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Towards Ubiquitous and Continuous Network Latency Monitoring
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Mathematics and Computer Science (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3570-9525
2024 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Internet plays an important role in modern society, and its network performance impacts billions of users every day. For many network applications, network latency has a large impact on the quality of experience for the end user. Due to a lack of extensive network latency monitoring, the observability of network latency in real networks is often limited. This poses a problem for understanding network latency on the Internet today, and for assessing the impact various solutions that aim to reduce network latency have once they are deployed in the wild. This thesis addresses shortcomings with current solutions for monitoring network latency, in particular the performance of passive monitoring solutions on general-purpose commodity hardware, aiming to enable more ubiquitous latency monitoring and ultimately provide a comprehensive view of real-world network latency. We utilize the recently emerging eBPF technology to implement passive network latency monitoring inside the Linux kernel. Through experiments on a testbed, we show that our solution can monitor packets at over an order of magnitude higher rates than comparable previous solutions, allowing it to successfully monitor the latency for multi-gigabit traffic on general-purpose commodity hardware. Additionally, we demonstrate the feasibility of continuously monitoring network latency by deploying our solution inside an Internet Service Provider and monitoring the network latency for all customer traffic. Through an extensive analysis of the collected latency data, we show large differences in how network latency is distributed across different parts of the network. 

Abstract [en]

The Internet plays a vital role in modern society, and its performance affects billions of users daily. Network latency often has a significant impact on the end users' experience. However, due to limited monitoring of network latency, the observability of latency in real networks is often poor. This hinders our understanding of latency on the Internet today and makes it challenging to assess how the deployment of new networking technologies impacts latency. This thesis uses the emerging eBPF technology to improve the performance of passive network latency monitoring, aiming to enable latency monitoring on more network devices to create a more comprehensive view of latency on the Internet. By conducting controlled experiments on a testbed, we find that our solution is over an order of magnitude faster than previous solutions, making it possible to monitor multi-gigabit traffic on general-purpose commodity hardware. Furthermore, we demonstrate the feasibility of continuously monitoring latency by deploying our solution inside the network of an Internet Service Provider to monitor all their traffic. Our analysis of the latency data reveals large differences in how latency is distributed across different parts of the network.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2024. , p. 30
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2024:15
Keywords [en]
Network latency, passive monitoring, eBPF
National Category
Computer Engineering
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-99358DOI: 10.59217/xpyc8728ISBN: 978-91-7867-459-6 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7867-460-2 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-99358DiVA, id: diva2:1852363
Presentation
2024-06-03, 21A342 (Eva Eriksson), Universitetsgatan 2, Karlstad, 08:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-05-15 Created: 2024-04-18 Last updated: 2024-05-15Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Efficient continuous latency monitoring with eBPF
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Efficient continuous latency monitoring with eBPF
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2023 (English)In: Lecture Notes in Computer Science, ISSN 0302-9743, E-ISSN 1611-3349, Vol. 13882 LNCS, p. 191-208Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Network latency is a critical factor for the perceived quality of experience for many applications. With an increasing focus on interactive and real-time applications, which require reliable and low latency, the ability to continuously and efficiently monitor latency is becoming more important than ever. Always-on passive monitoring of latency can provide continuous latency metrics without injecting any traffic into the network. However, software-based monitoring tools often struggle to keep up with traffic as packet rates increase, especially on contemporary multi-Gbps interfaces. We investigate the feasibility of using eBPF to enable efficient passive network latency monitoring by implementing an evolved Passive Ping (ePPing). Our evaluation shows that ePPing delivers accurate RTT measurements and can handle over 1 Mpps, or correspondingly over 10 Gbps, on a single core, greatly improving on state-of-the-art software based solutions, such as PPing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Science+Business Media B.V., 2023
Keywords
Passive networks, Critical factors; EBPF; Low latency; Monitoring tools; Network latencies; Packet rate; Passive monitoring; Perceived quality; Rate increase; Real-time application, Quality of service
National Category
Communication Systems
Research subject
Computer Science; Mathematics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-94280 (URN)10.1007/978-3-031-28486-1_9 (DOI)2-s2.0-85151057225 (Scopus ID)
Conference
4th International Conference on Passive and Active Measurement, PAM 2023. Virtual, Online. 21-23 March 2023
Available from: 2023-04-19 Created: 2023-04-19 Last updated: 2024-04-18Bibliographically approved
2. Measuring Network Latency from a Wireless ISP: Variations Within and Across Subnets
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Measuring Network Latency from a Wireless ISP: Variations Within and Across Subnets
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Computer Engineering
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-99335 (URN)
Available from: 2024-04-17 Created: 2024-04-17 Last updated: 2024-04-25Bibliographically approved
3. Evolved Passive Ping: Passively Monitor Network Latency from within the Kernel
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evolved Passive Ping: Passively Monitor Network Latency from within the Kernel
2024 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Network latency can have a large impact on the performance of networked applications and the quality of experience for the end users. By using eBPF to implement continuous passive network latency monitoring and aggregation in kernel space with epping, we provide an efficient monitoring solution that can be deployed on any existing Linux node in the network. Our solution thus allows network operators to gain a highly granular view of the network latency experienced by the traffic their network is serving without needing to buy and deploy new hardware. This information can help network operators understand what quality of service their network is currently offering, locate issues in their networks, and verify if new solutions aimed at improving network latency have the desired effect, ultimately improving the experience for the end users. In this technical report, we provide a detailed description of how epping works, cover how different features have been implemented, and discuss many of the challenges we have encountered while implementing it.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2024. p. 23
National Category
Computer Engineering
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-99332 (URN)
Available from: 2024-04-17 Created: 2024-04-17 Last updated: 2024-05-13Bibliographically approved

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Sundberg, Simon

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