Research Papers


IEEE - ICC 2016

Curtis R. Taylor, Craig Shue, Mohamed E. Najd

While enterprise networks follow best practices and security measures, residential networks often lack these protections. Home networks have constrained resources and lack a dedicated IT staff that can secure and manage the network and systems. At the same time, homes must tackle the same challenges of securing heterogeneous devices when communicating to the Internet. In this work, we explore combining software-defined networking and proxies with commodity residential Internet routers. We evaluate a “whole home” proxy solution for the Skype video conferencing application to determine the viability of the approach in practice. We find that we are able to automatically detect when a device is about to use Skype and dynamically intercept all of the Skype communication and route it through a proxy while not disturbing unrelated network flows. Our approach works across multiple operating systems, form factors, and versions of Skype.



DeepContext: An OpenFlow-Compatible, Host-Based SDN for Enterprise Networks
Mohamed E. Najd, Craig A. Shue

The software-defined networking (SDN) paradigm promises greater control and understanding of enterprise network activities, particularly for management applications that need awareness of network-wide behavior. However, the current focus on switch-based SDNs raises concerns about data-plane scalability, especially when using fine-grained flows. Further, these switch-centric approaches lack visibility into end-host and application behaviors, which are valuable when making access control decisions.

In recent work, we proposed a host-based SDN in which we installed software on the end-hosts and used a centralized network control to manage the flows. This improve scalability and provided application information for use in network policy. However, that approach was not compatible with OpenFlow and had provided only conservative estimates of possible network performance.

In this work, we create a high performance host-based SDN that is compatible with the OpenFlow protocol. Our approach, DeepContext, provides details about the application context to the network controller, allowing enhanced decision-making. We evaluate the performance of DeepContext, comparing it to traditional networks and Open vSwitch deployments. We further characterize the completeness of the data provided by the system and the resulting benefits.



On the Feasibility of Cloud-Based SDN Controllers for Residential Networks
Curtis R. Taylor, Tian Guo, Craig A. Shue, Mohamed E. Najd

Residential networks are home to increasingly diverse devices, including embedded devices that are part of the Internet of Things phenomenon, leading to new management and security challenges. However, current residential solutions that rely on customer premises equipment (CPE), which often remains deployed in homes for years without updates or maintenance, are not evolving to keep up with these emerging demands. Recently, researchers have proposed to outsource the tasks of managing and securing residential networks to cloud-based security services by leveraging software-defined networking (SDN). However, the use of cloud-based infrastructure may have performance implications.

In this paper, we measure the performance impact and perception of a residential SDN using a cloud-based controller through two measurement studies. First, we recruit 270 residential users located across the United States to measure residential latency to cloud providers. Our measurements suggest the cloud controller architecture provides 90% of end-users with acceptable performance with judiciously selected public cloud locations. When evaluating web page loading times of popular domains, which are particularly latency-sensitive, we found an increase of a few seconds at the median. However, optimizations could reduce this overhead for top websites in practice.




April 2016, WPI

Scryer: a Host-Context, Flow-Based, OpenFlow Compatible, Network Access Control
WPI Graduate Resarch Innovation Exchange

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