TSSG contributes to an international scale Future Internet research testbed



Future Internet Research and Experimentation (FIRE) is an EU funded initiative that has recognised the internet as not simply a communication tool but rather the backbone of modern day living. Its growth is inextricably linked to social, economic and cultural developments while its limits are constantly pushed by feature filled apps emerging from cutting edge technologies. The TSSG has a long history in FIRE on FP7 projects such as PanLabs II, PERIMETER and Vital++.

A key aim for FIRE is to promote the concept of experimentally driven research while creating a large scale experimentation facility to provide the tools to conduct this work. TSSG researchers are making significant contributions to this effort through the €7M FP7 funded OpenLab project. OpenLab brings together 19 of the leading testbed providers from around Europe and beyond. With previous experience in integrating and federating testbeds, the partners on this project have set challenging goals to extend existing testbed facilities while merging these same facilities through control plane and experimental plane federation activities.In effect, this means that under the hood the partner testbeds will be interconnected while on the surface they expose their resources by providing user friendly accessibility to experimenters to trial their work

The OpenLab project is more than half way through its 30 month duration and is already progressing the integration of wildly varying and heterogeneous testbeds and resources. Combining wired, wireless and virtual environments the project is enabling large scale testing of emerging products fuelled by global demand for feature rich services. For example, at a recent event, project partners demonstrated video streaming between the wireless NITOS and the wired Planetlab Europe testbeds using the SFA (Slice Federation Architecture) and OMF (Control Management Framework) federation technologies.

The TSSG work on this project is two fold. Firstly we are expanding and developing the testbed resources and services that we offer locally. A key goal for TSSG is to provide a service to experimenters where they can incubate and test application level P2P traffic routing algorithms with an aim to guaranteeing a certain level of QoS. This is centred around our IMS testbed and involves the addition of the OpenFlow protocol to enable discovery and provisioning of network resources. Secondly, we are collaborating with the other partners to develop and implement the hooks and tools that will allow for integrated testing and experimentation across geographically distributed and technologically varying testbeds.

The proof of impact of the OpenLab project is apparent in the Open calls for experiments that are being coordinated by the project partners. The OpenLab project issued one open call for experiments on its federated testbeds in 2011 while the results of the second call are just about to be announced. Here it is widely expected that new project partners will choose the TSSG IMS testbed to run novel experiments. Researchers from both academia and industry were invited to propose and submit experiments that demonstrate technological expertise, scientific novelty and quality in the area of the Future Internet, e.g. the ALLEGRA project from the first open call is delivering and evaluating the worlds first geo-location aware greedy internet routing prototype. Facilitating industry innovation for the successful market uptake of new products and services is another important driver for our testbeds. Also, this is a truly international effort as already proposals have been submitted from many EU countries as well as China and Japan.


For further information contact:

Phelim Dowling (
Joe Tynan (

Local project information
OpenLab Project Website

MultiPath TCP – Linux Kernel Contributions

With the way the Internet is being used today, from carrying Voice to TV there is a high demand for reliability from the Internet. However it’s proving more and more difficult to predict failures in the network, to spot flash crowds or to predict when the next distrubited denial of service (DDoS) attack will happen.

The Internet has being trying for years to route around these network failures, however to date once the routing protocols have done their job, only a single path, or small number of equal-cost paths are used to transmit packets, ignoring possible alternative paths.

MultiPath TCP is a new way of making the different network downlinks available to the transport protocol, and allowing for the establishment of more than one path between the same pair of servers for the same connection. In effect with MultiPath TCP we can make use of the additional paths that are ignored by the Internet routing system. Doing so can provide more bandwidth and better resiliency for the user and higher network utilisation for network operators.

As of March 2013 the first stable implementation of MultiPath TCP was released for the Linux Kernel and there a contribution in there from our very own John Ronan, a researcher in the Security research unit of the TSSG.

As John points out, “multi-path transport protocols will be the key to making the Internet more robust and more responsive to congestion”.

This first open source software release will bring Multi-Path TCP a step closer to the path of being a fully blown standard from the IETF.

SOCIETIES Workshop and User Evaluation @ Intel

 by Edel Jennings and Mark Roddy (EFM/TSSG)


Last week the SOCIETIES consortium held a Workshop at the Intel Innovation Open Lab in Leixlip, Ireland.

A significant number of Intel employees were invited to attend and were presented with some of the value propositions from the project’s Innovation Tree.


David McKitterick from Intel presents the SOCIETIES Innovation Tree


The Workshop started with an architectural overview of the SOCIETIES platform from the project’s Technical Co-ordinator, David McKitterick from Intel, and was followed by Dr. Ioanna Roussaki from the National Technical University of Athens who provided attendees with an insight into the project’s Context Management & Inference engine.

Then Prof. Nick Taylor from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh explained how the platform uses the Personalisation & Learning enablers to tailor the SOCIETIES experience for the project’s targeted user communities.

Bruno Jean-Bart & Olivier Maridat from TRIALOG presenting the Privacy by Design techniques

Tailoring this user pervasive experience relies heavily on the platform’s ability to have a fine-grained understanding of the user’s context, which could be regarded suspiciously by our end users. These suspicions were taken on board in our final presentation by Bruno Jean-Bart & Olivier Maridat from TRIALOG based in Paris, who jointly presented the project’s ‘Privacy by Design’ techniques. If the Q&A session at the end of the presentations was anything to go by then the workshop was judged to be a resounding success.

