Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Application Domains

Home network diagnosis

With the availability of cheap broadband connectivity, Internet access from the home has become a ubiquity. Modern households host a multitude of networked devices, ranging from personal devices such as laptops and smartphones to printers and media centers. These devices connect among themselves and to the Internet via a local-area network–a home network–that has become an important part of the “Internet experience”. In fact, ample anecdotal evidence suggests that the home network can cause a wide array of connectivity impediments, but their nature, prevalence, and significance remain largely unstudied.

Our long-term goal is to assist users with concrete indicators of the quality of their Internet access, causes of potential problems and–ideally–ways to fix them. We intend to develop a set of easy-to-use home network monitoring and diagnosis tools. The development of home network monitoring and diagnosis tools brings a number of challenges. First, home networks are heterogeneous. The set of devices, configurations, and applications in home networks vary significantly from one home to another. We must develop sophisticated techniques that can learn and adapt to any home network as well as to the level of expertise of the user. Second, Internet application and services are also heterogeneous with very diverse network requirements. We must develop methods that can infer application quality solely from the observation of (often encrypted) application network traffic. There are numerous ways in which applications can fail or experience poor performance in home networks. Often there are a number of explanations for a given symptom. We must devise techniques that can identify the most likely cause(s) for a given problem from a set of possible causes. Finally, even if we can identify the cause of the problem, we must then be able to identify a solution. It is important that the output of the diagnosis tools we build is “actionable”. Users should understand the output and know what to do.

In our patternship with Princeton University (associate team HOMENET) we have deployed monitoring infrastructure within users’ homes. We are developing a mostly passive measurement system to monitor the performance of user applications, which we call Network Microscope. We are developing Network Microscope to run in a box acting as home gateway. We have deployed these boxes in  50 homes in the US and  10 in France. The US deployment was ran and financed by the Wall Street Journal. They were interested in understanding the relationship between Internet access speed and video quality. We have been discussing with Internet regulators (in particular, FCC, ACERP, and BEREC) as well as residential access ISP in how Network Microscope can help overcome the shortcomings of existing Internet quality monitoring systems.