge-link migration that enable seamless rehoming of an edge link to a different internal router in an ISP backbone network—completely transparent to the router in the neighboring domain. We present an optimization framework for traffic engineering with migration and develop algorithms that determine which edge links should migrate, where they should go, and how often
    they should move. Our experiments with Internet2 traffic and topology data show that edge-link migration allows the network to carry 18.8% more traffic (at the same level of performance) over optimizing routing alone.
    Telefonica Research
  • Craig A. Shue, Andrew J. Kalafut, Mark Allman, Curtis R. Taylor

    There are many deployed approaches for blocking unwanted traffic, either once it reaches the recipient's network, or closer to its point of origin. One of these schemes is based on the notion of traffic carrying capabilities that grant access to a network and/or end host. However, leveraging capabilities results in added complexity and additional steps in the communication process: Before communication starts a remote host must be vetted and given a capability to use in the subsequent communication. In this paper, we propose a lightweight mechanism that turns the answers provided by DNS name resolution - which Internet communication broadly depends on anyway - into capabilities. While not achieving an ideal capability system, we show the mechanism can be built from commodity technology and is therefore a pragmatic way to gain some of the key benefits of capabilities without requiring new infrastructure.

    Stefan Saroiu
  • Yingdi Yu, Duane Wessels, Matt Larson, Lixia Zhang

    Operators of high-profile DNS zones utilize multiple authority servers for performance and robustness. We conducted a series of trace-driven measurements to understand how current caching resolver implementations distribute queries among a set of authority servers. Our results reveal areas for improvement in the ``apparently sound'' server selection schemes used by some popular implementations. In some cases, the selection schemes lead to sub-optimal behavior of caching resolvers, e.g. sending a significant amount of queries to unresponsive servers. We believe that most of these issues are caused by careless implementations, such as keeping decreasing a server's SRTT after the server has been selected, treating unresponsive servers as responsive ones, and using constant SRTT decaying factor. For the problems identified in this work, we recommended corresponding solutions.

    Renata Teixeira
  • Benoit Donnet, Matthew Luckie, Pascal Mérindol, Jean-Jacques Pansiot

    Operators have deployed Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) in the Internet for over a decade. However, its impact on Internet topology measurements is not well known, and it is possible for some MPLS configurations to lead to false router-level links in maps derived from traceroute data. In this paper, we introduce a measurement-based classification of MPLS tunnels, identifying tunnels where IP hops are revealed but not explicitly tagged as label switching routers, as well as tunnels that obscure the underlying path. Using a large-scale dataset we collected, we show that paths frequently cross MPLS tunnels in today's Internet: in our data, at least 30% of the paths we tested traverse an MPLS tunnel. We also propose and evaluate several methods to reveal MPLS tunnels that are not explicitly flagged as such: we discover that their fraction is significant (up to half the explicit tunnel quantity) but most of them do not obscure IP-level topology discovery.

    Yin Zhang
  • Hamed Haddadi, Richard Mortier, Steven Hand

    People everywhere are generating ever-increasing amounts of data, often without being fully aware of who is recording what about them. For example, initiatives such as mandated smart metering, expected to be widely deployed in the UK in the next few years and already attempted in countries such as the Netherlands, will generate vast quantities of detailed, personal data about huge segments of the population. Neither the impact nor the potential of this society-wide data gathering are well understood. Once data is gathered, it will be processed -- and society is only now beginning to grapple with the consequences for privacy, both legal and ethical, of these actions, e.g., Brown et al. There is the potential for great harm through, e.g., invasion of privacy; but also the potential for great benefits by using this data to make more efficient use of resources, as well as releasing its vast economic potential. In this editorial we briefly discuss work in this area, the challenges still faced, and some potential avenues for addressing them.

  • Martin Arlitt

    Time tends to pass more quickly than we would like. Sometimes it is helpful to reflect on what you have accomplished, and to derive what you have learned from the experiences. These "lessons learned" may then be leveraged by yourself or others in the future. Occasionally, an external event will motivate this self reflection. For me, it was the 50th anniversary reunion of the St. Walburg Eagles, held in July 2011. The Eagles are a full-contact (ice) hockey team I played with between 1988 and 1996 (the Eagles ceased operations twice during this period, which limited me to four seasons playing with them), while attending university. What would I tell my friends and former teammates that I had been doing for the past 15 years? After some thought, I realized that my time as an Eagle had prepared me for a research career, in ways I would never have imagined. This article (an extended version with color photos is available in [1]) shares some of these similarities, to motivate others to reflect on their own careers and achievements, and perhaps make proactive changes as a result.

