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SIGCOMM 2020
August 12, 2020, Online, New York, NY, USA
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An Open Platform to Teach How the Internet Practically Works
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About the talk

Each year at ETH Zurich, around 100 students collectively build and operate their very own Internet infrastructure composed of hundreds of routers and dozens of Autonomous Systems (ASes). Their goal? Enabling Internet-wide connectivity. AB@We find this class-wide project to be invaluable in teaching our students how the Internet infrastructure practically works. Among others, our students have a much deeper understanding of Internet operations alongside their pitfalls. Besides students tend to love the project: clearly the fact that all of them need to cooperate for the entire Internet to work is empowering. In this paper, we describe the overall design of our teaching platform, how we use it, and interesting lessons we have learnt over the years. We also make our platform openly available.

 

About speaker

Thomas Holterbach
PhD Student at ETH Zurich

Hello! I am a PhD student at ETH Zurich in the Networked Systems Group led by Prof. Laurent Vanbever. I am interested in Internet routing, security, performance and many other CS-related topics such as artificial intelligence and big data. Please visit my website for more information about my work :)

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Hi. I am Thomas and together. We still yes, we are going to present you or paper an open platform to teach her the internet practically works. So let's start with this question. How do we try to teach how the internet works? Well, first, we explain to our student, the theory. Then we ask them to serve summons a sizes and finally, sometimes they have the chance to play with some real devices. This is great, but we think it's not sufficient to really understand how the internet practically works and why is that? Because in practice first Network operators, they offered me

to make. Rimac. In addition, they are thousands of Isis and connectivity must be when you turn, it was quite. So the other connectivity metrics to help me sort of resort to do that. And finally, the begin can be very tricky sometimes we we run a traceroute and we don't understand what is going on. So we need to investigate and this is clearly not something easy. Do it for that reason. We actually decided that it's a trick to use another approach to teach how the internet practically works. We let our students operate

their own mini internet or together like if they were doing it for Corporation, So, this is the outline of this presentation. First, I will show you how the internet Minix. The real one is entirely. Then I will show you how they need an attorney student internet for the breakers. And finally, I will show you that they needed actually provide tools to ease operations. So on the right here, you have the ice level to put a g that we used to know where many internet last year. There are six regions in urine and it's each regions in each region. They are 31, a s s. By the

way, they are connected in a foolish fashion. They are Transit agencies and they are step Aces. Did Jason connected with the provider links are guilty feelings and that was going to connect some pieces together. No, in each of the areas, are we having internet apology? And we always breathe the internet, apologies for being the technology that are used in practice. This means that they are legal to switches, they are accurate and they are also hosts. So this is the internal to Prodigy that we use in

every a s last year. but when we breathe internet, apologies, we always try to brake light really sticking dollar to Pieology sucks that decision they have to solve real problems. So first, what we do is we assigned when we switch link, high medium or low bandwidth, and ordering the New York to network, what we do is we say there are two types of first staff members or students such that our students have to configure villains later, and finally, the Lord Deacon servers that are connected to some of the switches

and the decision can use to connect their smartphone or laptop directly into the mini. No, you may wonder how we can run such a meanie internet. Well actually what you do is we rely on just relation to each continent or rather a switch or Hurst actually runs in its own container. So then what you do is we connect two different container together using visual links inferring that apology. And this is how we breathe the meaning of it. And then, actually the meeting that I just showed you before can

rent in a single server. Call the Rogers and the cheese, we just use the state-of-the-art software Suites so open the switch for the switches and a for Rowdy McFall Brothers. No, I'm going to show you how the meeting that turns student into Network operators. So what you do first is beginning 121 Transit and yes, and when I keep receipts to eat group of students and their goal is to enable internet wide connectivity. So first day of to enable internal internet connectivity using Waze PS and then they have to perform some traffic engineering prinstant. They have to

