Report Available! Measuring and Detecting Network Interference in Southeast Asia

This network measurement research aims to show current and past Internet censorship and network interference in media, political criticism, religion, gender and social media networks in South East Asian economies using network monitoring nodes around the region. Additionally a pilot gender gap social audit will be conducted for a marginalized urban community in Malaysia to research and measure non-technical gaps in Internet access such as affordability, Internet literacy, knowledge or rights, and accessibility and availability of gender-related content.

The final technical report is available for review here.

Report Available! Network Coding over Satellite Links: Scheduling Redundancy for Better Goodput

Many Pacific islands still rely on satellite for Internet access, using narrowband links with capacities far below those of the networks at either end, carrying mostly TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) traffic. On these links, a large number of TCP senders simultaneously try to adjust their congestion windows to the perceived link capacity: Acknowledgment (ACK) packets prompt congestion window increases; overdue ACKs shrink window sizes exponentially.

The long link latency means that senders thus get an extremely outdated picture of the available capacity, often leading to excessive queue oscillation, where the link input buffer overflows and drains entirely within seconds. Complete drainage means idle link capacity, while overflows impede large TCP transfers.

Our experiments in the islands have shown that sending coded packets with redundancy for a small numbers of such transfers can increase goodput by concealing some overflow tail drops. Under our last two ISIF grants, we built a simulator to investigate coding of all flows for such island links.

This showed that coding is extremely time-sensitive: Coded packets must result in ACKs before TCP retransmits, but must also not hit the input buffer during overflows, a common occurrence in our first generation encoder.

Our previous ISIF-funded project added a delay to the coded packets, resulting in more arrivals and increased goodput when the delay happened to coincide with link capacity. This is a hit-and-miss game, however: coded packets may be sent too late and often still hit queue overflows.

Moreover, when surplus coded packets make it into the buffer, they add to the round-trip-time for all other TCP senders with subsequent packets in the queue. The current project leverages a new feature in our coding software, which lets us distinguish coded packets from “original” packets on the wire. We have implemented a queueing system that only feeds coded packets into the “original” buffer once this queue drains below a configured size, and can now also drop surplus coded packets.

Simulations to date show that this leads to a significant increase in goodput on large monopoly flows over the conventional coding, and we are currently investigating how the queueing system parameters must be best chosen to allow this gain to extend to cumulative goodput of a large mix of flows of different sizes, as encountered on such links.

The final technical report is available for review here.

2020 ISIF Asia Grant recipients announced

ISIF Asia has awarded USD 120,000 to four organizations to support network operations research and development for the benefit of the region.

2020 Internet Operations Research Grant Recipients

Four grants of USD 30,000 each were allocated to four research and development projects focused on the availability, reliability, and security of the Internet, with a particular focus on practical solutions around operational stability and security. The 2020 ISIF Asia Grant Recipients and the main focus of their projects are:

Open Lawful Intercept for Asia Pacific. University of Waikato. New Zealand. To support further development and expand adoption in the Asia Pacific of OpenLI, the only open source software capable of meeting the ETSI standards for lawful interception.

IPv6 Deployment at Enterprises. IIESoc. India. To work collaboratively with a nonprofit industry consortium in the United States, Industry Network Technology Council (INTC), to address the issue of IPv6 adoption at large brick-and-mortar enterprises in the APAC region.

Collaborative Honeynet Threat Sharing Platform. Swiss German University (SGU), Badan Siber & Sandi Negara (BSSN) and Indonesia Honeynet Project (IHP). Indonesia.
This project aims to extend the design of the existing Honeynet Threat Sharing Platform to provide a broader range of honeypot support, a more complete threat database and threat correlation to allow organizations to easily share information with each other in a consistent format in ASEAN economies.

Experiment and improve reinforcement learning algorithms to enhance anomalous network behaviour detection. TeleMARS Pty Ltd. Australia. To research various machine learning algorithms that may effectively monitor, analyze, and detect anomalous traffic at devices connections, and/or anomalous traffic at routers/links. This project will investigate how reinforcement learning algorithms such as GANs would perform against other machine learning algorithms such as classification, statistical and deep learning algorithms.

