Network Operations and Internet Security @ UChicago

Leave a comment

Study Comparing Fixed and Mobile Broadband in South Africa to Appear at ACM DEV

A study led by Marshini Chetty and Srikanth Sundaresan will appear at the Fourth Annual Symposium on Computing for Development (ACM DEV) this coming December.  The study presents the results of a performance study of fixed and mobile broadband performance from five mobile providers and nine fixed-line providers across all nine provinces in South Africa in 2013.

The study involved the deployment of the BISmark performance measurement software on home routers across the country, as well as a widespread deployment of the MySpeedTest Android cellular performance measurement software.  The paper’s results include the following:

  • Performance consistently underperforms with respect to advertised rates
  • Mobile broadband consistently achieves higher throughput than fixed broadband
  • (Bad) peering can introduce significant latency, introduce fragility in times of failure (e.g., fiber cut).  (See Srikanth and Nick’s blog post for more detailed coverage of this phenomenon.)

We are continuing to collect performance data in South Africa and are in the process of replicating and expanding this study in other countries in Africa.  The plot below shows some summary data of download throughput from ISPs across Africa from May 1 through today (September 18, 2013).  You can explore the data for the fixed-line South African deployment more at BISmark’s Network Dashboard (developed by Alfred Roberts).

ISP Throughput in South Africa

Leave a comment

Sarthak Grover Presents on Home Network Security at Ubicomp Workshop

Sarthak Grover presented a new system built on BISmark for detecting malware in home networks at Ubicomp.  The current system, called Panoptes, tracks DNS lookups from hosts inside a home and compares the DNS lookups against a blacklist on the router.   The system then notifies the user if the DNS lookups suggest the presence of malware on a device in the home.

The system significantly enhances the capabilities of existing systems for providing security in home networks, building on deployed products such as Comcast’s Constant Guard service.  He and Yogesh Mundada are currently working with Comcast on designing an SDN-based system that builds on this design, called SAZO, as part of a larger field deployment.  More to come on SAZO in the future!