Tools and Techniques for Measurement of NetworksComputer Science Department
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609, USA
This page presents tools and techniques for measuring networks that are developed and used by the Congestion Control (CC) research group of the Computer Science Department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The techniques include details on building a host access point and setting up a wireless sniffer while the tools include programs for gathering performance statistics for link, network and application layers. The tools are all open-source software available for download and the techniques all use open-source software and off-the-shelf hardware components. Together, these tools and techniques facilitate network performance analysis across network layers in a flexible, accurate and cost-effective manner.
You might also check out our downloads of data-sets, traces, source code, utilities and multimedia files that have been used in our research.
While sniffers have been widely used to monitor network traffic at the data-link layer and above, most commercial wireless sniffers are costly and are not a flexible open source solution. However, passive sniffing does not interfere with the hosts under test and does not require access to the hosts themselves. Thus sniffers can be used to measure black-box devices such as hand-held game consoles. The document Wireless Sniffing by Example -- How to Build and Use an IEEE 802.11 Wireless Network Sniffer describes how to build and use a basic IEEE 802.11 wireless sniffer from open source software and off-the-shelf wireless networking hardware.
A wireless Host AP uses a Linux PC and off-the-shelf wireless networking hardware working in master mode to provide access point functionality. An end-host wireless client using a commercial AP should be able to transparently associate and use the Host AP, instead. The control of the internal workings of the Host AP allows exploration and understanding of the ramifications of internal AP resource allocation decisions on overall WLAN performance. The document Host AP by Example -- How to Build an IEEE 802.11 Wireless Host Access Point describes how to build an IEEE 802.11 Host AP that is "open" for instrumentation, modification and measurement.
WRAPI+ is a tool to monitor wireless statistics, including received signal strength, transmitted frame count, and failed frame transmissions and acknowledgments on a Windows XP end hosts' IEEE 802.11b/g network device. WRAPI+ was built upon the freely available WRAPI C++ library.
UDP Ping is a customized ping tool using application-layer UDP packets to provide configurable ping intervals and packet sizes. UDP Ping uses a server and a client, where the UDP Ping client writes a sequence number and current timestamp into a UDP packet and sends it to the UDP Ping server which echoes the packet data back to the client. The client then reports the round-trip time and calculates the packet loss rate.
UDP Heartbeat reports one-way delay and packet loss. The UDP Heartbeat sender writes a sequence number and current timestamp in the UDP packet and sends it to the receiver. Upon receiving the packet, the receiver calculates the time difference and reports any missing packets.
UDP Load is a customized throughput tool using application-layer UDP packets to provide a configurable traffic rate from a sender to a receiver. The UDP Load sender sends packets at a customizable size and rate to a UDP Load receiver. client. Every second, the UDP Load receiver reports: packet size, number of packets received and the receiving bandwidth.
WBest is a wireless bandwidth estimation tool designed for applications that requires fast convergence time and low intrusiveness, such as multimedia streaming applications. WBest employs packet dispersion techniques to provide capacity and available bandwidth information for the underlying wireless networks. Please refer to the README for detailed information. The source code of WBest 1.0 is available for download.
MediaTracker is a customized video player that plays Microsoft Media Player from a pre-selected playlist. For each video played, MediaTracker records video performance information including: encoding data rate, playout bitrate, time spent buffering, video frame rate, video frames lost, video frames skipped, packets lost and packets recovered.
The RealTracer tools are designed to measure the performance of RealVideo. RealTracer includes RealTracker, a customized video player that plays RealVideo from a pre-selected playlist. For each video played, RealTracker records user-centric video performance information, including frame rate, jitter and user ratings, and can either send the performance information by email or FTP to a server or save it locally to disk. RealTracer also includes RealData, a data analysis tool that helps manage, parse and analyze data captured by RealTracker.
The below publications have used one or more of the tools described on this page.
