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Robust Management of Encrypted Internet Traffic

School of Engineering

About the Project

Aberdeen University has a track record of successful development of new protocol mechanisms for the Internet, and the successful PhD 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 to analyse mechanisms and propose new tolls that will support network operators to manage and protect the safety of encrypted QUIC traffic.

People want and need the benefits of applications that are designed by default to encrypt protocol information. Web technologies, such as QUIC, have emerged to meet these needs, and are expected to see increasing deployed throughout 2020 and beyond. Transport encryption is becoming the norm for the majority of Internet traffic. This growth in encryption is in response to increasing concerns about visibility of Internet header information as packets travel across the network path. Encryption can help protect end-user privacy [1] and can also enable new evolution [2] by preventing the network becoming dependent on specific packet headers.
At the same time, network operators and access providers have come to rely on the in-network observation of packet headers for various operational functions [1][3], such as to assess packet loss, path latency, path variability, and importantly to protect from malicious attacks on performance in an increasingly heterogenous Internet.

This move to encryption presents a need for significant changes in the way Internet flows are measured, and the need to find solutions that enable a next generation Internet to continue to be managed by network operators to protect [4],[5]. There is therefore a critical need to explore new methods and find solutions (e.g., starting from analysis of methods such as [5],[6],[7]) The project will use a measurement-based approach [8] to design new methods and analyse these using tools developed at the University [9] and publicly available platforms (e.g. [10]). The supervisory team has experience in transport protocol design, Internet measurement and Internet standards development [11],[12].

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Electrical Engineering, Computing Science, Software Engineering.

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

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.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV

Informal inquiries can be made to Prof 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

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website. THERE IS NO FUNDING ATTACHED TO THIS PROJECT.


[1] G. Fairhurst, C. Perkins, “The Impact of Transport Header Encryption on Operation and Evolution of the Internet” , IETF Internet Draft, Work in Progress, 2020.

[2] 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

[3] Aranda, Pedro A.; López, Diego; Fossati, Thomas
Analysis and Consideration on Management of Encrypted Traffic

[4] Kühlewind, Mirja; Trammell, Brian; Bühler, Tobias; Fairhurst, Gorry; Gurbani, Vijay
Challenges in Network Management of Encrypted Traffic

[5] Cui, Y.; Li, T.; Liu, C.; Wang, X.; Kühlewind, M.
Innovating Transport with QUIC: Design Approaches and Research Challenges

[6] Trammell, Brian; Kühlewind, Mirja
Revisiting the Privacy Implications of Two-Way Internet Latency Data

[7] Neuhaus, S, Mirja Kühlewind, Tobias Bühler, Brian Trammell, Roman Müntener, Stephan; Fairhurst, Gorry
A Path Layer for the Internet: Enabling Network Operations on Encrypted Protocols

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

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

[10] Trammell, Brian; Kühlewind, Mirja
Internet Path Transparency Measurements using RIPE Atlas

[11] G Fairhurst,

[12] R Secchi,

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