Detecting network neutrality violations with causal inference

TitleDetecting network neutrality violations with causal inference
Publication TypeConference Papers
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsBin Tariq M, Motiwala M, Feamster N, Ammar M
Conference NameProceedings of the 5th international conference on Emerging networking experiments and technologies
Date Published2009///
Conference LocationNew York, NY, USA
ISBN Number978-1-60558-636-6
Keywordscausal inference, network neutrality

We present NANO, a system that detects when ISPs apply policies that discriminate against specific classes of applications, users, or destinations. Existing systems for detecting discrimination are typically specific to an application or to a particular discrimination mechanism and rely on active measurement tests. Unfortunately, ISPs can change discrimination policies and mechanisms, and they can evade these tests by giving probe traffic higher priority. NANO detects ISP discrimination by passively collecting performance data from clients. To distinguish discrimination from other causes of degradation (e.g., overload, misconfiguration, failure), NANO establishes a causal relationship between an ISP and observed performance by adjusting for confounding factors. NANO agents deployed at participating clients across the Internet collect performance data for selected services and report this information to centralized servers, which analyze the measurements to establish causal relationship between an ISP and performance degradations. We have implemented NANO and deployed clients in a controlled environment on Emulab. We run a combination of controlled experiments on Emulab and wide-area experiments on PlanetLab that show that NANO can determine the extent and criteria for discrimination for a variety of discrimination policies and applications.