  • Jon Crowcroft

    The Internet is not a Universal service, but then neither is democracy. So should the Internet be viewed as a right? It's certainly sometimes wrong. In this brief article, we depend on the Internet to reach our readers, and we hope that they don't object our doing that.

  • Charles Kalmanek

    It has become a truism that innovation in the information and communications technology (ICT) fields is occurring faster than ever before. This paper posits that successful innovation requires three essential elements: a need, know-how or knowledge, and favorable economics. The paper examines this proposition by considering three technical areas in which there has been significant innovation in recent years: server virtualization and the cloud, mobile application optimization, and mobile speech services. An understanding of the elements that contribute to successful innovation is valuable to anyone that does either fundamental or applied research in fields of information and communication technology.

  • kc claffy

    The second Workshop on Internet Economics [2], hosted by CAIDA and Georgia Institute of Technology on December 1-2, 2011, brought together network technology and policy researchers with providers of commercial Internet facilities and services (network operators) to further explore the common objective of framing an agenda for the emerging but empirically stunted field of Internet infrastructure economics. This report describes the workshop discussions and presents relevant open research questions identified by its participants.

  • S. Keshav

    I'd like to devote this editorial to a description of the process we use to select and publish papers submitted to CCR. CCR publishes two types of papers: technical papers and editorials.  I'll first describe the process for technical papers then for editorials.

    Technical papers are submitted to the CCR online website (currently at which runs a modified version of Eddie Kohler's HOTCRP system. Authors are required to submit a paper in the standard SIGCOMM format with subject classifiers and keywords required by the ACM Digital Library. We restrict technical papers to six pages for two reasons. First, it prevents rejected conference papers from being trivially resubmitted to CCR. Second, it limits the load on area editors and reviewers, which is important given the quick turnaround we'd like for CCR. Some papers do need more than six pages. If so, authors should write to me and, if I find their argument convincing, I usually grant the request immediately. I also add a note to the online system so that Area Editors do not reject the paper for being over-length.
    Once a paper is in the system, I assign it to an Area Editor for review. If I have free time, I do this immediately after paper submission. If I'm backed up, which is true more often than I'd like, this happens in the week following the quarterly submission deadlines of March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1. Area Editors are given seven weeks to obtain up to five reviews. Most papers receive comments from at least three reviewers but papers that are clearly not acceptable may be rejected with a single review.
    Reviewers judge papers along three axes: timeliness, clarity, and novelty; the range of scores is from one to five. Reviewers also summarize the contribution of the paper and provide detailed comments to improve paper quality. Finally, each reviewer suggests a potential paper outcome: accept, revise-and-resubmit, or reject. CCR's goal is to accept high-quality papers that are both novel and timely. Technical accuracy is necessary, of course, but we do not require papers to be as thorough in their evaluation as a flagship conference or a journal.
    Reviewers use the CCR online system to submit their reviews. After finalizing their own review, they are permitted to read other reviews and, if they wish, update their review. This tends to dampen outliers in review scores.
    Authors are automatically informed when each review is finalized and are permitted to rebut the review online. Some authors immediately rebut each review; other wait for all their reviews before responding. Authors typically respond to reviews with painstakinglydetailed responses; it is truly remarkable to see how carefully each reviewer criticism is considered in these responses! Author rebuttals are viewable both by reviewers and the assigned Area Editor. Although reviewers are free to comment on the rebuttals or even modify their reviews based on the rebuttal, this option is seldom exercised.
    After seven to eight weeks it is time for Area Editors to make editorial decisions. The Area Editor reads the paper, its reviews, and the author rebuttals and decides whether the paper is to be rejected, accepted, or revised and resubmitted. The decision is entered as a comment to the paper. This decision may or may not be signed by the Area Editor, as they wish.
    If the paper is rejected, I send a formal rejection letter to the authors and the paper is put to rest. If the paper is accepted and the revisions are minor, then the authors are asked to prepare the camera-ready copy and upload it to the publisher's website for publication. On the other hand, if the revisions are major, then the Area Editor typically asks the authors to revise the paper for re-review before the author is allowed to generate camera-ready copy. In either case, the Area Editor writes a public review for publication with the paper.
    Revise-and-resubmit decisions can be tricky. If the revisions are minor and the authors can turn things around, they are allowed to resubmit the paper for review in the same review cycle. This needs my careful attention to ensure that the authors and the Area Editor are moving things along in time for publication. Major revisions are usually submitted to the next issue. I try to ensure that the paper is sent back for re-review by the same Area Editor (in some cases, this may happen after the Area Editor has stepped off the Editorial Board).
    Editorials are handled rather differently: I read and approve editorials myself. If I approve the editorial, it is published, and if it is not, I send authors a non-anonymous review telling them why I rejected the paper. I judge editorials for timeliness, breadth, potential for controversy, and whether they instructive. As a rule, however, given the role of CCR as a newsletter, all reports on conferences and workshops are automatically accepted; this is an easy way for you to pile up your CCR publications.
    About a month and half before the issue publication date, we have a full set of papers approved for publication. My admin assistant, the indefatigable Gail Chopiak, uses this list to prepare a Table of Contents to send to Lisa Tolles, our contact with the ACM-Sheridan service, Sheridan Printing Co. Lisa contacts authors with a URL where they upload their camera-ready papers. Lisa and her associates works individually with authors to make sure that their papers meets CCR and ACM publication standards. When all is in order, the issue is composited and the overall PDF is ready.
    At this point, I am sent the draft issue to suggest minor changes, such as in paper ordering, or in the choice of advertisements that go into the issue. I also approve any changes to the masthead and the boilerplate that goes in the inside front and back covers. Once the PDFs are finalized, the SIGCOMM online editor uploads these PDFs to the ACM Digital Library for CCR Online. Finally, the issue is sent to print and, after about a month or so, it is mailed to SIGCOMM members.
    I hope this glimpse into the publication process helps you understand the roles played by the Area Editors, the reviewers, Sheridan staff, the SIGCOMM online editor, and myself, in bringing each issue to you. My sincere thanks to everyone who volunteers their valuable time to make CCR one of the best and also one of the bestread newsletters in ACM!
  • Partha Kanuparthy, Constantine Dovrolis, Konstantina Papagiannaki, Srinivasan Seshan, Peter Steenkiste

