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The Internet

NETI@Home to Examine Net's Strengths 145

UnresolvedExternal writes "Wired is reporting about Georgia Tech researchers who want thousands of computer users to install their program to help them monitor traffic patterns on the Internet. They plan to use the data to strengthen the Net and unblock bottlenecks."
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NETI@Home to Examine Net's Strengths

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:57AM (#8983376)
    1. pr0n
    2. uninformed babbling by consipracy freaks
    3. iditiotic blogs noobody cares about
  • Mac OS X Support (Score:3, Interesting)

    by usermilk ( 149572 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:58AM (#8983388)
    Has anyone tried to compile this on Mac OS X? What were your results?
    • Re:Mac OS X Support (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nasarius ( 593729 )
      How exactly is this a troll? Maroons. Theoretically, it should compile as long as you have libpcap and Ethereal installed.
      • Maroons? Ha ha ha ha ha... ha ha ha ha... *sigh*
      • Re:Mac OS X Support (Score:3, Informative)

        by 47Ronin ( 39566 )
        I tried to compile this and it crapped out during make. Here are some of the last few lines before it stopped:

        In file included from neti.cpp:38:
        neti_netof.h:64:1: warning: "IN_BADCLASS" redefined
        In file included from flows.h:25,
        from neti.cpp:35:
        /usr/include/netinet/in.h:287:1: warning: this is the location of the previous definition
        neti.cpp: In function `int main()':
        neti.cpp:469: error: `suseconds_t' undeclared (first use this function)
        neti.cpp:469: error: (Each undeclared identifier is reported o

  • by Anonymous Coward
    All the spammers want me to install their software to help them get around bottlenecks.
    • Why is that a troll? Sheesh.

      Anyway, I've got to find a way to spoof results so that the lines closest to me appear to be the bottleneck. That way, there will be more money spent on improving my connection, right?
  • by LOL WTF OMG!!!!!!!!! ( 768357 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:59AM (#8983408) Journal
    "Indicate the presence of a large DDoSing group known as 'Slashdot'. We will be looking further into this matter"
  • I'm in! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If it comes with a cool screensaver and can help find extraterrestrial intelligence, I'm in.
  • Just from the story summary, this sounds like a distributed attack.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Just from the story summary, this sounds like a distributed attack.

      Which is exactly why the phrase RTFA was created.

      This project monitors your network performance, not constantly connecting to a single server. This raises privacy issues, but they're gladly doing something about that. There are options as to what you let it send, and the files it sends are stored locally so you can view them.
  • by bigattichouse ( 527527 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:59AM (#8983414) Homepage
    Gee, sounds like gator got into academics.
  • Reduce Load (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) * <> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:00AM (#8983418) Homepage
    Well taking spam is put at between 30-50% of email usage how about getting rid of that for a start? Of course easier said than done

    • Re:Reduce Load (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cexshun ( 770970 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:01AM (#8983435) Homepage
      And when you also take random port scanning into account, one could easily estimate at least half of all internet traffic is either spam or port/vulnerability scanning. Get rid of both of these and connection speeds will jump!
    • If nothing else, it might help to identify the real sources of spam in a way that reading through mail headers doesn't do. I'm assuming, of course, that there will eventually be mapping tools for the data GaTech collects.
    • I remember reading somewhere that 80%-90% of web traffic is generated at about 20 sites on the net. If that is actually true (and given how much traffic is sent to places like Yahoo/Google/MSN I believe it's possible) it's plain to see that there will be bottlenecks. Perhaps the data would assist in finding them more quickly and updating those routes.

    • Spam may be 50% of email usage, but how much of the net's traffic is email? Keep in mind that a spam message is around a few kilobytes. Even if you get 500 spams per day, that is a stunning figure of about one meg of traffic.
    • It's not hard. It's just getting John Aschcroft of his fucking high horse and getting him to do some actual work.

      Steven V.

    • Let's take the upper estimate there, call it 50% of all email is spam.
      Looking at my mailbox, average size of spam: 10k
      Average size of ham: 32k
      Most estimates put SMTP traffic at about 1% of all TCP packets on the internet, and TCP is about 90% of all traffic.
      So, 50% * (10/32) * 1% * 90% comes to about one tenth of one percent of total traffic being spam. It's annoying as all heck, but it has nothing to do with any kind of congestion or significant use of network resources.
  • Wouldn't spam be the first place to look at and lockdown? Or am i missing something?
  • I don't think so... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drfishy ( 634081 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:00AM (#8983431)
    Folding@Home is my distributed computing effort of choice.

