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Verifying Network Performance

Network design is ad-hoc today, and validating the design normally comes as an afterthought. Unlike the design and verification tools of chip and software industry, which have formed multi-billion business, network design and verification are still premature. We are exploring formal and general approaches to guaranteeing network performance, which can later enable network synthesis. This project opens new opportunities, as well as challenges, in the following aspects:

  • Network validation uses formal optimization approaches to give a worst-case guarantee on network performance, such as link utilization and total bandwidth. A challenge here is how to find a metric which can precisely capture the network properties.
  • With the emergence of SDN (software-defined network) and NFV (network function virtualization), the networks today are dynamic. It is common that networks can adapt to changes such as demands shift and failures by rerouting or throttling traffic. Modeling such behaviors usually results in intractable problems, which by itself poses a challenge on solution approach.
  • With the formal optimization approach, we can design a generic framework, which applies to many different validation problems. Further, the very framework can be extended to guiding network synthesis, with cutting-edge techniques drawn from non-linear optimization literature.

We are collaborating with real network providers to explore real-world implementation.


  • Robust validation of network designs under uncertain demands and failures., Yiyang Chang, Sanjay Rao, Mohit Tawarmalani, USENIX NSDI 2017. [PDF] [Slides]


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