Fathom: A Browser-based Network Measurement Platform

Abstract : For analyzing network performance issues, there can be great utility in having the capability to measure directly from the perspective of end systems. Because end systems do not provide any external programming interface to measurement functionality, obtaining this capability today generally requires installing a custom executable on the system, which can prove prohibitively expensive. In this work we leverage the ubiquity of web browsers to demonstrate the possibilities of browsers themselves offering such a programmable environment. We present Fathom, a Firefox extension that implements a number of measurement primitives that enable websites or other parties to program network measurements using JavaScript. Fathom is lightweight, imposing < 3.2% overhead in page load times for popular web pages, and often provides 1 ms timestamp accuracy. We demonstrate Fathom's utility with three case studies: providing a JavaScript version of the Netalyzr network characterization tool, debugging web access failures, and enabling web sites to diagnose performance problems of their clients.
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Submitted on : Monday, June 17, 2013 - 10:53:29 PM
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Mohan Dhawan, Justin Samuel, Renata Teixeira, Christian Kreibich, Mark Allman, et al.. Fathom: A Browser-based Network Measurement Platform. ACM Internet Measurement Conference, Nov 2012, Boston, United States. pp.73-86, ⟨10.1145/2398776.2398786⟩. ⟨hal-00835038⟩

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