    How is this more worthwhile than that?
    • I doubt NETI@home will use a significant amount of your CPU time.
    • by bungley ( 768242 )
      Well, from what I read this doesn't whore your cpu, so there's nothing stopping you running both simultaneously.
    • by lambent ( 234167 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:20AM (#8983635)
      Different people value things differently.

      For example, a concerted effort to improve the quality of the net infrastructure could lead to more efficient distributed computing platforms, which means that eventually someone would write an improved folding program.

      It's akin to an old computer science problem ... you can start a heavily computational algorithm now, and waste your time, or wait a few years for computers to be many times faster, and then do the parts of the calculation that you put off in a fraction of the time. Or wait a little longer ...

      So, some people do the work now, and others work to improve the systems we use to do work. Seems worthwhile to me.

      Personally, I run chessbrain [].
    • there are lots of other really cool distributed computing projects here [] Most people I know only know about SETI@home and maybe Genome@home or Folding@home. I'm at GIMPS.
  • and the resources (Score:5, Insightful)

    by __aahlyu4518 ( 74832 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:01AM (#8983434)
    and the financial resources to unblock those bottlenecks are raised with the money they make from selling those 'traffic patterns' to anyone who bids...
    • Re:and the resources (Score:4, Informative)

      by espo812 ( 261758 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:33AM (#8983808)
      According to the article:
      The data collected by NETI, sans anything that might personally identify volunteers, will also be made available to other network researchers and the general public on the NETI website. As the project picks up speed -- currently there are only a few dozen volunteers -- they expect to make the data available in real time.
  • by Nick Driver ( 238034 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:01AM (#8983438)
    If you're going to run any of these kinds of distributed clients, then you should run Folding@Home [] instead. The fruits of this work might just help save yours or a loved one's life someday.
  • by eltoyoboyo ( 750015 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:02AM (#8983448) Journal
    Maybe it can battle SETI@HOME, Kazaa, and Norton Antivirus for all of my CPU cycles, disk bandwidth and network bandwidth. It will not even leave me enough power to compose all my correspondence in notepad.

    Don't just give those cycles away! Sell them! []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:02AM (#8983449)
    Arggh Its every geeks worst scheduling nightmare! Do I want the aliens or the faster pr0n. Dang what a scheduling conflict.
    • I want both... ...faster downloads for bootleg copies of "XAXZZATHL Does Gamma Sector 5".

    • They do not conflict.

      A SETI and NETI@home clients do not interfere in each other, as they do not consume the same resources.

      SETI just wants to eat all your idle CPU time, and little bandwith exchanging data and result.

      NETI is light on resources (at least they say so), should consume minimal (near 0%) cpu and very small bandwidth to report the data collected.
    • I long ago concluded that SETI@home is a waste of time. Sure, it's cool, but the fact is the project has no hope of detecting broadcast signals unless they're very close, and the odds of an alien civilization beaming a signal at us and our radio telescopes looking in the right direction to catch it are very slim. At least with Folding@home my contribution will have real-world benefits.
  • SETI is great and conjures images of space.

    NETI delves the inner resources of your nose. []
  • by Scorchio ( 177053 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:03AM (#8983462)
    Researchers at Georgia Tech are concluding their two-year distributed analysis of network usage, concluding that most bottlenecks were, in fact, caused by NETI@Home traffic.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:04AM (#8983466)
    Internet traffic composition:

    49.7% 0
    49.7% 1
    00.6% Other
    • Re:NETI@Home results (Score:3, Interesting)

      by photon317 ( 208409 )

      Actually, I would bet that the 0's and 1's are not evenly distributed, considering how much of packet contents are unencrypted text, and that the protocol headers are bound to have bias, as are the assigned IP addresses that are most heavily used, etc...
    • Re:NETI@Home results (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sepper ( 524857 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:37AM (#8983849) Journal
      For those who wanted to know what the 'Other' might be []

      IEEE 1164 std_logic
      'U' Uninitialized
      'X' Unknown
      '0' Logic 0 (driven)
      '1' Logic 1 (driven)
      'Z' High impedance
      'W' Weak 1
      'L' Logic 0 (read)
      'H' Logic 1 (read)
      '-' Don't-care