The Workshop was followed by an evaluation of the first SOCIETIES prototype, and six people from Intel elected to participate in the user evaluation exercise as part of the SOCIETIES Enterprise Community, which was based around a ‘Networking at a Conference’ scenario. The user evaluation featured two of the project’s current third party services: the Networking Zones application, and the Context Aware Wall application; along with the main SOCIETIES platform application. The technical set-up, support and running of the trial system was successfully staged by Intel and IBM researchers, who provided essential expertise and support through the setup, including the management of WIFI sniffers, which successfully demonstrated indoor location discovery.

Since the prototype system software is still very much in development, and there are many known usability and integration issues; it was decided to begin with a participative walkthrough demo, to introduce participants to the software. Each of the six Enterprise Group participants was provided with a smart phone device, on which the required system software had been installed. They were asked to follow along a set of predefined tasks, as they were simultaneously being demonstrated and explained on a large monitor by the SOCIETIES presenter.  A task sheet with a checklist of the basic tasks and steps involved was provided, which also included a section for comments, to invite feedback from each individual participant as they were guided through the platform and Context-Aware Wall applications. Seven SOCIETIES researchers were also present to support, observe and record the exercise. Post-its and pens were provided and a large whiteboard in the room had two sections organised to capture comments and questions, for each of the applications.

A ‘chase the clues’ treasure hunt game, designed to illustrate the potential of location and context aware communication within different communities, was played by all of the participants. This brought the first part of the trial to a pause when all game participants discovered the final destination specific message and shared the final prize – lunch! All six participants completed the System Usability Scale (SUS) Survey at this point.

‘Guardian Angels’ Alec and Guy helping some of the DragonSoc contenders

Lunch was followed by an introduction to SOCIETIES’ Networking Zones application. Then, four participants were engaged in a scenario role play exercise, called DragonSoc.   Scripts were provided for four characters, or personas, to illustrate a ‘dragon’s den’/'secret millionaire’ game scenario, designed to play out how users selective sharing impacts on relevance, and implicit/explicit learning. Participants were required to use and switch between all three of the applications, and make decisions regarding how much information to share to follow the scripts. Societies researchers provided ‘guardian angel’ and ‘tech support’ services to assist users as required, and a conceptual ‘large prize’ was provided to the eventual winner of the game.


Fabio the Investor presents a delighted Kieran with his €1,000,000 post-it prize


Feedback flowed freely between participants and researchers during this exercise, as questions, comments, discussions and suggestions were captured in post-its and recorded observations. A closing participative discussion engaged both the enterprise trial participants and some SOCIETIES researchers on the projects’ value proposition and key innovations. This brought the trial to an end.

The Intel participants were actively and critically engaged throughout the trial. They provided intelligent insight from the user perspective to the proposed scenarios. The data from the SOCIETIES’ Enterprise user trials will now be analysed and reported on in detail in a forthcoming project deliverable, and the results will be harnessed to assist the development team in focusing their future efforts.

SOCIETIES User Trials provide an opportunity to see how the work done by all the SOCIETIES partners, can be integrated and utilised to create a rich social and pervasive experience, which can be appreciated by real people. When real users begin to glimpse the potential of the project’s proposed innovations, despite the limitations and constraints of early prototypes, it does indicate and strengthen the project’s underlying achievements.

TSSG-led FAME Strategic Research Cluster runs Commercialisation Event

The FAME Commercialisation Event took place at UCD on March 21st with some 30+ attendees listening to how FAME results are now becoming mature and ready for commercialisation. FAME researchers from TSSG, TCD, UCD, NUIM and UCC pitched a set of ideas that are of interest for further exploitation. They provided novel approaches and solutions to many significant problems in network and communication services management which generally can be described as pertaining to issues with cumbersome, time-consuming and error-prone management operations, quality and timeliness aspects of monitoring, audio/video performance testing, and smartphone security.

In follow-on discussions there was a clear and present interest from several of the attendees representing VCs or industry contacts to take the next step and explore the potential for commercialisation.

If you want to know more, please contact FAME Industry Liaison Officer Martin Johnsson by email:  mjohnsson at_symbol tssg dot org.

Using the Microsoft Kinect with Cloud-hosted Games

TSSG researcher Dr Brendan Jennings recently attended the 23rd ACM Workshop on Network and Operating Systems Support for Digital Audio and Video (NOSSDAV 2013) workshop in Oslo, Norway, where he presented work developed with Cathal O’Connor and Dr Alan Davy on the controlling the transfer of data from the Microsoft Kinect to a cloud-hosted games platform. A video of Dr Jennings presenting the work is available here.

The researchers’ work was motivated by the observation that increases in broadband access bandwidth in recent years have meant that it has become viable to offer games as cloud-hosted applications. This is attractive for many gamers as they are not required to own relatively expensive games consoles. Whilst most cloud hosted games rely on traditional game controller inputs, it is likely that in the near future that: 1) they will seek to support controller-free sensed inputs such as those gathered by Microsoft’s Kinect; and 2) games will require continuously updated images of the gamer(s) for inclusion in the game itself. The presented paper investigates the use of the Kinect as an input device for cloud-hosted games. It outlines a protocol that allows a game server request specific information from the game and specify a simple
image segmentation algorithm that can be applied at the client to decrease the volume of data that needs to be transferred to the server. The implementation shows that the use of this protocol should make it feasible to support the use of Kinect for this purpose on typical consumer broadband access bandwidths.

Dr Brendan Jennings is the TSSG Lead Researcher and leads the TSSG Emerging Networks Laboratory.

Dr Alan Davy is a Research Fellow in the TSSG Emerging Networks Laboratory.

Cathal O’Connor is an MSc by Research student in the TSSG Emerging Networks Laboratory.

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