AfriNREN is a Computer Science honours project at the University of Cape Town aiming to design and develop a network traffic analysis tool for use by network managers of African National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). The tool will be available as a Web application, accessible by the intended users by the end of the project period.
The network managers and engineers of Africa's research and educational institutions and those of the UbuntuNet Alliance seek to improve the performance of information exchange between these institutions to facilitate the network-intensive collaborative work done between them. Currently, there is a lack of research into effective network data collection and visualisation tools in the context of the UbuntuNet and African NRENs. This research would be useful in that it helps develop tools to facilitate network design, planning and operation and, in the distinct context of NRENs, aids policy makers in the determination of whether the establishment of an NREN between two communicating institutions within the same country is viable.
The intelligent collection of network structure and traffic information from a variety of sources for use in the visualisation.
The design and development of effective interactive visualisations of the network's structure and traffic.
Using the RIPE Atlas platform, Traceroute measurements were conducted with three protocols (ICMP, UDP, TCP) from 12 probes to 50 destination IP addresses. After this analysis was done to identify overlapping paths to reduce packets sent and increase efficiency.
Using Traceroute data collected from the Ripe Atlas platform, a geospatial visualisation was created visualising the network topology of institutions and NRENs in Southern and Eastern Africa. The effectiveness and accuracy communicating the network topology and routes of potential traffic traversal was then assessed.
An interactive visualization dashboard was designed using NetFlow data collected at an African NREN. The visualisation helps African NRENs identify the biggest communication partners that transfer traffic through their network and the characteristics of that traffic.