Rethinking Home Networking for the Ultrabroadband Era

Principal Investigator(s): 
Mark Allman

People generally center their lives around their residence. This center of gravity is where we can be contacted, store our things, do our homework, play games, meet after disparate activities, eat our meals, and so on. Our digital lives are, however, not organized around such a hub. Rather, we use a myriad of services to communicate with one another, store pictures, work on documents, share videos, keep our music, deal with calendars, etc. In this arrangement we are the hub. Our content and information comes to us from a range of places to wherever we happen to be at the moment. This user-centric arrangement clearly has its benefits. The flip side of ubiquitous access to our information is a more distributed footprint in the network with users’ information strewn around a variety of services. This naturally leads to the situation where users are not fully in control of their own information, but rely on trusting a bevy of service providers to keep their information private and safe.

With the capacity ultrabroadband residential networks provide we have the opportunity to re-center our digital lives around our residence. This project focuses on two themes. The first theme is centered around an appliance in homes—a “home point of presence”—that provides a variety of services to the users in the house regardless of where they are physically located and hence connected to the network. A base-level service is a “data attic”, or a single place for users to store all their information that leaves them in direct control over the use of their data. Additionally, the HPoP enables re-structuring services to provide better performance and robustness. ICSI researchers introduce infrastructureless CDNs that aim to leverage homes with ultrabroadband connectivity to move us away from delivering content from large service providers and towards massively distributed delivery that is ultimately cheaper and better. Another service researchers will investigate is keeping a shadow copy of the Internet within the home to significantly reduce the latency users experience. While we cannot keep a copy of the entire Internet, ICSI researchers aim to design techniques to approximate this reality for individual residences. The second theme involves monitoring the operational Case Connection Zone ultrabroadband network to better understand how protocols and applications can be extended to work better in such high-speed residential settings.

Project funded by NSF.