A lightweight measurement platform for Internet media events (short CheesePi paper)
This paper presents the ongoing work within the CheesePi project. CheesePi is a lightweight platform written in Python with the goal of performing multimedia measurements from within users’ homes. By leveraging the Raspberry Pi multimedia content can be played directly connected to their HDMI display devices. The real usefulness of CheesePi, however, stems from networking the Pis and performing measurements in parallel to and from several locations. We have recorded three popular media events to show this idea and report on them in this paper. Additionally, where we need control of both sides of a connection, we have performed CheesePi to CheesePi measurements for VoIP, client-server, iperf and grouping experiments.
CheesePi ( http://cheesepi.sics.se ) is a network measurement system that objectively characterises the service users experience from their home broadband connections. Many Internet monitoring systems already exist, some with a focus on home users, however, they focus mainly on collecting network-wide information without consideration for providing utility to the person actually hosting the measurement node. We believe that to encourage participation in home broadband measurement systems a node should be as useful as possible to the host, no matter their technical expertise. Through this proposal we will research and develop features, primarily through an informative and easy-to-use visual interface, enabling easy monitoring and diagnostics of a person’s home internet connection.
Unfortunately, for members of the public without specialist networking knowledge, problems with their home broadband connection can be mysterious and hard to describe. Indeed, even for network engineers, it can be hard to notice, quantify and record transient problems. To this end, we have built a measurement platform that captures low-level network details, behaviour and service. The platform runs on Raspberry Pis, an extremely popular hobbyist credit-card sized computer. The use of small, cheap, commodity hardware (Raspberry Pis) as monitoring nodes enables easy, flexible and widespread deployment. Over 2 million people already own one, and can simply install our software on it. The system periodically measures and records various attributes of their connectivity, e.g. delay, packet loss, capacity and local wireless signal strength.
Understanding the raw recorded data is not a simple task and, if not carefully presented, requires specialist knowledge. The aim of this project is to create an informative and useful “dashboard” for non-expert users to view the health of their connection. Such an interface would allow users to instantaneously observe how their Internet connection is currently functioning and how its attributes have been changing over time. The project will provide an opportunity for people to move beyond a naive understanding of “connected” and “disconnected” to the Internet towards a more nuanced appreciation.
The results of the measurement system will be high-quality longitudinally measures of Swedish broadband service in a free, neutral and unbiased manner with a focus on gauging Quality of Experience. The resulting network data will be analysed and collated then used to monitor the performance of Swedish infrastructure (e.g. ISP networks and DNS resolution). Report.