Building a digital user guardian
The Internet is now considered by many to be a utility infrastructure that is as essential to modern society and the economy as other utilities such as the electricity grid and national transport systems. However, in contrast to these traditional networks the evolution of the Internet is not under any one person's or organisation's control. Furthermore, the telecommunications infrastructure that enables the Internet is a complex web of different inter-operating equipment, which belong to many different service providers. The resulting complexity means that behaviour or use of the Internet cannot be reliably predicted.
The decentralised nature of the Internet is a key reason for its success, but also the cause of significant problems. Because the telecommunications network offers basic connectivity between two points it is hard to predict what is happening in the network. As a result the responsibility falls to network users via their software applications to determine how the network is performing. This becomes more complicated as the number of service providers needed to transmit signals between two points increases.
High-speed broadband accelerates opportunities offered by the Internet but also compounds the seriousness of problems arising from incomplete information about how the network is performing. These issues will not only be technical but will also impact on regulatory, legal, policy and privacy concerns. For example a network fault may have serious consequences raising many questions including how end users can independently verify that the service received by their Internet service provider is meeting their contractual obligations with the end user.
This seed-funded project has tested the infrastructure requirements to support a future digital user guardian including IP traffic measurement and developed Linux kernel extensions to support synchronisation, based on RADclock, a critical element of measurement tools.
This project was completed in July 2011.
|Julien Ridoux, Darryl Veitch, Lele Zhang, Paul Tune, Matthew Davis||Electrical & Electronic Engineering|
PhD Candidate | Computing & Information Systems
This PhD project supports the work of the Digital User Guardian by using Peer-to-Peer technologies to develop and deploy cost-effective network monitoring sensors. Each sensor, working as a software agent, will collect information about the connectivity of the network. By aggregating the information received from these sensors, a big picture of network performance is generating, providing valuable data to those involved in managing the network. The development of this technology provides the seed for a larger monitoring public service that would assist all stakeholders, including end users, to understand, control and efficiently use the NBN.
J Ridoux, D Veitch, T Broomhead 'The Case for Feed-Forward Clock Synchronization' IEEE/ACM Transations on Networking 20(1) 231-42 February 2012
P Tune, D Veitch 'Fisher Information in Flow Size Distribution Esitmation' IEEE Transactions on Information Theory 57(10) 7011-35 October 2011
discusses the need for reliable timing on the Internet in Melbourne University Staff & Students News