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Measurement-based protocol design

Project Description

The increasing concerns about the modification of Internet packets as they travel across the network has led to a rapidly increase in the use of encryption to protect end-user privacy [1]. At the same time, network operators and access providers, especially in mobile networks, have come to rely on the in-network functionality provided by middleboxes. This presents a need for significant architectural changes to the way Internet applications are designed to use the network [2], the need for new approaches to the way network transport protocols are designed [3], and the need to find solutions that enable the Internet to continue to be managed by network operators [1].
Aberdeen University has a track record of successful development of new protocol mechanisms for the Internet, and the successful candidate will join the Internet Engineering research activities at the University, This project will explore the opportunities to use an experimentally-driven measurement-based approach based on the availability of large scale measurement data (e.g., from utilizing data that can be collected from the mobile broadband testbed, MONROE [4]).

The project will focus on using the collected data to inform design decisions for new protocol designs [5] that can enable new techniques to be incrementally deployable across the increasingly heterogeneous network and are appropriate to applications that by default are designed to encrypt end-to-end protocol information. The new methods are expected to align with the architecture proposed in new Internet protocol standards.

The successful candidate should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a UK Honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Electronic Engineering; Computer Science; Software Engineering

Essential background: Minimum Higher Second Class Undergraduate Degree and preferably post-graduate degree in Electronics or Computer Science. Experience with the Internet Protocol Stack and network protocols is essential.

Knowledge of: A strong background in networking technology is important. A prospective candidate must have a good understanding networking, and is expected to develop detailed understanding of Internet transport technologies and internet measurement. This must be supported by a proven ability to program in C and/or C++. The successful applicant will work with computer tools for network simulation, protocol implementation and/or analysis of testbed data from actual deployed equipment..


Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct person for processing.


Informal inquiries can be made to Professor G Fairhurst () with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ().

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project, it is for self-funded students only.


[1] G. Fairhurst, C. Perkins, “The Impact of Transport Header Encryption on Operation and Evolution of the Internet” ,Proposed standards work item, IETF Internet Draft, Work in Progress, 2018.

[2] T. Pauly, Ed, “An Architecture for Transport Services”, Proposed standards work item, IETF Internet Draft, Work in Progress, 2018.

[3] G. Papastergio, et al, “De-ossifying the Internet Transport Layer: A Survey and Future Perspectives”, IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials, 2016. DOI: 10.1109/COMST.2016.2626780

[4] O. Alay, et al, “Measuring Mobile Broadband Networks in Europe, RAIM, 2015,

[5] G. Fairhurst, et al, “Measurement-based Protocol Design”, European Conference on Networks and Communications, 2017,

How good is research at Aberdeen University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 38.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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