      I Have an exam involving this stuff (VHDL) Tomorrow... so I thought some of you might want to know... (But i'm sure most of you just '-' )
      • Uh oh (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Raul654 ( 453029 )
        I hate to tell you, but U,X,W et al are virtual simulator states - they only exist when you simulate your VHDL code. Once you synthesize them into hardware, it's either a 1, 0, or indeterminant (in rare when you measure it as it is crossing the threshold). Good luck on your exam ;)
    • 00.6% Other

      Only if there's robots out there having nightmares...
      "1's and 0's everywhere... and I thought I saw a 2!" -- Bender, "The Honking" (Futurama season 3).
  • In a joint venture with the pr0n industry Jenna creates a network dedicated to increasing the pr0n industry 10 fold.
  • sounds like something as inocent as an installer for spyware. Just hope pop-ups don't start happening after I load it.
  • Tin Foil Hat Time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CygnusXII ( 324675 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:11AM (#8983540)
    Ok Call me crazy, but somehow I see this information, crossing the boundry and making it off the reservation. One clever Hack, is probably all it would take. Better yet I see, the University as a Governmentally Funded Entity, somehow coerced by the Dept. of Homeland Security, into passing over the Data, or The program being Co-opted into some sort of Covert monitoring Utility, with a Cleverly conceled Opt-In, hidden in an Streamlined Update.

    Want a good way to spot all those Heavy Bandwidth, Warzer's and P2P Traders? Also how long before the Data gets Mined for some purpose, as well. No matter how, well intentioned, and no matter what they say, about their privacy, settings, it can be Co-opted, if someone wants the information.
    • Exactly what I was thinking... an exploit is found and/or marketing researchers get ahold of the data to create more annoying banners and popups. The article did say that the results would be available to anyone.
    • I'm not sure you really need to worry about this, I don't see how it gives any extra capabilities. If you are trading stuff, obviously you are somehow advertising its presence, otherwise no one would know to copy it from you. You don't need special spyware to determine what is available for trade, the programs that facilitate the trading can find the sharers.
  • Faster? (Score:5, Funny)

    by akeyes ( 720106 ) <[akeyes+slashdot] [at] []> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:13AM (#8983560) Homepage
    They want to figure out how to make the Internet faster and more reliable, but to do that they need to gather data from tens of thousands of personal computers around the world.

    So, they want to make it faster by having people send out and receive more data.
  • and you could tell who hasnt patched their machines.
  • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:17AM (#8983599) Homepage Journal
    just looked at their THIS AIN'T SPYWARE, RILLY! page. Well, what else is it but that? Of course it is, just for their claim to be a benevolent purpose, it's "whitehat" spying to be totally fair about it. But, we don't know if any "blackhats" will get the information over to the university, or--well, if any foreign states might have an interest in it and some of the juicer info gets transferred to some other places that might have a different idea on what to do with the information. Could be, anyone who's seen the demographics at most unis would have to agree, and tech has a lot of students that might have loyalties other than what is publically presented here. Just a note, but it's valid.

    The high security setting is the one I predicteth gets used the most by people who run it, for obvious reasons.

    hmm, probable bottlenecks. Whenever the latest mega worm hits you'll see which routers choke easiest. Massive constant traffic from owned and zombiefied end users home machines, that should be fairly random and even. Pockets/areas where file sharing is still big. And places with a derth of fat pipes obviously.

    Interesting project, but I will have to think on it some if I want to run it. Also, maybe I am not seeing it, but it doesn't seem to have any info on how much of your machine it uses, I see the operating system requirements,installation, etc, but not the resources required. Anyone see that? My apologies if I missed it.
  • by heironymouscoward ( 683461 ) <[heironymouscoward] [at] []> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:17AM (#8983601) Journal
    One of the defining characteristics of the Net seems to have been its ability to defy planning and design.

    Even simply "increasing capacity" without addressing specific bottlenecks is often a waste of time. Look at the heavy investment in fibre-optics, most of which lies unused as new technology squeezes more and more out of existing cables.

    Call me a cynic, but such projects sound more like fun for research grants than useful for real life.

