SoNIC: Precise Realtime Software Access and Control of Wired Networks

Hakim Weatherspoon, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science
at Cornell University


Hakim Weatherspoon

The physical and data link layers of the network stack contain valuable information. Unfortunately, a systems programmer would never know. These two layers are often inaccessible in software and much of their potential goes untapped. In this talk, I will introduce SoNIC, Software-defined Network Interface Card, which provides access to the physical and data link layers in software. By implementing the creation of the bitstream in software and the transmission of the bitstream in hardware, SoNIC provides complete control over the entire network stack in realtime. As an example of SoNIC’s fine-granularity control, it can perform precise network measurements (in realtime) at the pico-second scale, accurately characterizing network components such as routers, switches, and network interface cards. Further, SoNIC enables timing channels with nano-second modulations that are undetectable in software.


Hakim Weatherspoon is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University. His research interests cover various aspects of fault-tolerance, reliability, security, and performance of large Internet-scale systems such as cloud computing and distributed systems. Professor Weatherspoon received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and B.S. from the University of Washington. He is an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and recipient of an NSF CAREER award, DARPA Computer Science Study Panel (CSSP), IBM Faculty Award, the NetApp Faculty Fellowship, Intel Early Career Faculty Honor, and the Future Internet Architecture award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).