    Common Wireless LAN (WLAN) pathologies include low signal-to-noise ratio, congestion, hidden terminals or interference from non-802.11 devices and phenomena. Prior work has focused on the detection and diagnosis of such problems using layer-2 information from 802.11 devices and special purpose access points and monitors, which may not be generally available. Here, we investigate a user-level approach: is it possible to detect and diagnose 802.11 pathologies with strictly user-level active probing, without any cooperation from, and without any visibility in, layer-2 devices? In this paper, we present preliminary but promising results indicating that such diagnostics are feasible.

    Renata Teixeira
  • Nadi Sarrar, Steve Uhlig, Anja Feldmann, Rob Sherwood, Xin Huang

    Internet traffic has Zipf-like properties at multiple aggregation levels. These properties suggest the possibility of offloading most of the traffic from a complex controller (e.g., a software router) to a simple forwarder (e.g., a commodity switch), by letting the forwarder handle a very limited set of flows; the heavy hitters. As the volume of traffic from a set of flows is highly dynamic, maintaining a reliable set of heavy hitters over time is challenging. This is especially true when we face a volume limit in the non-offloaded traffic in combination with a constraint in the size of the heavy hitter set or its rate of change. We propose a set selection strategy that takes advantage of the properties of heavy hitters at different time scales. Based on real Internet traffic traces, we show that our strategy is able to offload most of the traffic while limiting the rate of change of the heavy hitter set, suggesting the feasibility of alternative router designs.

    Jia Wang
  • Thomas Bonald, James W. Roberts

    We demonstrate that the Internet has a formula linking demand, capacity and performance that in many ways is the analogue of the Erlang loss formula of telephony. Surprisingly, this formula is none other than the Erlang delay formula. It provides an upper bound on the probability a flow of given peak rate suffers degradation when bandwidth sharing is max-min fair. Apart from the flow rate, the only relevant parameters are link capacity and overall demand. We explain why this result is valid under a very general and realistic traffic model and discuss its significance for network engineering.

