Objectives of the Project

Network traffic monitoring and measurement is increasingly regarded as an essential function for understanding and improving the performance and security of our cyberinfrastructure. With networking technologies and services evolving rapidly, as witnessed by the explosive growth of the World-Wide Web, peer-to-peer networks, and the GRID, accurate network traffic monitoring is required to ensure the security and optimize the efficiency of our cyberspace.

To make an analogy from the physical sciences, network traffic monitoring systems are to the networking scientists as necessary as telescopes are to astronomers. Indeed, in the same way that a telescope monitors the outer space and records all interesting astronomic events, a traffic monitoring sensor monitors the cyberspace and records all interesting networking events. It is difficult to imagine where astronomy would be today if Galileo hadn't turned his telescope up towards the distant skies. On the contrary, it is easy to realize how this single monitoring instrument, i.e. the telescope, enhanced our understanding of the outer space, and eventually improved our life on earth. It is our belief that advanced network traffic monitoring sensors can have a similar impact to our understanding of the cyberspace, and can result in a significant improvement of the quality of our everyday lives.

The main goal of the project is to deploy a pilot advanced European Internet Traffic Monitoring Infrastructure based on passive monitoring sensors at speeds starting from 2.5 Gbps, and possibly up to 10 Gbps. Such an infrastructure will serve as a catalyst that will boost our understanding of the Internet and will lead to its better use in the long-run. Passive monitoring at such high speeds stresses significantly the computational, communication, and storage capabilities of the underlying monitoring sensor and poses several interesting research challenges. Fortunately, the FP5 IST SCAMPI project successfully met several of these challenges by designing and developing an advanced Internet passive monitoring system at 10 Gbps that combines novel hardware and software components. Having met the research challenges posed by passive monitoring at 10Gbps, it is proposed to deploy a network of such passive sensors in several key nodes setting the foundations to create a European Passive Internet Traffic Monitoring Infrastructure.

The objectives of the LOBSTER project are therefore to: