Michael Zink of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and his graduate student Cong Wang received the Best Research Paper Award at the second Global Environment for Network Innovation (GENI) Research and Educational Experiment Workshop, held from March 21 to 22 in Salt Lake City, Utah. GENI is a national research and education network for exploring future internets at scale, that is, similar in size to the current Internet. The title of the winning paper wasGENI WiMAX Performance: Evaluation and Comparison of Two Campus Testbeds.” Go to Geni workshop website: geni.GREE2013.

Besides Zink and Wang, the authors of the best paper were Fraida Fund, Thanasis Korakis, and Shivendra Panwar of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Polytechnic Institute of NYU. Panwar also received his Ph.D. from the UMass ECE department.

As Zink points out, “we actually have a WiMAX testbed on our campus.”

As the best paper’s abstract explains, “In the last few years, there has been an increasing awareness of the need to evaluate new mobile applications and protocols in realistic wireless settings, and platforms such as the GENI WiMAX testbeds have been developed to fulfill this need. However, wireless testbed users have experienced frustration when straightforward usage scenarios do not consistently agree with the high data rates that are advertised by the wireless technology. This work seeks to clarify the performance characteristics of two GENI WiMAX testbeds under various wireless signal conditions and network traffic patterns. By measuring the performance of several popular wireless Internet applications in two very different wireless environments, we gain a deeper understanding of how a researcher may expect the GENI WiMAX platform to behave.”

Zink’s paper adds that “With this work, we hope to help other researchers design realistic experiments on wireless Internet systems, understand the perceived shortcomings of the GENI WiMAX platform, and interpret their experimental results in the context of the wireless setting in which the experiment was conducted.”

Zink was involved in foundational work for GENI and also serves as a lead investigator for the US Ignite program, a national “innovation ecosystem” for developing and deploying public sector applications and services on ultra-fast, software-defined networks to enhance the next generation of the Internet. Ignite is a virtual online laboratory that allows researchers to experiment in real time and at scale with new networks that may shape what future internets will look like. Ignite builds on important contributions over the past several years by researchers across the nation who participated in NSF’s GENI program.

Here’s the background of the GENI Workshop. The GENI infrastructure is becoming a mature virtual laboratory for exploring future Internet at-scale. It supports at-scale experimentation on shared and heterogeneous GENI resources among multiple users, permits users to do deep programmability throughout the network, and offers collaborative and exploratory environments for innovative research and education. More and more researchers, educators, and students have started to conduct research and educational experiments on the GENI infrastructure. NSF has sponsored more than 15 GENI experiment projects since September of 2010.

Following the successful first GENI Research and Educational Experiment Workshop (GREE2012), the second GREE Workshop was held at the University of Utah. It reported recent progress and shed light on the future direction of GENI from an experimenter’s point of view, and inspired researchers and students to conduct experiments on multiple GENI resources. Furthermore, it provided a communication channel among GENI experimenters for a better understanding of multiple GENI resources. The workshop included a keynote speech, paper presentations, an experimenter panel/open discussion, and tutorials and demos on GENI components. (March 2013)