The APNIC Foundation and ISIF Asia thanks all applicants for sharing their ideas, the Selection Committee members for their hard work, and APNIC for their generous funding contributions for 2020.

Report Available! Honeynet Threat Sharing Platform

This project, led by Charles Lim from the Swiss German University in Indonesia, in collaboration with Indonesia Honeynet Project and Badan Siber dan Sandi Negara.

With the continuous rise of cyber security threats, monitoring security potential threats and attacks become essential to plan for cyber defense. Honeypot, a decoy system designed to lure attackers, has been used to track and learn attacker’s behavior. Collecting attacker’s interactions with honeypot at different location inside different organization’s premises provide useful and more complete picture of the landscape of current cyber security threats. The log of the attacks to the honeypots become an essential cyber security threat information that could be shared to many of the security incident analyst at different organization to provide a relevant and contextual threat intelligence.

The objective of this research was to provide a sharing platform for any organizations in Indonesia (later can be applied to ASEAN and/or Asia Pacific countries) to share security threats information collected using honeypots in the relevant organization in the related countries to other organizations in Asia Pacific. To start with, the research began to develop and share the security threat information collected from different provinces to all related organizations in Indonesia.

The project is open to any researchers (men or women) who is interested to help building better security posture in their respected countries or any Asia Pacific countries. This is the first time we combine research effort between government, education institution and cyber security community to build a security threat information platform. The completed project is expected to bring significant contributions to raise not only the participation of security threat information contribution but also the overall potential security posture of the Internet in Asia Pacific.

The final technical report is available for review here.

Congratulations to the ISIF Asia Grantees for 2019

This year ISIF Asia selected 6 organizations in the Asia Pacific to receive USD 20,000 to support research and development of Internet technologies for the benefit of the region. The ideas they submitted for the 2019 call for proposals highlight the main technical, operational and development issues that concern the Asia Pacific Internet community and concrete solutions to address them. This year’s funding round marks our 11th anniversary of operation in the Asia Pacific, and a total of USD 120,000 was allocated.

The application process this year, as the topics for our grants get more specialized, attracted highly relevant proposals and highlighted how a variety of stakeholders are working towards the development of the Internet. We see those as great indicators about the relevance of ISIF Asia as a mechanism to support the development of the Internet across the region. We received 70 proposals from 17 economies.

The funding will be distributed among organizations representing Private Sector (1) and Academia (5) across 5 economies: Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and New Zealand.

We are confident the outcomes of their work will continue to support an open, stable, and secure Internet that serves the needs of the people in our region.

2019 Network Operations Research Grants

  • Modelling and identifying IP address space fragmentation pressure points. Curtin University. Australia. USD 20,000
  • Honeynet Threat Sharing Platform. Swiss German University (SGU), Badan Siber & Sandi Negara (BSSN) and Indonesia Honeynet Project (IHP). Indonesia. USD 20,000
  • Implementation and Utilites of RDAP for wider usability among Internet Stakeholders. University of Malaya. Malaysia. USD 20,000
  • Network coding over satellite links: scheduling redundancy for better goodput. The University of Auckland. New Zealand. USD 20,000

2019 I4D Powering Internet Infrastructure Grants

  • Telemetering the telltale signs of power issues of wireless internet relays. Rural Broadband – AirJaldi. India. USD 20,000
  • Network Remote Powering through Quasi-Passive Optical Nodes. Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University). Australia. USD 20,000

The 2019 I4D Award was not granted this year, instead one additional grant under the Network Operations Research was allocated.

The APNIC Foundation and ISIF Asia thanks all the applicants for sharing their ideas with us, the Selection Committees members for their hard work to arrive to this great outcome, and to APNIC for their generous funding contributions for 2019.

2019 Call for Grant Proposals and Award Nominations Extended until 21 June

ISIF Asia has extended the deadline for the 2019 Call for Grant Proposals and Award Nominations Extended until 21 June midnight UTC.

This year ISIF Asia will allocate USD 115,000 in funding across 2 categories.

