The Neubot Project

Neubot
Status: 
ongoing
Period: 
June 2008 - June 2017
Funding: 
About 112,000 € in the 2012-2017 period
Funding organization: 

Regione Piemonte (research grant), Measurement Lab/Google (two distinct unrestricted grants)

Person(s) in charge: 
Executive summary: 

Neubot is a R&D project that studies the Internet by running measurements from the edges. We study broadband performance, network neutrality, and Internet censorship.

We commit to write open source software and to publish the data collected by our software as open data. We wrote and now maintain the neubot software. We actively contribute to measurement-kit, ooniprobe-android, and ooniprobe-ios.

We cooperate with Measurement Lab (which hosts neubot servers and has funded in the past our activities), the OONI project, and Portolan. We organized the NNTools2015 workshop held here at Nexa Center.

Lacking Nexa-side resources to maintain it, Neubot will be frozen after May 31, 2017. After this date, Simone Basso, the main developer since 2010, will maintain the software tools originated during this research project.

Background: 

Neubot started in 2008 to study network neutrality. That is, the principle that the Internet should treat all packets equally, without any discrimination dependent on the protocol, the application or the source.

The scientific interest for network neutrality was motivated by the desire to understand this key characteristic of the internet that, according to many scholars, is a precondition for an open, generative Internet.

The seminal paper by De Martin and Glorioso described the conceptual architecture of Neubot. The first prototype of the neubot software was written by Mr. Gianluigi Pignatari Ardila. Simone Basso joined the Nexa Center in 2010 and continued the development during his doctorate on network measurements under the supervision of prof. De Martin.

Since 2014 the scope of Neubot (as a project) was expanded to also encompass Internet-censorship measurements activities. This happened during the MORFEO subproject of which the OONI project was also partner.

Objectives: 

1. Divide the server and client side components of the neubot software. We have renounced to the idea of running peer-to-peer tests, therefore, it is more rational to manage client and server separately.

2. Sketch out a full plan for delivering the final version of Neubot as the scientific branch of the project as run by the Nexa Center is about the be closed.

3. Develop multi-server network tests. The idea of this objective is to make peer-to-peer network tests more similar to real traffic

3. Work on data visualization and analysis. This calls for making data visualization and analysis based on Neubot data

4. Write uTP module for measurement-kit. This will be the precondition to run uTP network performance measurements, which is interesting to investigate BitTorrent discrimination.

5. Contribute to OONI iOS and Android apps. This means adding measurement-kit side support and helping with testing and reviewing the apps.

6. Finalize the research paper on Neubot. There is currently a work-in-progress comprehensive research paper that describes Neubot as a whole.

7. Finalize the research paper that follows up the NNTools2015 workshop. This shall describe the ideas that brought us to implement the measurement-kit library.

Results: 

As of February, 2017, we successfully started splitting the client and server components of Neubot and the OONI mobile applications based on measurement-kit were released (i.e., objectives 1 and 5 according to the above list). More details in a specific post on our blog summarizing the results achieved during the last year.

Within end of May, we will try also to write a plan for finalizing Neubot (objective 2) and to move forward the papers (objectives 6 and 7). It is unlikely we will be able to pursue any other objective, given the limited amount of time left, and given the need to wrap up what was done since 2010.

Related Publications:
Simone Basso, Antonio Servetti, Enrico Masala, Juan Carlos De Martin
21-24 March 2014
Proceedings of the ACM Multimedia Systems (MMSys) 2014
Giuseppe Futia, Enrico Zimuel, Simone Basso, Juan Carlos De Martin
3 March 2014
Mondo Digitale
Enrico Masala, Antonio Servetti, Simone Basso, Juan Carlos De Martin
1 September 2013
New Trends in Databases and Information Systems
Giuseppe Futia, Enrico Zimuel, Simone Basso, Juan Carlos De Martin
18 - 20 September 2013
Congresso Nazionale AICA 2013, Salerno, Italy
Simone Basso, Michela Meo, Juan Carlos De Martin
1 July 2013
ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review
Simone Basso, Michela Meo, Antonio Servetti, Juan Carlos De Martin
17 August 2012
2nd ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Measurements Up and Down the Stack (W-MUST)
Simone Basso, Antonio Servetti and Juan Carlos De Martin
16 November 2011
Congresso AICA 2011
Simone Basso, Antonio Servetti and Juan Carlos De Martin
1 July 2011
IEEE 16th International Symposium on Computers and Communications
Simone Basso, Antonio Servetti, e Juan Carlos De Martin
29 - 30 September, 1 October 2010
Congresso AICA 2010, L'Aquila, Italy
Andrea Glorioso e Valentin Vitkov
29 November 2008
Diritto dell'informazione e dell'informatica
Juan Carlos De Martin e Andrea Glorioso
26-28 June 2008
IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, Fredericton (Canada)

Every four(ish) months we write quarterly activity reports on our blog. We develop using GitHub. To follow our development activities you'd better follow our core people on GitHub.