    My humble opinion of the Net is that it is a largely a self-steering phenomena that feeds on change and technology cycles. Since you can't predict change, and you can't prevent the technology cycles that cause it, it's meaningless to hope to plan this.
    • I disagree, I think the extra information might be valuable. As an analogy, suppose you could put instrumentation in cars to determine how people drive. With this information you might be able to simulate a road system, and perhaps determine which light timings maximize traffic flow. Maybe traffic is too complicated for something like this to work, and certainly building a new mall will change traffic patterns, but you have to collect the information and try it before you know for sure.
  • I read the Wired article, looking for more details on how NETI@Home actually worked, or at least how much overhead it would add to the average computer and/or nrtwork connection. Of course there was no technical information at all. It's starting to look like a lot of fluff.


  • An army of packet sniffers from around the world. Hmmmm. Hope these super powers stay in the hands of do-gooders...
  • NEWSFLASH! (Score:3, Informative)

    by hyperstation ( 185147 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:24AM (#8983690)
    if you're that concerned about spyware, READ THE *SOURCE* and see what it does!

    it's not like you're being asked to install a random binary and run it 24/7....
    • Re:NEWSFLASH! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ghengis ( 73865 )
      I agree with you. Being able to read the source sets my mind at ease. The only problem is that the general public will not read the source. They will just remain paranoid, because many cannot understand the source. Another potential problem is someone altering the source to skew the results. This is one reason why they need *alot* of people to do it... so that someone doing this source hack has less of an impact on the total results.
      • both of your points are valid:

        The only problem is that the general public will not read the source. They will just remain paranoid, because many cannot understand the source.

        i believe that ignorance and the lack of motivation to learn is a very poor excuse...however some of us can understand the source right now, and the say-so of the learned will be what those who don't read the source have to go on. i myself don't plan on doing this - i have far too many other pressing things.

        Another potential probl
      • Most people don't research and verify things on their own, they believe someone they trust. It doesn't matter if you can't evaluate open source code if someone you trust can. With proprietary code, you have to trust the company that writes the software. With open source code you can trust that a lot of people will look over the code, and if they find anything fishy, they'll eventually get the word out.
    • That is a good solution with one flaw. Most people can't read the source because most are not programmers. The ones that need to run this are the ones that cause the problems, click on everything, by from SPAM, get in fected with virii, and infested with adware/malware. This would highlight the biggest problems. Otherwise it won't help much of anything.
    • My universty email address gets as much spam as any of my other addresses. In my school's case, I am willing to bet that a someone either sold or hacked the email db. That someone could be a student, Uni. employee, or whatever. Giving a University any data about me voluntarily does not seem like a good idea. Good source or not.


  • Neti sounds all well and good but has anyone tried nest [] a SETI inspired look at corruption online cool visualiser stats and a world map to place yourself in the chinese whispers ring. will hardly solve problems but may entertain when all else is going wrong.
  • From Wikipedia:

    Strictly defined, spyware is computer software that gathers information about a computer user without the user's knowledge or informed consent, and then transmits this information to an organisation that expects to be able to profit from it in some way.

    Ok, this is not spyware - strictly defined and mentioned on the NETI@home webpage in every second sentence.

    There are a lot more usefull distributed computing projects out there (folding@home for example), and why is everyone starting such
    • You seem to question the reasoning behind their idea... Its called QoS or Quality of Service. and I'm bet you're right, ISPs do it & won't give away their #s. So thats the point, independant QoS tests. Once you start thinking of the Internet as infrastructure & not a service, it makes a lot more sense.

      Imagine if instead they were offering a little box that you plug into your wall and then into the internet. It will measure just about everything, from voltage fluctuation to how many watt hours you dr

    • From Wikipedia: Strictly defined, spyware is computer software that gathers information about a computer user without the user's knowledge or informed consent, and then transmits this information to an organisation that expects to be able to profit from it in some way.

      Ok, this is not spyware - strictly defined and mentioned on the NETI@home webpage in every second sentence.

      Strictly defined by a user of Wikipedia. I could, of course, redefine it to contradict your point if I wanted to.
  • Reducing net bottlenecks would require eliminating the profit motives of the Tier-2 and Tier-3 ISP's. It is impossible to run a profitable ISP that does not over-subscribe lines AND charges what most people seem willing to pay for broadband ( Europe connections and the single large North America Australia connection. These aren't things some academics studying net usage reports are going to be able to solve, they are purely based on economics.
  • YETI@HOME (Score:4, Funny)

    by strictnein ( 318940 ) * <> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:55AM (#8984060) Homepage Journal
    Where's YETI@HOME? How can we ever hope to find all the lost Yetis?

    ahh... here it is: []
  • Except I'm using a Mac you insensitive clod!
  • Should I really care all that much if they're sniffing me? I mean, I assume everyone is sniffing me, which is why I encrypt most everything...
  • Not In My BackYard (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sciop101 ( 583286 )
    When does research data become intelligence data? If research data shows a possible criminal pattern, is NETI(Georgia Tech) responsible to report to the authorities/law enforcement? Can Georgia Tech afford not to report? In this day it is refreshing to find researcher naivete. "to make the Internet faster and more reliable" "where it will be analyzed and made available to anyone else who wants to use it for their own Internet improvement projects"
  • would be Prune Juice.

