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WP2 - Programmable Probes

Work package title: Programmable Probes
Start date or starting event: M1
Activity Type: RTD
Leader: NETVISOR - Bakay Árpád


This work package will lay the foundation on which the whole mPlane will rest. It is responsible for the measurement component of mPlane that will deliver information about the network, applications and device state, with capabilities to already perform some processing if necessary. The WP2 will also define how to integrate existing measurement and tools into the mPlane measurement component. In particular, WP2 will design and implement a whole family of (software and hardware) network probes, that are able to:

  • perform both passive, active and hybrid network measurements.
  • obtain mPlane measurement data from legacy external measurement systems.
  • perform (pre)processing on measurement data when appropriate.
  • be re-programmed and dynamically re-configured.

Probes must evolve with the Internet and its usage in order to measure the right thing at the right time. They must adapt to different measurements and requirements on-the-fly. Higher order functions - such as the intelligent reasoner developed within WP4 - might require different measurements while facing a problem or while hunting down a complex series of events. This will require quick re-configuration of probes.

The probes envisioned by mPlane range from End-User software (e.g., running as a browser plug-in and potentially numbering in the thousands) to high-performance devices with hardware-accelerated packet processors (e.g., probes to be deployed at a few key backbone network junctions). Each of these probes has different capabilities, and reports results in standard network performance protocol, as defined by Task 1.4.

This work package is also in charge of developing and implementing the interface to legacy (i.e., 3rd party) probes. Such probes include devices developed by earlier, related projects and also commonly available industrial monitoring systems. Interfacing with these probes, both in terms of their control and data planes, will be implemented by proxying: an mPlane probe component interacts with the external device, “translating” between the probe’s native controls and that of mPlane’s. In this way, all probes, legacy or not, are able to contribute measurements to mPlane.

The work package has the following main objectives:

  • To design and implement the mPlane probe platform based on T1.2. The work is carried out by implementing a common probe framework, consisting of hardware and software elements, enabling the instantiation of specific probe configurations. Some of these will be used in the demonstration activities of WP6 and as a basis for the evaluation activities in WP5. Some of the work is expected to provide valuable feedback for WP1 which will take this feedback into account when defining the final architecture.
  • To design and implement pre-processing primitives in the form of modules containing measurement algorithms to be executed on mPlane probes.
  • To integrate selected legacy probes and tools by implementing proxy modules such that they can be quickly integrated into the mPlane. In addition, this work includes creating an environment that makes it easy for parties outside the mPlane project to adapt other legacy probes.

Description of work

The workpackage contains three tasks:

Partner contribution

  • NETVISOR (WP coordinator) is going to lead the effort and undertake implementation duties, especially in T2.1 and in T2.2
  • POLITO will contribute to T2.1 and T2.2. In particular, POLITO will work on the design and implementation of passive monitoring tools building over their experience with Tstat which will be improved to support both lightweight and massive, scalable probes. Advanced traffic classification algorithms will be studied as well. Considering active probes, POLITO will study an architecture based on P2P concept in which peers are nodes that can be used to generate traffic and collect measurements.
  • FUB will contribute to the development of probes, in particular with the definition and implementation of active probes, and specifically targeting the QoE scenario.
  • SSB will contribute to probe design and implementation, especially with respect to data protection and access control feature of control interfaces.
  • TI will contribute to T2.1 and T2.2 with requirements (for probes to be deployed within the operator’s network). TI will also work on T2.3 to provide interworking with network probes already deployed in its network.
  • EURECOM will work on the End-User probe design, with special focus on browser based solutions that would allow the End-User to trigger measurements and signal problems to the mPlane system.
  • ENST will contribute on the probe design and implementation in T2.1 (especially focusing on measurement primitives for dedicated probes), T2.2 (with special focus on comparison and correlation between active and passive measurements) and T2.3 (helping on the selection and integration of existing measurement infrastructures).
  • NEC will contribute to probe design and implementation and high performance stream processing primitives based on bloom filters for stream analysis of trends at application layer (L7/DPI). Additionally NEC will investigate the performance of probe multi tenancy solutions in virtualized environments.
  • TID will work with NETVISOR for the definition of lightweight probes, specifically focussing on the design of a software probe that can be installed on mobile terminals.
  • FW is going to help with early testing and troubleshooting with providing various network environments and resources by installing probes in their network and by providing some legacy system data already available within FW network.
  • FHA will contribute to probe design and implementation. It will also work on control aspects of the probes and transport aspects of the data. Some graphical representation work is also on FHA’s road map.
  • ULG will focus on the implementation of active probes specifically targeting the topology discovery problem.
  • ETH will contribute to probe design and implementation, especially with respect to data export interfaces.


  • D2.1 (M9; editor: NETVISOR) Selection of External Probes and Datasets. This deliverable is meant to be Private. It contains the selection of external sources that will be integrated into the mPlane and the preliminary definition and implementation of the proxy module to interface with the selected systems.
  • D2.2 (M18; editor: POLITO) Probe Measurement Primitives and Analysis Library - Initial Release. This deliverable is meant to be Public. It is a software deliverable. It consists of the measurement and pre-processing primitives developed by WP2, along with the probe software developed so far. This will include the initial release of both the passive probe software and of active probe software. The deliverable includes guidelines and examples for integrating legacy probes into mPlane via proxy module development
  • D2.3 (M32; editor: NETVISOR) Final implementation of software and libraries.  It is a software deliverable intended for public release. The release consists of an SDK for probe development and includes numerous implemented examples.