wiki:Embedded Real-Time Measurements

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Project Number


Project Title

Project Title: Embedding real-time substrate measurements for cross-layer communications
a.k.a. Programmable Optical Metrics Interface (obsolete)
a.k.a. Embedded real-time measurements
a.k.a. ERM

Technical Contacts

Principal Investigator: Keren Bergman
Student Developer: Michael Wang
Student Developer: Caroline Lai
Student Developer: Cathy Chen
Senior Researcher: Balagangadhar Bathula

Balagangadhar Bathula, Professor Keren Bergman, Cathy Chen, Michael Wang, Caroline Lai

Participating Organizations

Columbia University - New York City

GPO Liaison System Engineer

Harry Mussman


Ensure GENI includes the technology to support cross-layer communications, specifically, the ability to incorporate a diverse set of real-time measurements in networking protocols. The project addresses the GENI challenge of architectural experimentations across diverse heterogeneous technologies by supporting real-time cross-layer communications and measurements. Our objective is to develop networking capabilities within the GENI infrastructure that enable deeper exposure of cross-layer information and user access to real-time measurements.

Project Summary

By the end of year 1, we evaluated GENI's capabilities for embedded real-time measurements and cross-layer control. Further, we proposed the development of a Unified Measurement Framework (UMF), and joined Cluster D to integrate UMF into ORCA-BEN.

By the end of year 2, we designed and implemented a NetFPGA-based UMF. We demonstrated an experimental use-case that was run locally at Columbia University. Moreover, we integrated UMF with the Integrated Measurement Framework (IMF) and collaborated on an experimental use-case run on the Breakable Experimental Network (BEN) located in North Carolina. Finally, we began plan to expand UMF into other infrastructures within GENI.

ERM is currently in its third year. The spiral 3 goals are:

  • Developing a more universally deployable UMF implementation, which we call the ‘ERM Box’.
  • Expand the deployment of this box into multiple GENI infrastructures.
  • Conduct an experiment using the ERM-enabled network involving non-GENI researchers.
  • The experimental work will be complemented by the development of network models and a simulation environment released to the GENI community to further ERM-enabled networking research.
  • Contribute to the GENI I&M architecture effort.


Spiral 1:
MilestoneDate(ERM: GENI requirements for real-time measurements)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: Develop specifications and networking protocols)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: Perform discrete-event network simulations)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: Develop a software architecture)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: Support the GPO in developing an experimental use-case)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: identify a candidate control framework)?

Spiral 2:
MilestoneDate(ERM: S2.a Prototype UMF software)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: S2.b Demo software interface from UMF to embedded measurement subsystem)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: S2.c Demo UMF in an experimental use-case)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: S2.d Integrate UMF with BEN)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: S2.e Design and demo XML data exchange software modules)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: S2.f Plan to integrate UMF within anpther infrastructures)?

Spiral 3:
ERM: S2.a Design and develop a robust, universally deployable version of the UMF (called the ‘ERM Box’)
ERM: S2.b Develop simulation environment with networking model incorporating the ERM Box
ERM: S2.c Deploy multiple ERM boxes (between 2 to 4) within suitable GENI infrastructures
ERM: S2.d Conduct an experiment using this ERM-enabled network involving non-GENI researchers

MilestoneDate(ERM: S3.a Demonstration at GEC9 and Experimenter Outreach)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: S3.b Documentation and Code Release)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: S3.c Demonstration at GEC10 and Experimenter Outreach)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: S3.d Documentation and Code Release)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: S3.e Demonstration at GEC11 and Experimenter Outreach)?
MilestoneDate(ERM: S3.f Final report and code release)?

