I sent a similar mail out a couple of years ago and greatly appreciate the
response I got. Time and entropy have done their dirty work, so we're looking
for a few (more) good hosts.
We've been running a moderate sized (30 node) overlay network and general
network research testbed for the last 4 or 5 years. The testbed started
as part of the Resilient Overlay Networks project at MIT, and has evolved
to support a variety of research by about 15 network researchers at a
number of institutions. At this time, the primary institutions involved
in the testbed management are MIT, CMU, NYU, and the University of Utah.
(Regular NANOG attendees may know Nick Feamster from some talks he's given
about routing and automated tools for managing and debugging sets of
router configurations. Nick's the MIT contact for the testbed these days.)
Our major goal for the testbed is to have access to a "realistic" set of
Internet paths - we want to make sure that network research actually takes
place in the real world, not a perfect isolated environment. Which is where
nanog comes in...
What we need is a machine we can place on your network. We will be
happy to give you the machine (a PC), which you can use as well for
your own work. Ideally, it is best if you can place it outside your
firewall (if you have one), since that may simplify logistics at your
This PC will run a FreeBSD kernel provided by us; all you need to do
is to configure (or DHCP) an IP address, and we'll be all set. The
machine will have a 10/100 Ethernet interface.
We have two options for bandwidth usage. If you'll let us, we'd love
to be able to consume a fair bit of it from time to time. Some of our
researchers are experimenting with data transfer protocols and more
efficient ways of shipping things (like news) around the 'net.
However, if you're bandwidth constrained, we do a lot of measurements
and other low-bandwidth experiments that benefit greatly from just having
a fairly non-intrusive presense.
We'd love a BGP feed, or even internal routing feeds, for data collection.
We won't be sniffing packets on the network, etc. and we will work to ensure
that the machine is as secure as we can make it - most services will
be disabled, and the running services will be firewalled, and
we'll keep the machine up to date with security patches. (No problems
yet, fingers crossed...)
What you get in return:
a) A locally hosted stratum 1 time source that you're welcome to use
or let your clients use. Our machines are CDMA synchronized.
b) Our eternal gratitude, love, and acknowledement (and participation /
input, if you are interested!) in our research.
This also involves free beer if you swing by Pittsburgh.
c) One of our goals is to create tools that run on the testbed that
are useful to their hosts for things like distributed debugging,
or the aforementioned BGP configuration debugging tools.
We also collect BGP feeds and have a nice interface for searching
through the historical data for figuring out what went wrong
on the 'net at a particular time.
d) Ask! If you have specific network problems/etc., we're always
looking for more problems to solve. Your problems are our dinners;
we'd like to know what they are and try to create solutions.
Please let us know if you can help; we'd appreciate it very much! If
so, could you please tell us if:
1. You prefer a small (1U) rack-mountable machine for us to send you
as a package,
2. If you have, and are willing to, spare your own PC, we can give you
a disk image that you can burn, insert, enter an IP address, and be
good to go.