Five grants and one award will be allocated to projects that have a clear development outcome aligned with the focus areas and that demonstrate a concrete contribution to research and/or implementation of Internet-based solutions, Internet operations, Internet infrastructure, technologies and protocols within the Asia Pacific region.

2019 Grants

The Internet Operations Research Grants will support research focused on the availability, reliability, and security of the Internet, with a particular focus on focus on operational stability and security. The research outcomes should aim to expand access to knowledge, expand coverage for research applications and maximize the benefit to the community. Three small grants of USD 20,000 USD will be allocated, for a total of USD 60,000 in funding. 

The I4D Powering Internet Infrastructure Grants will support the research and development of software and/or hardware solutions that can improve the stability and reliability of how Internet infrastructure is powered. This includes but is not limited to solar, wind, and hydraulic solutions used to provide Internet access in remote areas, during disasters, or to power other infrastructure such as IXPs, root servers, datacentres, etc. The monitoring of batteries and their consumption, energy efficiency tools, the management and administration of micro-grids will be considered for this call.  Two small grants of USD 20,000 will be allocated, for a total of USD 40,000 in funding. 

To know more about each of the grants categories and apply, check the focus areas, eligibility criteria and guidelines provided.

2019 I4D Powering Internet Infrastructure Award 

The 2019 Internet for Development Award will be given to one organization working on research and development of software and/or hardware solutions that can improve the stability and reliability of how Internet infrastructure is powered. This includes but is not limited to solar, wind, and hydraulic solutions used to provide Internet access in remote areas, during disasters, or to power other infrastructure such as IXPs, root servers, datacentres, etc. The monitoring of batteries and their consumption, energy efficiency tools, the management and administration of micro-grids will be considered for this award. The award includes a cash prize of USD 3,500 and a travel grant to attend the Internet Governance Forum 2019 in Berlin.

To know more about the 2019 Award and apply, check the focus areas, eligibility criteria and guidelines.


APAN 46 Best Student Paper Award Went to ISIF Asia Alumni

Lei Qian, team member of ISIF Asia 2017 Grant recipient – Coding Internet satellite links for better goodput under bandwidth and latency constraints, was awarded APAN 46 Best Student Paper at Auckland, New Zealand.

APAN (Asia Pacific Advanced Network) meeting and research workshops provide global research and education networks with an environment to exchange research ideas, best practices, and real-life applications in the broad field of all working groups under APAN. In APAN 46 in 2018, Best Student Paper was selected based on the technical merit and significance of the paper. Lei Qian presented in the research workshop to introduce their project ‘Stimulating Satellite Internet Performance on a Small Island’ and went home with the Best Student Paper Award. His presentation slides can be found here.

Leading by Dr. Ulrich Speidel, the ‘Satellite Internet’ project focused on establishing realistic satellite simulator of UDP flows, and automated experiments run on non-coded and coded configurations in small remote islands at South Pacific. This satellite simulator is able to improve the dominant Internet transport protocol TCP that usually underperforms in remote islands. To find more details about their project on the technical side, read their paper submitted to APAN 46.

The Final Technical Report for their ISIF Asia 2017 grant was published in January 2019. It builds on their previous work also funded by ISIF Asia during 2016 and 2014 (download reports in PDF). To learn more about the work of the Systems Development and Evaluation Group of the Computer Science Department at the University of Auckland, follow their blog.

Drawing Synergies Between Community Networks and Community Radios – ISIF Asia Sponsored CNX 2018

In October 2018, Internet Society (ISOC) and Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) concluded the 2nd edition of the Community Network Xchange (CNX) 2018 event in New Delhi, India. ISIF Asia honoured to be one of the sponsors, CNX 2018 events focused on ‘Synergies Between Community Networks and Community Radios in Promoting Public Wi-Fi Access in Asia Pacific Countries’ and welcomed representation from nine countries in Asia Pacific, and more than 30 community network providers, community radio stations and practitioners across India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Argentina, and South Africa.