Project Technical Documents

Spiral 1

Technical Note Milestone 1 The capabilities of GENI's (future) infrastructure with respect to real-time measurements are evaluated and we assess the GENI requirements for real-time user access to measurement data across a diverse set of technologies.
Technical Note Milestone 2 A set of specifications for enabling real-time measurements within the substrate and specifications for networking protocols based on the GENI requirements for real-time user-accessed cross-layer measurements is developed. We identify a set of specifications for the implementation of a unified, integrated measurement framework with the ultimate purpose of limiting the hardware and software overhead and complexity associated with accessing measurement data.
Technical Note Milestone 3 To enable and perform discrete-event network simulations and quantitatively evaluate performance impact under several scenarios of cross-layer information exchange based on real-time measurements we developed new simulation modules for the ns-2 open source network modeling environment and make them available to the GENI community at: ERM software module repository (Columbia University New York, Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs)
Technical Note Milestone 4 This milestone deals with the development of a measurement framework based on GENI real-time measurement requirements and other developments/resources within the GENI prototyping activities. Interacting with other prototype efforts, we identify and leverage relevant activities, software architectures, protocols, and products. This work deals with a number of software architectures dedicated to network measurements which could serve as an interface between a unified measurement framework (UMF), the control framework, and the GENI experimenter. We assess several network management protocols and data exchange formats with respect to their ability of exchanging measurement and control information between the substrate's performance monitors and the UMF, as well as between the UMF and the GENI control frameworks.
Technical Note Milestone 5 The release of this milestone document was postponed until after the proceedings of the European Conference on Optical Communication were published (end of September 2009). Support GPO in developing an experimental use-case (completed 09/01/2009) The goal of this milestone was to support the GPO in developing experimental designs for use-cases based on our work on a measurement-driven cross-layer communication system. Building on the successful simulation work with the previously developed modules, we validate our cross-layer communication schemes in developing an experimental use-case based on proactive packet protection. We show network simulations, as well as an experimental demonstration, of our packet protection scheme.
Technical Note Milestone 6 We have evaluated various control frameworks to assess the feasibility of joining a GENI cluster and integrating our work on real-time measurements within one of these clusters. In this milestone, we discuss this endeavor and our recent decision to join the Cluster D ORCA team.

Spiral 2

Technical Note Milestone S2.a We outline a prototype implementation of the UMF using a NetFPGA Cube. The UMF uses both software (processor) and hardware (NetFPGA card) components in order to access the measurement data from embedded networking equipment.
Technical Note Milestone S2.b We demonstrate a software interface that is capable of obtaining physical layer measurements from a measurement subsystem, specifically the Polatis switches in the ORCA-BEN network.
Technical Note Milestone S2.c We demonstrate a working NetFPGA-based UMF prototype by implementing an experimental use-case at the Lightwave Research Laboratory at Columbia University.
Technical Note Milestone S2.d We integrated the UMF subsystem with the Cluster D network substrate. We integrated the developed hardware and software resources of UMF with the BEN infrastructure at the RENCI PoP.
Technical Note Milestone S2.e We designed the XML data exchange software modules for the UMF to interact with the researcher or intermediate measurement software architecture, and then demonstrated the interoperability of these software modules with BEN at RENCI by running a cross-layer optimized digital media streaming application across BEN.
Technical Note Milestone S2.f We proposed the design and development of a more universally deployable version of UMF consisting of (a) a suite of software and a NetFPGA to expand optical-layer measurement capabilities; (b) a set of active optical components (SOAs, VOAs, etc) to enable cross-layer control.
Spiral 2 Review Slides


Quarterly Status Report 4Q08

Quarterly Status Report 1Q09
Quarterly Status Report 2Q09
Quarterly Status Report 3Q09
Quarterly Status Report 4Q09

Quarterly Status Report 1Q10
Quarterly Status Report 2Q10
Quarterly Status Report 3Q10
GEC 9 ERM Status Report


K. Bergman, "Embedding Real-Time Substrate Measurements for Cross-Layer Communications", 3rd GENI Engineering Conference, Stanford, CA, 2008.
F. Fidler, "Unified Measurements", 4th GENI Engineering Conference, Miami, FL, 2009.
F. Fidler, "Unified Measurement Framework", 1st GENI Measurement Workshop, Madison, WI, 2009.

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