CNDS Thesis Topics 2012/2013

Table of Contents

Network Flow Query Language

Information about the network traffic passing through an observation point (typically a network interface) is exported in the form of so called network flow records. A network flow is a an unidirectional sequence of packets that all share a number of common attributes (typically the IP addresses and port numbers and transport protocol type). Backbone networks easily generate 10s of GBs of compressed flow records per day. The Network Flow Query Language (NFQL) is a query language that can be used to search in large collections of network flow records for certain patterns. For example, several applications (e.g., different web browsers) can be identified by looking for specific flow patterns that they generate. A new efficient implementation of an NFQL execution engine has been created but more evaluation is needed and a number of rough ends still can be improved. Some of this work is related to a European project starting on November 1st.

  • NFQL usage to discover applications (BSc)

    For some applications, specific network flow patterns have been identified and expressed as NFQL queries. The goal of this project is to use the current NFQL execution engine to search for application specific patterns in larger real-world traces. This is largely experimental work but most likely this work will also identify bugs or shortcomings of the current execution engine, which should be clearly described and ideally be fixed as well.

  • NFQL front-end parser (BSc/MSc)

    A parser for the NFQL language was originally written in Python. The parser nor only turns the query into an internal representation, it also aims to identify errors or warns about not meaningful constructions. The new NFQL execution engine receives the query in a JSON format. The goal of this project is to re-implement the NFQL parser such that it can be more easily maintained and produce the JSON format understood by the execution engine.

  • IPFIX support for NFQL (MSc/BSc)

    The NFQL execution engine uses the traditional NetFlow format. The goal of this project is to update the execution engine such that it understands the template driven IPFIX format. This requires some non-trivial changes throughout the execution engine.

Traffic Measurements

Our group is interested in traffic measurements and a new EU funded project focused on measuring end-user network experience is just about to start. In this context, several thesis topics will soon evolve.

  • European mobile network measurements (BSc)

    As part of a MSc project, a measurement tool running on Android devices has been developed that aims at identifying whether mobile network operators apply traffic shaping based on deep packet inspection techniques. The goal of this project is to organize a larger scale measurement experiment in which data is collected showing if and how European wireless network operators apply traffic shaping policies.

WattsApp - Social Telemetry Platform

As part of the advanced distributed systems lab, a social telemetry platform called WattsApp has been developed. It includes sensors (e.g., energy sensors), data collectors, a web front-end, and an Android app. The platform, operational for almost a year now, has room for a number of improvements. For more details, see

  • More efficient data handling (BSc)

    The amount of data transferred to clients, such as the Android app, for producing visualizations is very large. Better data storage and query facilities should be added to the system in order to improve the responsiveness and effectiveness of the clients while at the same time keeping the distributed nature of the system.

  • Improved sensors running on rPIs (BSc)

    The current energy sensor uses an ad-hoc hardware interface to an S0 bus carrying pulses indicating the amount of energy consumed. The hardware interface is connected to an Atmel-based IEEE 802.15.4 device running Contiki that is queried from a regular computer. The goal of this project is to improve the hardware interface (e.g., producing a proper PCB) and to interface the S0 bus to raspberry PI (rPI) computers running an embedded version of Linux.

  • Extensions to explore social networks for energy savings (BSc)

    Social networks like facebook are for many people a major means of interactions. The goal of this project will be to develop and prototype novel social network applications that help motivate people or groups of people to engage into energy saving activities, driven by the wattsapp platform.

Management of Constrained Networks

Constrained networks have devices that are constrained by computing, memory, and energy resources. For such devices, it is often not possible to run several protocols concurrently and it is often necessary to restrict things to a core set of protocol features. Furthermore, devices may not always be online, due to the need to make economic use of the often limited energy resources.

  • Contiki SNMP over DTLS (BSc)

    In previews MSc projects, an SNMP implementation and a DTLS implementation for constrained devices running on the Contiki operating systems have been developed. The goal of this project is to combine them, allowing to secure SNMP interactions using DTLS.

  • RPL-MIB and LOWPAN-MIB on Contiki/Linux (BSc)

    RPL is a new routing protocol for constrained networks, typically running IPv6 over IEEE 802.15.4 via the 6LoWPAN adaptation layer. The goal of this project is to extend and port an implementation of an RPL-MIB and a LoWPAN-MIB based on the Jacobs Contiki SNMP implementation. Alternatively, one could consider a Linux-based platform for which an RPL implementation is available.

  • RESTful YANG API on rPIs (MSc/BSc)

    The goal of this project is to implement a RESTful interface to access (configuration) data models defined in the YANG language currently defined in an Internet-Draft. The goal is to understand the efficiency trade-offs and to study a plain implementation over HTTP relative to an implementation on top of CoAP, a more compact protocol aiming to support constrained embedded devices better than full HTTP.

Date: 2012-09-10 13:41:03 CEST

Author: Jürgen Schönwälder

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