CAIDA proposes a collaboration to simultaneously solve three acute and growing problems facing the Internet: a self-reported financial crisis in the Internet infrastructure provider industry; a data acquisition crisis which has severely stunted the field of network science; and a struggle for survival within emerging community and municipal networks, who are in an ideal position to address the first two problems but often lack resources and experience to make informed operational decisions, and are also continually threatened by incumbent-driven legislation.
We propose an experiment to build a cooperative national backbone to connect select community and municipal networks to each other, and to the global Internet. Peering would be conditionally available to county, state, and federal government entities, academic institutions, and community wireless initiatives. The conditions are two-fold: (1) the attached networks must make select operational data available to Internet technology and policy researchers under appropriate legal data sharing frameworks; (2) the attached networks must agree to cooperatively develop and abide by policies based on confirmed results of empirical data analyses.
The proposed experiment -- Cooperative Measurement and Modeling of Open Networked Systems (COMMONS) -- carefully addresses the three highlighted problems, and without federal regulatory involvement, which is still feared to be a cure worse than the disease(s) even by the regulators themselves. First, by offloading from commercial providers the responsibility for supporting Internet service delivery in unprofitable areas, we will measurably improve the financial situation of these providers. Second, COMMONS offers an unprecedented opportunity to establish standards of scientific integrity in the field of Internet research -- by providing rigorous empirical data against which to validate theories, models and simulations. Furthermore, because the COMMONS testbed will support public analysis of actual Internet traffic, it will inform debates on increasingly important technical, economic, policy, and social issues related to the Internet. Third, the COMMONS project not only allows struggling community networks to cost-share a financially daunting component of their operation, but it also provides a forum for the cooperating networks and the research community to share lessons learned with eachother.
In 2008, the paper "The COMMONS Initiative: Cooperative Measurement and Modeling of Open Networked Systems" was published in the CommLaw Conspectus, providing an overview of proposed COMMONS project and the workshop.
Cooperative Measurement and Modeling of Open Networked Systems (COMMONS) proposal
Muni Wireless Conference, Digital Inclusion Day BOF
December 12-13 2006 at the San Diego Supercomputer Center on the UCSD campus in La Jolla, CA.
The COMMONS Workshop Final Report is also available.
LANs, MANs, & Beyond: Community Intranets & the COMMONS Project.
Alternative Telecommunications Policy forum
Internet measurement: what have we learned?
- caida's blog: "according to the best available data"
- commons-discuss -- "commons" proposal and project discussion mailing list
Property, Commons, and the First Amendment: Towards a Core Common Infrastructure
White Paper for the Brennan Center for Justice (March, 2001)
Managing IP Networks with Free Software
Stephen Stuart and Joe Abley tutorial at NANOG26
The COMMONS recommended reading list
Articles and documents relevant to the COMMONS project are gathered as recommended reading.
- Cisco-funded support