Proof of Backhaul: Trustfree Measurement of Broadband Bandwidth

by   Peiyao Sheng, et al.

Recent years have seen the emergence of decentralized wireless networks consisting of nodes hosted by many individuals and small enterprises, reawakening the decades-old dream of open networking. These networks have been deployed in an organic, distributed manner and are driven by new economic models resting on tokenized incentives. A critical requirement for the incentives to scale is the ability to prove network performance in a decentralized trustfree manner, i.e., a Byzantine fault tolerant network telemetry system. In this paper, we present a Proof of Backhaul (PoB) protocol which measures the bandwidth of the (broadband) backhaul link of a wireless access point, termed prover, in a decentralized and trustfree manner. In particular, our proposed protocol is the first one to satisfy the following two properties: (1) Trustfree. Bandwidth measurement is secure against Byzantine attacks by collaborations of challenge servers and the prover. (2) Open. The barrier-to-entry for being a challenge server is low; there is no requirement of having a low latency and high throughput path to the measured link. At a high-level, our protocol aggregates the challenge traffic from multiple challenge servers and uses cryptographic primitives to ensure that a subset of challengers or, even challengers and provers, cannot maliciously modify results in their favor. A formal security model allows us to establish guarantees of accurate bandwidth measurement as a function of the fraction of malicious actors. Our evaluation shows that our PoB protocol can verify backhaul bandwidth of up to 1000 Mbps with less than 8 only 100 ms. The measurement accuracy is not affected in the presence of corrupted challengers. Importantly, the basic verification protocol lends itself to a minor modification that can measure available bandwidth even in the presence of cross-traffic.


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