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ISOC selected Lebanon Chapter project “CoMIQuaL" for funding

posted May 28, 2013, 4:09 AM by Isoc Lebanon
May 23, 2013. The ISOC Community Grants Program Committee has selected the Lebanon Chapter project: “CoMIQuaL: Collaborative Measurement of Internet Quality in Lebanon” for funding in the amount of USD 9,965. The project’s Principal Investigator is Marc Ibrahim, Assistant professor at Saint-Joseph University and member of ISOC Lebanon Chapter.

The CoMIQuaL project will establish a neutral, transparent, distributed and collaborative platform for measuring the service quality of Internet access of mobile and ADSL users in Lebanon. Measurements will be periodically performed by agents installed as applications on users’ mobile and computer devices. A central server will aggregate all the measurements statistics, generate quality indicators (QIs) for each location and ISP/Mobile operator, and publish the QIs using users’ friendly visualization techniques.

The project will be carried by ISOC Lebanon Chapter in close collaboration with two Lebanese institutions: the Faculty of Engineering at Saint-Joseph University and Berytech-Beirut IX, with the possibility of partnering with additional Universities. Saint-Joseph University will be leading both research and technical implementation of the project. Berytech, which hosts the Internet Exchange Point (IXP) of Lebanon, will facilitate the hosting and managing of the measurement server in the IXP.


Ultimately, the project will build a collaborative, independent and transparent observatory that quantitatively assesses the Internet Quality in Lebanon from the user’s perspective.  By providing quality measurements, the project wants to encourage and help providers to enhance their services and the Lebanese government to accelerate the transition to the broadband Internet. Hence, all Internet community in Lebanon will benefit from such a project. Moreover, the research community could use this platform to make more advanced measurements requiring cooperation between agents (e.g. tomography techniques).

The project is neutral, transparent, distributive and collaborative since any mobile internet user can host an open source agent on his device and participate in the service quality measurement process. This software approach takes advantage of the widespread of smartphones and laptops and reduces drastically the cost of deploying dedicated hardware probes.

The large majority of users in Lebanon are connected via ADSL and mobile Internet access technologies. Over the last 2 years the Lebanese Internet market benefited from a series of long due enhancement and significant increases in international bandwidth, ADSL speed and capacity and the deployment of 3/3.5 G. The enhancement in Internet capacity resulted in a healthy competitive Internet market and the end users benefited from a diversity of Internet access offers from the mobile operators and ISPs. Nonetheless the end user experience is mixed, varying from significant improvement in quality of service, to random quality or deterioration in service quality. So, we identified the need for a third party to assess from neutral grounds and with objectivity the Internet access quality and its compliance with the providers’ Service Level Agreements (SLA).

CoMIQuaL Project is intended to be that neutral, independent and objective monitoring system that would quantify the Internet access performance via a set of predefined quality indicators. By locating the measurement agents solely at terminal devices, the project focuses on the end-user experience independently of any quality information from the provider network. We believe that such monitoring system will:

  • Provide the ISPs, mobile operators and government with valuable quality of service data to assist them in the diagnostic of the contention points and problem and the enhancement of their quality of service (radio coverage, resource allocation …).
  • Help new Internet users in choosing their provider according to their location and needs.
  • Provide existing subscribers with performance evaluation tools, hence increasing their awareness of Internet service quality.
  • Contribute to the evaluation of the progress towards true broadband Internet in Lebanon.

To our knowledge, no such platform exists in Lebanon. RIPE NCC is currently deploying RIPE Atlas (https://atlas.ripe.net/), a worldwide network of probes that measures Internet connectivity and reachability. RIPE Atlas is collaborative but relies solely on hardware probes that are connected to users’ home or corporate networks. The French project Grenouille (http://grenouille.com/) is based on a similar approach to our proposed project, and proposes a “weather service” of the net. By collecting end users measurements, Grenouille is able to track the performance of different broadband access offers in France. A more advanced approach adopted by the C’MON project consists in correlating users measurements in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis of service degradation. Both C’MON and Grenouille focus on fixed broadband access. For mobile internet, netradar (http://www.netradar.org/) and sensorly (http://www.sensorly.com) are two mobile applications that measure the Internet quality and share the measurement results with a central server where quality statistics can then be view on maps.

For more information please contact Marc Ibrahim marc.ibrahim@hotmail.com

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