Mobility and Networking Research - Projects
To invent & research technologies that make Microsoft’s networks, services and devices indispensable to the world
This list is always incomplete. For the latest information, visit web pages of individual researchers.
- Bunker: A Privacy-Oriented Platform for Network Tracing
Bunker is a network tracing system that offers strong privacy while simplifying the development of network tracing software. With Bunker, network operators can perform network tracing based on the following two-step usage model:
VoIP over Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly popular. However, the high energy costs of Wi-Fi present a significant barrier to the widespread adoption of VoIP over Wi-Fi. Cell2Notify is a practical and deployable energy management architecture that addresses this issue by leveraging the cellular radio on a smartphone to implement wakeups for the high-energy consumption Wi-Fi radio. More generally, Cell2Notify provides a mechanism to send notifications to phones using an incoming call's caller ID.
- Context Data OS
CONDOS is a mobile OS designed to embrace context with two main aims. First, not only apps, but also core OS services can subscribe and respond to context changes. Second, OS-managed context offers tighter quality control of user experience, resulting in lower battery impact and privacy exposure of raw sensor data.
- CSIP: The Cloud Services Infrastructure Project
The Cloud Services Infrastructure Project
We propose a variant of TCP, DCTCP, for data center networks. DCTCP leverages Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) and a simple multibit feedback mechanism at the host. With commodity, shallow buffered switches, DCTCP delivers the same or better throughput than TCP, while using 90% less buffer space. Unlike TCP, it also provides hight burst tolerance and low latency for short flows.
WiFi multicast suffers from several well-known problems such as low datarate, high losses and unfairness. We designed and prototyped DirCast system to solve many of these problems. DirCast requires no changes to the 802.11 MAC or the wireless APs. Software changes are required on clients only if they wish to participate in multicast sessions. DirCast minimizes the airtime consumed by multicast traffic, while simultaneously improving client experience.
Profiling energy consumption of smartphone apps faces a unique challenge: asynchronous power behavior, where the effect on a component’s power state due to a program entity lasts beyond the end of that program entity. Eprof is the first fine-grained energy profiler for smartphone apps. By applying Eprof to popular apps such as Angry Birds, Facebook and Browser, we find that 65%-75% of energy in free apps is spent in third-party advertisement modules and most of the energy is spent in I/O.
The GreenUp project provides a comprehensive energy/sleep monitoring and seamless wake up solution for a corporate network environment. Machines can be allowed to aggressively go to sleep safe in the knowledge that they can be seamlessly woken on-demand whenever they are accessed. By allowing machines to sleep more often significant energy savings can be achieved. Energy savings and usage can be readily monitored on the client as well as via a central database.
- HomeOS: Enabling smarter homes for everyone
To simplify the management of technology in the home and to simplify the development of applications in the home, we developed and open-sourced an operating system for the home. Our operating system, called HomeOS, provides a centralized, holistic control of devices in the home. As part of MSR's Lab of Things project, HomeOS code has been downloaded more than 7,000 times, used by more than 100 student developers and as a prototyping platform in several undergraduate and graduate IoT classes.
Inception is a system that improves the security of commodity virtualization systems in the face of attacks from rogue guest VMs. To address this threat, Inception disables all virtual devices not critical to running VMs in the cloud, and narrows the remaining ones by eliminating all their functionality not needed for the cloud.
- Indoor Location
Indoor Location is the next big challenge for location on the phone. We are taking a variety of unusual approaches to innovate in this space, including using inertial sensors that are now readily available on smartphones, audio-based techniques, and techniques that don’t rely on any installed infrastructure, such as our Virtual Compass system.
- Lockr: Better Privacy for Social Networks
Today’s online social networking (OSN) sites do little to protect the privacy of their users’ social networking information. Given the highly sensitive nature of the information these sites store, it is understandable that many users feel victimized and disempowered by OSN providers’ terms of service.
There is often a need to contact a person by a particular time of day or while the person is at a particular location. mCommunicator is a web service that enables the users to select the best channel of communication with another person for a particular circumstance. The user only needs to be concerned with creating a message content and specifying preferences for message delivery. mCommunicator thus enables flexible cross-platform communication.
- Mobile Application Diagnosis
Mobile Application Diagnosis is an important problem for app developers. We have found that there is a huge gap in understanding how applications are failing in the hands of users and translating that into reproducible errors in the lab. We are building a system called MobiBug to tackle these problems.
- Mobile Assistance Using Infrastructure (MAUI)
The Mobile Assistance Using Infrastructure (MAUI) project enables a new class of cpu- and data-intensive applications that seamlessly augment the cognitive abilities of users by exploiting speech recognition, NLP, vision, machine learning, and augmented reality. it overcomes the energy limitations of handhelds by leaveraging nearby computing infrastructure.
- Mobile Motion Gaming
Seeking to offer Kinect-like experiences using only mobile devices, leading to new mobile gaming experiences. Key technical achievements include development of fast, accurate and robust phone-to-phone distance measurement system, and a 3D phone-to-phone measurement techniques. Several innovative games, including SwordFight, have been prototyped.
- Multiplayer Mobile Gaming
We are taking mobile gaming to the next stage, which is fast action multiplayer over wireless networks. Such games need accurate and scalable matchmaking, which our Switchboard service delivers. We have also built lightweight services for relay transport and rendezvous, both part of our Project Hawaii services. We are also building a multiplayer game to showcase the benefits of our research, code named Firetrails.
