Overall Objectives
Research Program
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Service Transparency

From Network-level Measurements to Expected QoE: the Skype Use Case

Participants: Thierry Spetebroot, Nicolas Aguilera, Damien Saucez and Chadi Barakat.

Modern Internet applications rely on rich multimedia contents making the quality of experience (QoE) of end users sensitive to network conditions. Several models were developed in the literature to express QoE as a function of measurements carried out on the traffic of the applications themselves. In this contribution, we propose a new methodology based on machine learning able to link expected QoE to network and device level measurements outside the applications’ traffic. This direct linking to network and device level measurements is important for the prediction of QoE. We prove the feasibility of the approach in the context of Skype. In particular, we derive and validate a model to predict the Skype QoE as a function of easily measurable network performance metrics. One can see our methodology as a new way of performing measurements in the Internet, where instead of expressing the expected performance in terms of network and device level measurements that only specialists can understand, we express performance in clear terms related to expected quality of experience for different applications. More details on this approach and on our application ACQUA can be found in section 6.1 , in the paper summarizing the results [16] and on the application web page .

Towards a General Solution for Detecting Traffic Differentiation at the Internet Access

Participants: Ricardo Ravaioli and Chadi Barakat.

In recent years network neutrality has been widely debated from both technical and economic points of view. Various cases of traffic differentiation at the Internet access have been reported throughout the last decade, in particular aimed at bandwidth consuming traffic flows. In this contribution we present a novel application-agnostic method for the detection of traffic differentiation, through which we are able to correctly identify where a shaper is located with respect to the user and evaluate whether it affected delays, packet losses or both. The tool we propose, ChkDiff, replays the user’s own traffic in order to target routers at the first few hops from the user. By comparing the resulting flow delays and losses to the same router against one other, and analyzing the behaviour on the immediate router topology spawning from the user end-point, ChkDiff manages to detect instances of traffic shaping. This contribution is published in [15] where we provide a detailed description of the design of the tool for the case of upstream traffic, the technical issues it overcomes and a validation in controlled scenarios. It is the result of collaboration with the SIGNET group at I3S in the context of a PhD thesis funded by the UCN@SOPHIA Labex.

A Diagnostic Tool for Content-Centric Networks

Participant: Thierry Turletti

In collaboration with our colleagues at NICT, Japan, we have proposed the Contrace tool for Measuring and Tracing Content-Centric Networks (CCNs). CCNs are fundamental evolutionary technologies that promise to form the cornerstone of the future Internet. The information flow in these networks is based on named data requesting, in-network caching, and forwarding – which are unique and can be independent of IP routing. As a result, common IP-based network tools such as ping and traceroute can neither trace a forwarding path in CCNs nor feasibly evaluate CCN performance. We designed "contrace," a network tool for CCNs (particularly, CCNx implementation running on top of IP) that can be used to investigate 1) the Round-Trip Time (RTT) between content forwarder and consumer, 2) the states of in-network cache per name prefix, and 3) the forwarding path information per name prefix. We report a series of experiments conducted using contrace on a CCN topology created on a local testbed and the GEANT network topology emulated by the Mini-CCNx emulator. The results confirm that contrace is not only a useful tool for monitoring and operating a network, but also a helpful analysis tool for enhancing the design of CCNs. Further, contrace can report the number of received interests per cache or per chunk on the forwarding routers. This enables us to estimate the content popularity and design more effective cache control mechanisms in experimental networks (see our publication in the IEEE Communication Magazine [9] ).

An efficient packet extraction tool for large experimentation traces

Participants: Thierry Turletti and Walid Dabbous

Network packet tracing has been used for many different purposes during the last few decades, such as network software debugging, networking performance analysis, forensic investigation, and so on. Meanwhile, the size of packet traces becomes larger, as the speed of network rapidly increases. Thus, to handle huge amounts of traces, we need not only more hardware resources, but also efficient software tools. However, traditional tools are inefficient at dealing with such big packet traces. In this work, we propose pcapWT, an efficient packet extraction tool for large traces. PcapWT provides fast packet lookup by indexing an original trace using a Wavelet Tree structure. In addition, it supports multi-threading for avoiding synchronous I/O and blocking system calls used for file processing, and it is particularly efficient on machines with SSD disks. PcapWT shows remarkable performance enhancements in comparison with traditional tools such as tcpdump and most recent tools such as pcapIndex in terms of index data size and packet extraction time. Our benchmark using large and complex traces shows that pcapWT reduces the index data size down below 1% of the volume of the original traces. Moreover, packet extraction performance is 20% better than with pcapIndex. Furthermore, when a small amount of packets are retrieved, pcapWT is hundreds of times faster than tcpdump. This work has been done in collaboration with our colleagues at Universidad Diego Portales (UDP) and Universidad de Chile and has been published in the Computer Networks journal [10] .

Social Clicks: What and Who Gets Read on Twitter?

Participants: Maksym Gabielkov and Arnaud Legout

Online news domains increasingly rely on social media to drive traffic to their website. Yet we know surprisingly little about how social media conversation mentioning an online article actually generates a click to it. Posting behaviors, in contrast, have been fully or partially available and scrutinized over the years. While this has led to multiple assumptions on the diffusion of information, each were designed or validated while ignoring this important step. We made a large scale, validated and reproducible study of social clicks, that is also the first data of its kind, gathering a month of web visits to online resources that are located in 5 leading news domains and that are mentioned in the third largest social media by web referral (Twitter). Our dataset amounts to 2.8 million posts, together responsible for 75 billion potential views on this social media, and 9.6 million actual clicks to 59,088 unique resources. We design a reproducible methodology, carefully corrected its biases, enabling data sharing, future collection and validation. As we prove, properties of clicks and social media Click-Through-Rates (CTR) impact multiple aspects of information diffusion, all previously unknown. Secondary resources, that are not promoted through headlines and are responsible for the long tail of content popularity, generate more clicks both in absolute and relative terms. Social media attention is actually long-lived, in contrast with temporal evolution estimated from posts or impressions. The actual influence of an intermediary or a resource is poorly predicted by their posting behavior, but we show how that prediction can be made more precise. The results are reported in an article under submission, no report available yet.

ReCon: Revealing and Controlling PII Leaks in Mobile Network Traffic

Participant: Arnaud Legout

It is well known that apps running on mobile devices extensively track and leak users' personally identifiable information (PII); however, these users have little visibility into PII leaked through the network traffic generated by their devices, and have poor control over how, when and where that traffic is sent and handled by third parties. In this work, we present the design, implementation, and evaluation of ReCon: a cross-platform system that reveals PII leaks and gives users control over them without requiring any special privileges or custom OSes. ReCon leverages machine learning to reveal potential PII leaks by inspecting network traffic, and provides a visualization tool to empower users with the ability to control these leaks via blocking or substitution of PII. We evaluate ReCon's effectiveness with measurements from controlled experiments using leaks from the 100 most popular iOS, Android, and Windows Phone apps, and via an user study with 92 participants. In this study, that was approved by the Inria Ethical Board (COERELE), we show that ReCon is accurate, efficient, and identifies a wider range of PII than previous approaches. The results are reported in an article under submission, no report available yet.