Verifiable Network-Performance Measurements

Katerina Argyraki, Network Researcher, EPFL Switzerland


In the current Internet, there is no clean way to troubleshoot poor forwarding performance: when an Internet service provider (ISP) does not forward traffic as agreed/expected, its customers and peers resort to ad-hoc probing to localize and assess the problem. Research proposals advocate end-to-end measurements from different vantage points (e.g., PlanetLab nodes) as a way to forcefully extract information on an ISP’s performance without any involvement from the ISP itself. I will argue that it is time to consider a different approach, where ISPs willingly contribute information on their performance, albeit in a way that forces them to tell the truth. I will present Network Confessional, a system, and protocol that enables ISPs to disclose accurate information on their forwarding performance. This information is verifiable — ISPs cannot manipulate it to significantly exaggerate their performance — and independently tunable — each ISP is free to choose its own trade-off between the accuracy of its performance estimates and the resources it devotes to this purpose. Network Confessional requires deploying modest functionality at participating domains’ border routers; I will show that required resources are well within the capabilities of modern networks and can be implemented using today’s hardware.


Katerina Argyraki is a network researcher at EPFL, Switzerland, where she works on programmable networks and techniques for network troubleshooting. She received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2007. Her graduate-student years were divided between Stanford’s Distributed Systems Group, where she worked on defenses against denial-of-service attacks, and various startups — Kealia (now part of Sun), BlueArc, and Arista Networks.