configure a custom spanning tree in the year 2012, as well as some of your friend at work. They have to go to Europe balancing. I still got, we organize a hackathon where all this soon as they get her into the same room to continue the positions for Princeton's. During that time, that she didn't really realize that they have to collaborate all together to enable internet wifi-connected. Besides enabling the BBB sessions. Well, as well as the student movement Moore Advance riding prices for instance, they must make sure that the traffic for the business agreements. So they have to

configure look at frequencies and they have to go to expectation rules, as well as the student to implement additional preferences. Sorry, Sir. Francis one provider is prefer to order in order. 3D project, we always maintain if connectivity metrics on the X and the y axis. They are the different agencies and then each cell indicate, whether the two corresponding is, if they can reach each other. First demetrix is fully read. There is no connectivity. But this year, we managed to reach 100% connectivity, which means that the Matrix was fully green. We're very happy

about that. And that actually shows that the project worked. Well, this year at pH, sonoace Tobias is going to show your little demo of how the meat and it actually works. Thank you, Thomas. So let's have a look at what is possible without any internet of the following. The instructions, the students land in the so-called proxy container from where they can connect to all their devices with a simple. Go to come and we can fax something access right to called New York and come start configure it.

Let's have a quick look at. I hope all of that seems to work. Well, if exit, you're back in the proxy, container and Kenswick, sample, replace rattle with host to go to a corresponding host instead. Host of news 40 packing. So let's perform a Creek Trace, right, to? What's the destination in a 16? If you have a quick look at the topology which is currently running, in the meaning to that, we realize that starting from a S6 eBay quickly, reach is 14 for which we have to use

enough, the eyepiece from there we go, over customer provide the link to reach. The destination is 16 very far from some internal. We can also see that there seems to be some Lopez dancing going on as shown in 9th floor of the traitor that put all these things will be experienced by the students spent working on the project. We often observed that they quickly realized that the mistake is not necessarily coming from their own age, but rather from one of the neighbors, they can contact them, and fax them to tell them. That one of the police, is the latest with the

current configuration. Pictures of yes. And no, I'm going to show you that the meat and actually provide students with tools to is operations. So at first our students, they do not have any a pre knowledge and they have a limited time widget. So what you do is we assist them first. We organize donations every week where they are teaching assistants that are here to provide help an order. We use a dedicated Section 8 verse student, they can ask questions at any time. So for example, if they don't understand the traceroute, they can post it on the sectional and then we had them

and generally has the like this way of communicating very much. Monitoring and the beginning. It's what he's a tricky. So, what we do is, we provide money to bring in the baking tools. For instance, we have a Looking-Glass which means that the sooner they can actually look at the routing table of every router indeed. Meaning that we also give the ability to the students to perform achievements such as king or trade routes. And finally, we have a DNS server. So the students, they can use domain names instead of IP addresses,

Students who are not familiar with routers and switches. So what we do is we provide them with documentation that they lured for demeaning, turn it, Perhaps even to not round your own meeting tonight. It's actually quite simple. Go to Alligator page and cloned coat. Photos of documentation, which mainly allows you to install, all the software components, then try to define the old apologies for that, we provide size for sample. This internal links, config file, which lies its Define, which two writers are connected together. And what the

band with Elias Alyssa file for the external links between multiple choice, which we used in our previous iterations in the lecture some time. And hopefully your internet is still running. Fish that we are at the end of a short presentation and be happy to answer any questions. All right, so we get a few questions actually that being coming up the slack Channel return to you. So the first question is, what minimum system requirements are required for running to pick up cos in terms of Ramsey and some other things.

We can't hear you. I cannot hear you. Text, I can take over. Can you try again? But that's Can you find video sound to the maximum? I think it's the problem. You just too low loudest. Doesn't work. I'll maybe you just fill gas station over. Show photo requirements. I think that depends catalogued and have lodged in the slide. If you had a picture of a flight, 256 264 cross, but smaller components can be used like a TV. All right. So second question is regarding the meeting tonight, scan the host from different network in Stacks,

you stuck with components and containers and you can replace different parts of the meeting tonight. I would say that. Like for like testing purposes of things, we mainly built to be teaching goalie night at the moment. So, we might not guarantee that we have sex for teaching purposes as long as the basics. Barroca think it's already great, but indeed in theory it's possible to replace using at the stacker, another article and read about texting. Now, actually

didn't read the whole one, but it was indeed about this takes. The third question is, do you want to teach students how the internet can break easily, either by simple attacks solar beam Actually it's Matrix like something you easily see that entire part of it? It's red and student start to ask her, what is wrong with that one group? No longer 50fx amphibious actively start to hijack. A part of the group destinations I can start with D. Barker at the speaker.