    Prune Juice will set you free!
  • Simpson says, "I would imagine it would be quite embarrassing for a major ISP if they were found to have the worst connections."
    Says I, "I imagine it would be quite interesting to see how fast major ISPs block NETI."
  • by mu_wtfo ( 224511 ) * on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @11:31AM (#8984524) Homepage
    NETI@home apparently uses CAIDA's "NetGeo" database to map network addresses to geographic locations. However, the NetGeo home page [] proclaims (in big red type):
    NOTE: NetGeo has not been actively maintained for
    several years, and this will probably not change in the foreseeable future. As a result, there are several known major issues affecting accuracy and service availability. Please be warned that NetGeo may give wildly incorrect results, especially for recently allocated or re-assigned IP addresses.

    That might make it just a bit useless, no?

  • I emailed the NETI admin requesting (suggesting) a Mac OS X version. This is the exchange I had. Apparently his email has been slashdotted by the Mac population.

    On Apr 27, 2004, at 11:38 AM, George Riley wrote:

    David, I've been inundated with MacOS requests! Yep, we'll take a look at it ASAP.
    George F. Riley, Assistant Professor
    The School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech

    On Tuesday, Apr 27, 2004, at 11:25 US/Eastern, David Bingham wrote:

    I am willing, interested and able l
  • by spaeschke ( 774948 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @11:58AM (#8984907)
    You have to install three seperate programs and jump through hoops in order to install this NETI, software which is essentially just voluntary spyware in the first place. Even if someone were so inclined to help out, what makes these people think they'd be willing to go through so much BS for something that really doesn't benefit them at all? You can always tell when techies put out a software package by themselves; it'll technically work and perform it's function quite well, but the user's experience always takes a back seat. Hmm... sounds like a certain OS that will go unnamed.
  • When I checked up on Neti@home, the site said they use NatGeo for their location data. When I followed the link to NatGeo, I found a message at the top of the home page stating that the site had not been maintained for several years (emphisis thiers) and that the data might be wildly inaccurate. It seems that might undermine at least some of the goals of the project.

  • "If we start noticing that many NETI@home users are receiving anomalous traffic, that could be an indication of the spread of an Internet worm, or some other sort of attack," Simpson said. "If the clients were distributed enough, one could even see which parts of the world are attacked first and then possibly use the data to track where the worm seems to have originated from."

    But I am behind a firewall. My computer will never see this type of traffic. The firewall does not pass it (heck, it does not pass
  • Internet tracking program. Honest! It works! How many viruses are going to pop up after something like this launches proclaiming to be the real thing?
  • 100% of computers on the internet send packets to NETI@Home. Researchers are astonished.
  • Check out their technology [] page:

    "These members, representing a cross section of the Internet population, give comScore explicit permission to confidentially monitor their online activities in return for valuable benefits such as server-based virus protection, improved Internet performance, sweepstakes prizes, and the opportunity to help shape the future of the Internet.

    comScore technology is downloaded to any browser in a matter of seconds and unobtrusively routes each participant's Internet connection

  • I'm doing research into the traffic patterns of large hairy animals named Bigfoot. I'm calling it YETI@home.

    My hypothesis is that Yeti is really CowboyNeal.
  • Here's the man file entry

    neti - a network statistics gatherer

    is a network statistics gatherer, blah, blah, blah.

    This is the next paragraph.


  • Just to ditto an earlier comment, another distributed computing project that folks should consider is Folding@HOME [] - you can run that standalone, or as part of the Google ToolBar Compute [] which is super-easy to setup if you are allready using the Google Toolbar.

    The Hulkster []

  • If they really want to help end bottlenecks on the net, then make a smaller download!
  • NETI@home (Score:3, Funny)

    by ENOENT ( 25325 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @05:01PM (#8989393) Homepage Journal
    I am all in favor of a project that attempts to find intelligent life on the Internet.

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.