Network Operations and Internet Security @ UChicago

Leave a comment

“SDX: A Software Defined Internet Exchange Point” to Appear at SIGCOMM 2014

A paper on SDX will appear at SIGCOMM 2014 in August 2014.  Read more about the SDX project here.

SDX: A Software Defined Internet Exchange

Arpit Gupta (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Laurent Vanbever (Princeton University)
Muhammad Shahbaz (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Sean P. Donovan (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Brandon Schlinker (University of Southern California)
Nick Feamster (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Jennifer Rexford (Princeton University)
Scott Shenker (UC Berkeley)
Russ Clark (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Ethan Katz-Bassett (University of Southern California)


BGP severely constrains how networks can deliver traffic over the Internet. Today’s networks can only forward traffic based on the destination IP prefix, by selecting among routes offered by their immediate neighbors. We believe Software Defined Networking (SDN) could revolutionize wide- area traffic delivery, by offering direct control over packet- processing rules that match on multiple header fields and perform a variety of actions. Internet eXchange Points (IXPs) are a compelling place to start, given their central role in interconnecting many networks and their growing importance in bringing popular content closer to end users. To realize a Software Defined IXP (an “SDX”), we must create compelling applications, such as “application-specific peering”—where two networks peer only for (say) streaming video traffic. We also need new programming abstractions that allow participating networks to create and run these applications and a runtime that both behaves correctly when interacting with BGP and ensures that applications do not interfere with each other. Finally, we must ensure that the system scales, both in rule-table size and computational overhead. In this paper, we tackle these challenges and demonstrate the flexibility and scalability of our solutions through controlled and in-the-wild experiments. Our experiments demonstrate that our SDX implementation can implement representative policies for hundreds of participants who advertise full routing tables while achieving sub-second convergence in response to configuration changes and routing updates.

Leave a comment

GT Noise Wins Departmental Awards

The lab was well represented at this year’s departmental awards: Russ Clark, Muhammad Shahbaz, and Sathya Gunasekaran all took home awards for their stellar work over the past year:

Russ Clark won the outstanding research scientist award.

Russ was nominated by people: Ron Hutchins, Beth Mynatt, and Nick Feamster.  Here is the text from the letters that was read at the ceremony:

Ron: “Russ is a person who gets things done. He is very much in demand as a partner for research in the new Software Defined Networking area.  He has successfully brought funding to GT that has shown GT as one of the top 5 universities in the country in this area.”

Beth: “Russ is a terrific research scientist in SCS and a highly valued colleague. His knowledge and ability to engage external industry partners is highly valued by me and others and has resulted in multiple sustained partnerships across a spectrum of topics.”

Nick: “Russ brings tremendous operational, practical experience to the research projects that he and I work on together—a practical viewpoint that has benefitted both my and my students’ research tremendously.  He provides the necessary gap between research and operations that today’s networking and system research desperately needs to be successful.”

Muhammad Shahbaz won the TA award for his work on the Coursera SDN MOOC.

Here is the text from Prof. Feamster’s letter that was read at the ceremony:

“I have found Shahbaz incredibly enthusiastic and diligent about teaching. I observed the incredibly long hours he dedicated to the Coursera MOOC—even though he received no official TA credit. His efforts were largely responsible for the success of the course’s assignments, which were successfully completed by nearly 4,000 students.  I also observed him enthusiastically and diligently answer questions from thousands of students. Everything he did as a TA, from designing assignments and quizzes to answering student’s questions and explaining concepts to smaller groups of students, was of the highest quality.”

Sathya Sunasekaran won the Donald V. Jackson fellowship for his work on Censorscope.

Here’s the text from Prof. Feamster’s letter that was read at the ceremony:

“Sathya is one of the most industrious and creative Masters students whom I have worked with at Georgia Tech.  He has a strong work ethic and, in a very short time, has gotten up to speed on a complex project on censorship and has even begun to take a leadership role on the project he is working on.”

Leave a comment

BISmark Paper to appear at USENIX Technical Conference

A paper describing the design, implementation, and deployment of BISmark, the testbed that we have built to measure and characterize home networks will appear at the USENIX Annual Technical Conference (ATC) in June.  The BISmark project began nearly four years ago as part of an effort to measure the performance of broadband access networks.  Since then, the platform has matured and now supports a variety of experiments and systems, including algorithms to characterize  home wireless networks to systems that accelerate Web performance.  We are also actively supporting experiments from other research groups as well as other deployments (e.g., the PAWS project in Cambridge).

The BISmark project page has more information on the project (including past papers and project contributors), and a pre-print of the BISmark paper, to appear in June 2014, is available here.

BISmark: A Testbed for Deploying Measurements and Applications in Broadband Access Networks

Srikanth Sundaresan, Sam Burnett, Nick Feamster
School of Computer Science, Georgia Tech

Walter de Donato
University of Napoli “Federico II”

BISmark (Broadband Internet Service Benchmark) is a deployment of home routers running custom software, and backend infrastructure to manage experiments and collect measurements. The project began in 2010 as an attempt to better understand the characteristics of broadband access networks. We have since deployed BISmark routers in hundreds of home networks in about thirty coun- tries. BISmark is currently used and shared by researchers at nine institutions, including commercial Internet service providers, and has enabled studies of access link performance, network connectivity, Web page load times, and user behavior and activity. Research using BISmark and its data has informed both technical and policy research. This paper describes and revisits design choices we made during the platform’s evolution and lessons we have learned from the deployment effort thus far. We also explain how BISmark enables experimentation, and our efforts to make it available to the networking community.