To detect, infer, diagnose, and recover from faults in enterprise wired and wireless networks.NetHealth: is a network management research program in which end-hosts cooperatively detect, diagnose, and recover from network faults. Unlike existing products we take a end-host centric approach to gathering, aggregating, and analyzing data at all layers of the networking stack for determining the root cause of the problems. NetHealth includes several on-going projects in the wireless and wired space
- NetMedic: Detailed and understandable network diagnosis
NetMedic helps operators perform detailed diagnosis in computer networks. It diagnoses not only generic faults (e.g., performance-related) but also application specfic faults (e.g., error codes). It identifies culprits at a fine granularity such as a process or firewall configuration. Our work focuses on both the algorithmic aspects of detailed diagnosis as well as the important task of explaining diagnostic reasoning to the operator.
Handling failures is the most challenging task for datacenter network operators. Resolving failures requires heavy human intervention, resulting in prolonged failure recovery times. Different from previous works, NetPilot mitigates failures by deactivating or restarting the offending components. NetPilot avoids the need for exact failure localization by using an intelligent trial-and-error approach. We show that NetPilot can mitigate the commonly encountered failures in datacenter networks.
- Network Verification
We are building a set of tools for dealing with network security and reliability. The tools allow to statically check networks and to dynamically test networks using automatically generated probe packets. Our tools include Batfish that checks routes created by routing protocols against network policies, Network Optimized Datalog that is a version of Datalog tuned to header spaces, and SecGuru that is used in Azure to check network access restrictions and consistency of routing configurations.
- Networking Over White Spaces (KNOWS)
The next generation of wireless networks will include software defined radios, cognitive radios, and multi-radio systems which will co-exist harmoniously while operating over a very wide range of frequencies. Under the umbrella of the KNOWS project we are revisiting "classical" wireless networking problems and designing new solutions that incorporate and build upon recent advances in software and hardware technologies for networking over the recently opened white spaces spectrum.
- Phone-to-Phone Gaming
We are working on developing novel games that utilize continuous 3D localization. Our solution for achieving high-speed 3D continuous localization takes advantage of the suite of sensors available on commodity phones, and is capable of achieving centimeter-level resolution.
- Phone-to-Phone Locational Action Gaming
We investigate new types of gaming apps on mobile phones: High-speed, locational, phone-to-phone games. The goal is to develop games such as a real-time, face-to-face SwordFight game without any external infrastructure. Two players Alice and Bob are located in the same room, and use their phones as if they were light saber swords. Alice and Bob wave their phones; the orientation and location of one phone relative to the other simulates sword striking and blocking.
- PhoneWeb – The Other Social Network
The PhoneWeb project seeks to enable – through the use of new technologies such as Low-Energy Bluetooth, GPS, Low-Power Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi direct, and etc – handheld devices to continuously and accurately discover all the people around it and to create and maintain a local neighborhood map. We also seek to implement new types of local/social applications based on the PhoneWeb infrastructure.
- Project Hawaii
With Project Hawaii, you can develop cloud-enhanced Windows Phone that access a set of cloud services and Windows Azure for computation and data storage. Project Hawaii provides the tools and services; you provide the creativity and imagination.
RADAR is the world's first Wi-Fi signal-strength based indoor positioning system. RADAR proves that RF fingerprinting and environmental profiling with commodity wireless LAN hardware can be used to determine user and machine location inside buildings, thereby enabling indoor location-aware applications (think - "Indoor-GPS")
Seawall provides new ways to share the network in datacenters.
- Self Organizing Wireless Mesh Networks
Community-based multi-hop wireless networks is disruptive to the current broadband Internet access paradigm, which relies on cable and DSL being deployed in individual homes. It is important because it allows free flow of information without any moderation or selective rate control. Compared to the large DSL and cable modem systems that are centrally managed, mesh networking is organic — everyone in the neighborhood contributes network resources and cooperates.
TestMyNet is a free utility for Windows Phone 7.1 created by MSR. TestMyNet tests TCP upload and download bandwidth, checks for open and closed network ports and http compression settings.
- The CHOICE Network
To the best of our knowledge, Choice is the world's first Wi-Fi based public-area hot-spot network. It is also the worl's first dumb AP, smart switch wireless LAN architecture. Choice's unique edge-server based architecture includes support for network discovery, global authentication, user mobility, differentiated services, first-hop security, and location/context services. The underlying techniques became the basis of many commercially deployed hot-spot and enterprise networks.
UCom (or Universal Communicator) was the first multi-radio wireless system to show that wireless system performance and functionality improves significantly when multiple radios work in conjunction in the same network. It proved that such systems are more dependable, more flexible, and allow more innovation than traditional single-radio wireless systems.
- VanLan: Investigating connectivity from moving vehicles
Our goal is to enable cheap and high-throughput wireless connectivity to moving vehicles in urban areas.
VirtualWiFi helps a user connect to multiple IEEE 802.11 networks with one WiFi card. It works by exposing multiple virtual adapters, one for each wireless network to which connectivity is desired. Virtual WiFi uses a network hopping scheme to switch the wireless card across the desired wireless networks. Switching between networks is transparent to the applications, such that the user feels she is connected to multiple wireless networks simultaneously.
- Wi-Fi Ads
Delivering Location-Based Content to Clients Over Wi-Fi Networks