Today's home networks are a bit of a mystery when end-users wish to know what is `happening on the inside'. This project aims to explore the practicality of leveraging 3D online game technology and/or HTML5/WebGL/WebSockets technologies to provide a more intuitive, qualitative `view' into the state of home networks. Our goal is for end-users to easily observe and adjust the dynamic state of their home network using common laptops, tablets or similar hand held computing devices (such as smartphones).

Prototypes for OpenWRT

The project's original aim was to target sub-$100 consumer gateway boxes running an embedded OS (such as OpenWRT/Linux or FreeBSD), and explore the creation of 3D imagery that represents network state in a meaningful manner. In late 2013 and 2014 our prototyping has focused on OpenWRT -- click here for a page containing screenshots, documentation, usable pre-compiled demo images, source code for building homenet3D into your own OpenWRT environment.

Project Goals

Our premise is that a qualitative, non-technical view of the home network's current state may be created through the use of suitably animated & designed objects in a virtual 3D environment. Furthermore, that network configuration changes might be effected through an end-user's interaction with objects inside the virtual world.

Figure 1

The homenet3d project originally had three aspects:
  • Identify a set of plausibly useful network states and associated 3D visual representations. Identify which protocols can (or should) be used to collect network state.
  • Address the technical challenges of embedding Figure 1's environment server inside a typical consumer gateway
  • Evaluate the performance trade-offs for both the environment server and clients of implementing Figure 1 with L3DGEWorld or HTML5/WebGL/WebSockets (cf. W3bworld).
Network state may not reside solely in the home gateway, particularly if the home network is built from discrete components. We will explore the degree to which the environment server can retrieve network state using existing protocols (such as monitoring broadcast UPnP, DHCP and similar service discovery traffic, etc).

We will also explore possible ways for end-users to configure or alter aspects of their home network configuration via the abstractions presented in the 3D environment.

The performance issues fall into two main categories -- how much additional home network traffic is generated by server-client communications when the home network is being monitored, and how much CPU and RAM is required in both the embedded gateway host and the end-user's client(s). We expect to observe and characterise distinct differences between using L3DGEWorld (requiring a custom dedicated server compiled for OpenWRT, and custom code for each client) or a browser-based HTML5/WebGL/WebSockets approach.

Program Members

cisco logo

This project has been made possible in part by a gift from The Cisco University Research Program Fund, a corporate advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, for a project titled "Low cost home network monitoring using “3D virtual environments".

Last Updated: Monday 14-Jul-2014 10:16:21 EST | Maintained by: Grenville Armitage (garmitage@swin.edu.au) | Authorised by: Grenville Armitage (garmitage@swin.edu.au)