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Measuring Mobile Broadband Networks in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - MONROE (Measuring Mobile Broadband Networks in Europe)

Reporting period: 2017-03-01 to 2018-07-31

Mobile broadband (MBB) networks underpin a lot of vital operations of the modern society and are arguably becoming the most important piece of the modern communications infrastructure in the world. The immense popularity of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, combined with the availability of high-capacity 3G and 4G mobile networks, has radically changed the way most people access and use
the Internet. Given the importance of MBB networks, there is a strong need for objective information about their performance, particularly, the quality experienced by the end user. Such information is very valuable for many parties including operators, regulators and policy makers, consumers and society at large, businesses whose services depend on MBB networks, researchers and innovators. MONROE proposes
to design and operate the first European transnational open platform for independent, multi-homed, large-scale monitoring and assessment of performance of MBB networks in heterogeneous environments.

How does it work?
MONROE will build a dedicated infrastructure for measuring and experimenting in MBB and WiFi networks, comprising both fixed and mobile nodes distributed over Norway, Sweden, Spain and Italy. The
mobile nodes will be placed on trains, busses and trucks, and they will play a key role to understand the MBB performance under mobility. The MONROE nodes will be designed such that they will be flexible
and powerful enough to run most measurement and experiments tasks, including demanding applications like adaptive video streaming. MONROE will design experiments that measure the characteristics of MBB
networks both in terms of performance and reliability.

Main objectives:
1. To build an open and large-scale measurement and experimental platform, targeting MBB networks and WiFi connectivity, distributed over multiple European countries, with multi-homing capabilities.
2. To operate this large-scale platform by providing both maintenance and external user support.
3. To use the platform for the identification of key MBB performance parameters, thus enabling accurate, realistic, persistent and meaningful monitoring and performance assessment of such networks.
4. To achieve a user-oriented closed-loop system design in which the experimental platform is open to external users[1], and where users are incorporated early on in the experimental design process.
5. To provide Experiments as a Service (EaaS), thus lowering the barrier for using the platform to external users, by providing well-documented tools and adjustable, flexible, high-level scripts to execute experiments, collect results, and analyze data.
6. To develop models for sustaining and extending the platform and it’s usage beyond the project budget and project ending.
Active WPs during Year 1 were WP1, WP2, WP3, WP4, WP5, WP6 and WP7.

WP1 (System Design and Implementation) have been concluded and objectives have been reached by the end of the second year. This resulted in a final implementation of all different software components of the MONROE platform.

For WP2(Hardware Design and Software Implementation), the activities are almost concluded. Due to hardware problems described in the second year technical report, the deployment is delayed. This delay is compensated by extending the project by 5 months.

WP3 activities are on track with the design and execution of a high number of experiments from the use case categories defined by the project. These experiments are further provided as EaaS to the experimenters and to the community.

WP4 activities has started during the second year and are on track. The maintenance procedures are defined and implemented and regular weekly maintenance telcos are held.

WP5 has concluded two successful open calls and a total of 90 applications has been received among which 27 is funded. Two user workshops were held and user support activities are ongoing.

WP6 deals with project management, led by Simula Research Laboratory, the coordinator. The overall management of the consortium for both technical and non-technical activities was positive due to the collaborative and active participation of all partners.

Finally, for WP7(Dissemination and Exploitation) we have developed a set of tools, templates and guidelines in order to coordinate and ensure swift dissemination and exploitation. During the first year, MONROE was presented at European Commission events and to the scientific community. The project received a best paper award and a best demo award. The sustainability efforts are ongoing.
MONROE will open up opportunities to products for measuring, analyzing and reporting the performance of MBB networks. The MONROE framework will be used to test and evaluate novel networking protocols and services on a new scale. The platform is well suited to evaluate the performance of networked applications under a wide range of network conditions, while still giving strong control of the testing environment. In particular, the multi-homing aspect of MONROE measurement nodes makes it ideal for experimenting with protocols and services that exploit multiple connections opportunistically, e.g. in parallel or by picking the one with the best available service to increase robustness and performance, or to achieve the best price-performance ratio.
Therefore, by focusing on MBB networks and services, MONROE will simultaneously contribute to the commercial and the societal impact. On one hand, the features of the platform to be developed in MONROE will directly impact the capabilities of developers, researchers, and application and service providers, while, on the other hand, the data gathered using this platform will empower the policy makers, regulators and service customers with critical information towards improved policies and decisions. Hence, MONROE will strengthen the European leadership in the market of MBB technologies while paving the way to measurable user satisfaction in the Internet
for All framework.
One of MONROE’s main objectives is to lower the barrier for using the platform to external experimenters and users, by providing training tools and experiment scripts as EaaS. Using the experimental scripts will also ensure independent, accurate and repeatable, hence reliable experiments. Furthermore, MONROE involves external users in the platform design process and allows the platform to evolve with the feedback of its users. This way, MONROE will also contribute to the development of “best current practice” and “standardized” benchmarking.