Mark Allman / ICSI @mallman_icsi

Kirill Levchenko, Amogh Dhamdhere, Bradley Huffaker, kc claffy, Mark Allman, Vern Paxson. PacketLab: A Universal Measurement Endpoint Interface. ACM Internet Measurement Conference, November 2017. To appear.


Gaining access to measurement vantage points is critical to a measurement experiment, and, unfortunately, often the hardest part of conducting one. Because each research group cannot realistically design, deploy, and maintain its own measurement endpoints, those groups that do so often allow other researchers to run experiments on their platform. Unfortunately, the mechanism by which we share access to measurement endpoints is not frictionless; indeed, issues of compatibility, trust, and a lack of incentives get in the way of efficiently sharing measurement infrastructure.

We propose PacketLab, a universal measurement endpoint interface that lowers the barriers faced by experimenters and measurement endpoint operators. PacketLab is built on two key ideas: It moves the measurement logic out of the endpoint to a separate experiment control server, making each endpoint a light-weight packet source/sink. At the same time, it provides a way to delegate access to measurement endpoints while retaining fine-grained control over how one's endpoints are used by others, allowing research groups to share measurement infrastructure with each other with very little overhead. By making the endpoint interface simple, we also make it easier to deploy measurement endpoints on any device anywhere, for any period of time the owner chooses. We offer PacketLab as a candidate measurement interface that can accommodate the the research community's demand for future global-scale Internet measurement.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." --Aristotle