MonLab: Emulation Platform for Network Wide Traffic Sampling and Monitoring


·         Overview

·        Global Architecture

·        Emulation Service

·        Monitoring and Sampling Service

·        Data Collection and Analysis Service

·        Documentation

·        Implementation

·        Xml GEANT Topology

·        ScreenShots

·        Related Dependencies

·        Related Publications

·        Related Talks

·        People Involved

·        Contact


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Design and Development of an Emulation Platform for Network Wide Traffic Sampling and Monitoring



·         Motivation:

    •  Operators are in need of efficient scalable solutions to monitor their network traffic at high accuracy and low overhead for diverse applications.
    •  The research community is highly active in this area; however this community is facing difficulties in both getting widely collected traces of real traffic and having control of the different real measurement points


  • Objectives:  Providing an emulation platform for network wide traffic sampling and monitoring:
    •  Where users can tune and control the different parameters of their experiments, among which figure the traffic trace source, the network topology, and the sampling rate in monitors.
    •  While simplifying the way users have to describe their experiments to facilitate their reproducibility.
    •  Design the platform in such a way that the developed solutions can be easily exported and tested in a real environment.
    •  Design the platform while keeping in mind that it should be easily extensible and that it should scale for large scenarios. 

Global Architecture

The figure above describes the global architecture of our solution.

  • The two services, traffic monitoring and sampling service and data collection and analysis service could either run on the top of an emulated router within the traffic emulation service or a real router.
    • Enable users to first run and evaluate their monitoring algorithms within a fully controlled environment (based on the emulation service) and second to test and validate them in a real environment.

Traffic Emulation Service Description

·        The figure above describes a zoom on the Traffic Emulation Service.

  • The four modules run in parallel so as to minimize the traffic emulation service’ memory footprint and to enable it to scale to big topologies (example: GEANT’s backbone topology).
  • Dispatching algorithm: Weighted Random based on one hand on the list of weights that the user associates to the different ASes and in another hand on the prefix length specified by the user.
  • Routing Algorithm: the shortest path routing protocol based on the Dijkstra algorithm. Routes are static and can be set up via the XML configuration file.


Example of an Emulated Topology


Traffic Monitoring and Sampling Service Description

Zoom on the Traffic Monitoring and Sampling Service

  • Sampling algorithm: If a user chooses a sampling rate of A/B (A packets among B packets, A < B, B > 0, A >= 0), then every B packets, the sampling module generates randomly a set S of A numbers within the interval [1, B]. Packets with numbers outside the set S are rejected and only the remaining packets are considered for 5-tuple flow construction.
  • Sampling Rate Control server: enables to remotely control the sampling rate.
  • Flow Constructor and Exporter: constructs 5-tuple flows starting from the sampled packets, merges them within NetFlow reports and sends them to the Collector. 

Data Collection and Analysis Service Description

Zoom on the Data Collection and Analysis Service

  • NetFlow reports receiver module: receives and decode the reports sent by the traffic monitoring and sampling service.
  • Flows’ statistics generator and analyzer module: calculates statistics stating from the collected flows (number of packets/flow, etc) and could takes the decision to change the sampling rate in a given monitor in order optimize some measurements.
  • Remote monitor controller module: sends control messages (new sampling rate, monitor address) to the sampling rate control server within the traffic monitoring and sampling service in order to change the monitor’ sampling rate.


Code Design Documentation

(On demand, please send an email to

Updated Source Code (Download).

XML Description File for the GEANT Topology

The GEANT backbone topology


The XML description file of the GEANT backbone topology (Download).


Screenshots(Comming soon)

Related Dependencies

Related Publications

  • Amir Krifa, Imed Lassoued, Chadi Barakat, "Emulation Platform for Network Wide Traffic Sampling and Monitoring", in proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on TRaffic Analysis and Classification (TRAC), Caen, France, June 2010.
  • Imed Lassoued, Amir Krifa, Chadi Barakat, Konstantin Avrachenkov, ‘Network-wide monitoring through self-configuring adaptive system’, in proceedings of IEEE INFOCOM, Shanghai, China, April 2010.

Related Talks

  • Presentation of our emulation platform for network wide traffic sampling and monitoring, University of GENT, Belgium, Aout, 2009

People involved



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