They would like the person who lost without you would like to know whether the footage is delousing. The platform can be somehow connected to the internet. And I think so that's actually goes from us to to ask in the future when we don't have the support that I didn't she ever you just have to reach like interfaces for Athens. Alright, well, I want to thank you for your great work and it's not just great, where he's also one of the heavier heaters over the last two DC. Are you

sure? So. Thank you for making City Hall. Thanks to your work. Hello. Hello, guys. Thank you for visitation list. So her boss isn't the stormers and Tobias here. So don't let us do want to cover the second try. Yes, can you hear me? The weather now? OK. So yes, it's a morning session for the questions and answers just posted on the block, or if you prefer on the Q&A, which was supposed to be the first option but I think most people using the slack. So let me start the questioning,

bring up some questions from before so what can use it for GM's? Will mention that are the features. So what day you supposed to maybe more importantly, what you cannot support using the internet. Indeed, as well. As we mentioned yesterday, we can, we can support additional features in the me than it actually. Depends on what's the software that we use. Can you pause for instance, music, for rotting, or the routers? And if I running, actually can see parts of different Stickman riding. If you wanted to say my routing,

and she wants to wear because it's actually really easy to integrate all the different things. Since it's already integrated, buy a 14f Heritage and the same thing goes for a open, the switch for the switches. So, all of these can be integrated into, we are working on that. Actually, 14 course, we cannot do the things that that great in those tools. And that's, that's hard to keep secrets. Yes, but experts in general. We can read each other stuff there. I don't have an example of what she cannot. Do, someone mentioned

the Wi-Fi Malaysian yesterday, we can a frenchton simulate dealer packet, loss this kind of thing, but, but it's still going to be your future links and stuff like that. So it could be one of the first year. Date of the one concern about the internet and the real internet services. That is such a thing as a real internet is about scalability stabilize, meaning internet, Yes, sir, we have configuration size and you can Define your own to call Reggie and

chili. If you use a legal to put a g, like the 60s is the bridge in the one we use last semester, then you need to have a relatively powerful server. So we know what we use a server with 24 cords and But this is because when you want to run such topology door actually Henry's of Brothers, Henry the switches and we discussed that are running with one Survivor now. You can probably go even further than that she can have maybe even though we are actually thinking about that could be to have two different instances of the midnight in two different servers and connected together.

We even larger topologies so we are working about that but for our networking course like having like 60 or 80 and season already and I also recalled it possible to use it for the church as well. So can you Of course I do, the biggest impact we all do. We switch occasionally, throw other people, but in reality, we spend most of their time doing our own research. So, so those who want to get excited about me internet, from the research perspective, what can you use it for? Yeah, I'm so yes and did. You could also use it for a

note 7 design for that can actually help these shoes or whatever you want her getting big and then you weren't busy. And then you see, why would she want to she wants Princeton's to check it? I don't know like security. If you text that the traffic goes where it shouldn't go and you want to do it in your lot, in your sort of large-scale and want to see what's going on. You could do that as well. So yes that's just an example of what you can do and I believe that you can do more if you want to

Just to mention that she want to start looking. For some performance is a regarding Princeton's. If she wants when she wants, it might not be the right to read because you are a single server. So how does this could be the right? I thought if they want to add anything from your side so you can picture of like policy so different teaching me policy system and they want to see how it at the convert restaurant and distribution in. And I think they remove some of the overhead at the app for the teaching like LA or to network you might not

care or like beat you because I'm running. Probably half a hundred 280ss but they are small with each van can fix this way.

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