The representative Ronel Vincent from ISIF Asia 2018 Award winner, University of the Philippines, attended CNX 2018. “Our recognition at the 2018 Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF) Asia Award for Community Networks inspired us to continue our work in this space and to collaborate to other community networks all over the world,” said Ronel Vincent. “Representing the team and the Philippines, CNX 2018 was a great venue to share best practices, ideas and possible issues regarding community networks. The possibility to connect rural sites to community radios was also discussed in the exchange,” he added.

Community Networks are communications infrastructure that are built, managed and used by local communities to provide a sustainable solution to address the connectivity gaps in remote areas. So far, DEF has established community networks at more than 140 locations across 15 regions, including Baran in Rajasthan, Guna in Madhya Pradesh, Nuh in Haryana, Asoor in Tamil Nadu, Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh and Nagaon in Assam. The Community Network Exchange event launched as a platform to promote the creation and growth of Community Networks, increase collaboration between community network operators in the region, and to provide an opportunity for them to engage with other stakeholders such as content producers, regulators and policymakers.

CNX 2018 also followed by Digital Citizen Summit (DCS) 2018, and an immersive training on Community Wireless Networks in Guna, as part of Community Network Champions (CNC) program. CNC is a certificate programme for community network providers across the globe to gain hands-on experience in the operation and management of community networks.

Support ISIF Asia to win one of the WSIS Prizes 2019 on International and Regional Cooperation: Vote by 10 February!

ISIF Asia has provided key funding, mentoring and visibility for the work that innovators and researchers across the Asia Pacific are doing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, integrating Internet-based technologies to tackle community challenges.
The program work is based on international and regional cooperation among funding partners committed to Internet for development. The program has supported research and implementation projects that are helping to advance the knowledge and understanding required to design and maintain reliable, efficient and secure Internet networks as well as
projects promoting affordable access to services and applications that have a positive impact in a community.
The ISIF Asia program has also supported women’s participation and leadership across the Internet industry.
If you’d like to show your support for the work ISIF Asia does, take a moment and vote for ISIF Asia in the WSIS Prizes.

About WSIS Prizes

The WSIS Prizes contest serves as a mechanism to evaluate and recognize individuals, governments, civil society, local, regional and international agencies, research institutions and private sector companies for outstanding success in implementing development-oriented strategies that leverage the power of ICTs.
ISIF Asia was recognized as a Champion in 2018 and we hope to get a prize this year on the 10th anniversary of WSIS!

How to vote

Register on the WSIS platform and vote for one project on each of the 18 WSIS Action Lines categories.
The voting phase is open until 10 February.
The 18 winners will be announced and presented with an award at the WSIS Prizes ceremony during the WSIS Forum 2019, 8-12 April 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland, while the remaining 72 will be recognized as WSIS Champions during the special ceremony dedicated to their achievements.
Thank you for your ongoing support of ISIF Asia.

ISIF Asia Alumni Are Getting Recognised For Their Great Work

ISIF Asia former award and grant recipients recently won prestigious international recognition, giving the credit to their continuous dedication of time and effort to empower disadvantaged communities.

Vashkar Bhattacharjee of YPSA Bangladesh, ISIF Asia 2014 Award winner, has been awarded UNESCO/Emir Al Ahmad al Jaber Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities 2018 at UNESCO, Paris, France on Monday, 3 December 2018. This Global prize was given to him in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the empowerment of persons with disabilities through the application of ICT to access information and knowledge. This is the first time a Bangladeshi has received the prestigious award, according to press release of Bangladesh Embassy. Vashkar’s project introduction can be found on ISIF Asia website here

At the 3rd Commonwealth Digital Health Awards 2018 held at Colombo on 12 October, ISIF Asia 2015 Grantee – ‘Telemedicine Program’ of Dhaka University won the Award in Telemedicine category for their outstanding contribution to develop healthcare quality in rural areas of Bangladesh. Director of the program, Dr. Khondkar Siddique-e Rabbani, received the award on behalf of DU. The Telemedicine Program is being conducted by the Department of Biomedical Physics and Technology of Dhaka University. They developed low-cost Telemedicine systems with diagnostic equipment to facilitate the healthcare in low-resource rural areas in Bangladesh. Refer to their technical report on ISIF Asia website here to know more about their outstanding project.