Mingzhe Li, Mark Claypool and Robert Kinicki. WBest: a Bandwidth Estimation Tool for IEEE 802.11 Wireless Networks, In Proceedings of 33rd IEEE Conference on Local Computer Networks (LCN), Montreal, Quebec, Canada, October 2008. Online at: http://www.cs.wpi.edu/~claypool/papers/wbest/
Feng Li, Mingzhe Li, Rui Lu, Huahui Wu, Mark Claypool, and Robert Kinicki. Measuring Queue Capacities of IEEE 802.11 Wireless Access Points, In Proceedings of the Fourth IEEE International conference on Broadband Communications, Networks and Systems (BROADNETS), Raleigh, NC, USA, September 2007. Online at: http://www.cs.wpi.edu/~claypool/papers/apq/
Feng Li, Mingzhe Li, Rui Lu, Huahui Wu, Mark Claypool, and Robert Kinicki. Tools and Techniques for Measurement of IEEE 802.11 Wireless Networks, In Proceedings of the Second International Workshop On Wireless Network Measurement (WiNMee), Boston, MA, USA, April 2006. Online at: http://www.cs.wpi.edu/~claypool/papers/tools/
Yubing Wang and Mark Claypool. RealTracer - Tools for Measuring the Performance of RealVideo on the Internet, Kluwer Multimedia Tools and Applications, Volume 27, Number 3, December 2005. Online at: http://www.cs.wpi.edu/~claypool/papers/real-tracker/
Mingzhe Li, Mark Claypool, Robert Kinicki and James Nichols. Characteristics of Streaming Media Stored on the Web, ACM Transactions on Internet Technology (TOIT), Volume 5, Number 4, November 2005. Online at: http://www.cs.wpi.edu/~claypool/papers/video-crawler/
Jon Gretarsson, Feng Li, Mingzhe Li, Ashish Samant, Huahui Wu, Mark Claypool and Robert Kinicki. Performance Analysis of the Intertwined Effects between Network Layers for 802.11g Transmissions, In Proceedings of the 1st ACM Workshop on Wireless Multimedia Networking and Performance Modeling (WMuNeP), Montreal, Canada, October 2005. Online at: http://www.cs.wpi.edu/~claypool/papers/co-ap/
Mark Claypool. On the 802.11 Turbulence of Nintendo DS and Sony PSP Hand-held Network Games, In Proceedings of the 4th ACM Network and System Support for Games (NetGames), Hawthorne, NY, USA, October 2005. Online at: http://www.cs.wpi.edu/~claypool/papers/hand-held/
Mingzhe Li, Feng Li, Mark Claypool, and Robert Kinicki. Weather Forecasting - Predicting Performance for Streaming Video over Wireless LANs, In Proceedings of the 15th ACM International Workshop on Network and Operating Systems Support for Digital Audio and Video (NOSSDAV), Stevenson, Washington, USA, June 2005. Online at: http://www.cs.wpi.edu/~claypool/papers/weather/
James Nichols, Mark Claypool, Robert Kinicki and Mingzhe Li. Measurements of the Congestion Responsiveness of Windows Streaming Media, In Proceedings of the 14th ACM International Workshop on Network and Operating Systems Support for Digital Audio and Video (NOSSDAV), Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland, June 16-18, 2004. Online at: http://www.cs.wpi.edu/~claypool/papers/wsm/
Mingzhe Li, Mark Claypool and Robert Kinicki. MediaPlayer versus RealPlayer - A Comparison of Network Turbulence, In Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Workshop, Marseille, France, November 6-8, 2002. Online at: http://www.cs.wpi.edu/~claypool/papers/turbulence/
Feng Li, Mark Claypool, and Robert Kinicki. Host AP by Example - How to Build an IEEE 802.11 Wireless Host Access Point, Technical Report WPI-CS-TR-05-20, Computer Science Department, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, December 2005. Online at: ftp://ftp.cs.wpi.edu/pub/techreports/pdf/05-20.pdf
Mingzhe Li, Mark Claypool, and Robert Kinicki, Wireless Sniffing by Example - How to Build and Use an IEEE 802.11 Wireless Network Sniffer, Technical Report WPI-CS-TR-05-19, Department of Computer Science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Nov. 2005, Online at: ftp://ftp.cs.wpi.edu/pub/techreports/pdf/05-19.pdf.