A measurement experimentation platform at the Internet’s edge

Mario A. Sánchez*, John S. Otto*, Zachary S. Bischof*, David R. Choffnes†, Fabián E. Bustamante*, Balachander Krishnamurthy‡ and Walter Willinger^.
(*) Northwestern University (†) Northeastern University (‡) AT&T Research Lab (^) Niksun, Inc


Poor visibility into the network hampers progress in a number of important research areas, from network troubleshooting to Internet topology and performance mapping. This persistent, well-known problem has served as motivation for numerous proposals to build or extend existing Internet measurement platforms by recruiting larger, more diverse vantage points. Capturing the edge of the network, however, remains an elusive goal.

We argue that at its root the problem is one of incentives. Today's measurement platforms build on the assumption that the goals of experimenters and those hosting the platform are the same. As much of the Internet growth occurs in residential broadband networks, this assumption no longer holds.

We present a measurement experimentation platform that reaches the network edge by explicitly aligning the objectives of the experimenters with those of the users hosting the platform. Dasu -- our current prototype -- is designed to support both network measurement experimentation and broadband characterization. Dasu has been publicly available since July 2010 and is currently in use by over 100K users with a heterogeneous set of connections spreading across 2,431 networks and 166 countries. We discuss some of the challenges we faced building and using a platform for the Internet's edge, describe its design and implementation, and illustrate the unique perspective its current deployment brings to Internet measurement.