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Crowdsourcing Network Monitoring

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Network anomalies that significantly reduce end-to-end performance are some of the most notable of the Internet’s growing pains. Router misconfigurations, power outages, fiber cuts and slow convergence of interdomain routing are just a few of the problems causing end-to-end path disruptions. Despite their importance to network operators and users, determining the existence and impact of such network problems remains a challenge. In this talk, I will present a participatory approach to detecting, isolating and reporting network anomalies and describe its realization in NEWS – the Network Early Warning System. Our approach is motivated by the observation that, collectively, peers in large-scale peer-to-peer systems provide a unique and important perspective on network conditions – one to which today’s researchers, network operators and individual users have limited or no access. Our solution relies on passive monitoring of the natural P2P traffic to efficiently collect views of network performance and uses corroboration to confidently detect anomalies. NEWS is currently available as a plugin for the popular Vuze BitTorrent client and has been installed in over 28,000 hosts since its release in March 2008.

Bio: Fabián Bustamante is an associate professor in the EECS Department at Northwestern University. He joined Northwestern in 2002, after receiving his M.S. and Ph.D. from the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. Fabián is a recipient of the US National Science Foundation CAREER award and the E.T.S. Watson Fellowship Award from the Science Foundation of Ireland. He is the head of the AquaLab group, which researches systems issues in large-scale distributed computing. For more detailed information and a list of publications, please visit:

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar series.

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