    Augustin Chaintreau
  • Alberto Dainotti, Roman Amman, Emile Aben, Kimberly C. Claffy

    Unsolicited one-way Internet traffic, also called Internet background radiation (IBR), has been used for years to study malicious activity on the Internet, including worms, DoS attacks, and scanning address space looking for vulnerabilities to exploit. We show how such traffic can also be used to analyze macroscopic Internet events that are unrelated to malware. We examine two phenomena: country-level censorship of Internet communications described in recent work, and natural disasters (two recent earthquakes). We introduce a new metric of local IBR activity based on the number of unique IP addresses per hour contributing to IBR. The advantage of this metric is that it is not affected by bursts of traffic from a few hosts. Although we have only scratched the surface, we are convinced that IBR traffic is an important building block for comprehensive monitoring, analysis, and possibly even detection of events unrelated to the IBR itself. In particular, IBR offers the opportunity to monitor the impact of events such as natural disasters on network infrastructure, and in particular reveals a view of events that is complementary to many existing measurement platforms based on (BGP) control-plane views or targeted active ICMP probing.

    Sharad Agarwal
  • Phillipa Gill, Michael Schapira, Sharon Goldberg

    Researchers studying the interdomain routing system, its properties and new protocols, face many challenges in performing realistic evaluations and simulations. Modeling decisions with respect to AS-level topology, routing policies and traffic matrices are complicated by a scarcity of ground truth for each of these components. Moreover, scalability issues arise when attempting to simulate over large (although still incomplete) empirically-derived AS-level topologies. In this paper, we discuss our approach for analyzing the robustness of our results to incomplete empirical data. We do this by (1) developing fast simulation algorithms that enable us to (2) running multiple simulations with varied parameters that test the sensitivity of our research results.

    Yin Zhang
  • Francesco Fusco, Xenofontas Dimitropoulos, Michail Vlachos, Luca Deri

    Long-term historical analysis of captured network traffic is a topic of great interest in network monitoring and network security. A critical requirement is the support for fast discovery of packets that satisfy certain criteria within large-scale packet repositories. This work presents the first indexing scheme for network packet traces based on compressed bitmap indexing principles. Our approach supports very fast insertion rates and results in compact index sizes. The proposed indexing methodology builds upon libpcap, the de-facto reference library for accessing packet-trace repositories. Our solution is therefore backward compatible with any solution that uses the original library. We experience impressive speedups on packet-trace search operations: our experiments suggest that the index-enabled libpcap may reduce the packet retrieval time by more than 1100 times.

    Philip Levis
  • Murtaza Motiwala, Amogh Dhamdhere, Nick Feamster, Anukool Lakhina

    We develop a holistic cost model that operators can use to help evaluate the costs of various routing and peering decisions. Using real traffic data from a large carrier network, we show how network operators can use this cost model to significantly reduce the cost of carrying traffic in their networks. We find that adjusting the routing for a small fraction of total flows (and total traffic volume) significantly reduces cost in many cases. We also show how operators can use the cost model both to evaluate potential peering arrangements and for other network operations problems.

    Augustin Chaintreau
  • Maxim Podlesny, Carey Williamson

    ADSL and cable connections are the prevalent technologies available from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for residential Internet access. Asymmetric access technologies such as these offer high download capacity, but moderate upload capacity. When the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is used on such access networks, performance degradation can occur. In particular, sharing a bottleneck link with different upstream and downstream capacities among competing TCP flows in opposite directions can degrade the throughput of the higher speed link. Despite many research efforts to solve this problem in the past, there is no solution that is both highly effective and easily deployable in residential networks. In this paper, we propose an Asymmetric Queueing (AQ) mechanism that enables full utilization of the bottleneck access link in residential networks with asymmetric capacities. The extensive simulation evaluation of our design shows its effectiveness and robustness in a variety of network conditions. Furthermore, our solution is easy to deploy and configure in residential networks.

    Renata Teixeira
  • Yoo Chung

    Distributed denial of service attacks are often considered just a security problem. While this may be the way to view the problem with the Internet of today, perhaps new network architectures attempting to address the issue should view it as a scalability problem. In addition, they may need to approach the problem based on a rigorous foundation.

  • Jonathon Duerig, Robert Ricci, Leigh Stoller, Matt Strum, Gary Wong, Charles Carpenter, Zongming Fei, James Griffioen, Hussamuddin Nasir, Jeremy Reed, Xiongqi Wu
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