#networking #coordinates #distributed #p2p #p2p-communication #vivaldi

vivaldi-nc

Vivaldi network coordinates for fast, distributed latency estimates in multinode networks, with a clean and simple interface

22 releases

0.6.12 Mar 8, 2024
0.6.11 Oct 24, 2023
0.6.10 Sep 29, 2023
0.6.8 May 15, 2023
0.6.6 Mar 30, 2023

#534 in Network programming

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vivaldi-nc - Vivaldi Network Coordinates

Rust Version docs.rs builds.sr.ht status Crates.io Crates.io Crates.io

Introduction

Network Coordinates (NC) are a way to represent a node's position in a network's latency space. Nodes with low latency (ping or round trip time) between each other will be close to each other. Nodes with high latency between them will be far from each other.

This is an implementation of Vivaldi Network Coordinates, a specific NC algorithm, with a simple interface and few dependencies. Vivaldi coordinates are typically used in distributed networking applications, like p2p networks. They allow each node in the network to estimate its position in a latency space in a distributed way, with no central authority. This enables nodes to understand estimated latency to any other node in the system.

According to the Vivaldi coordinates article on Wikipedia:

Vivaldi Network Coordinates establish a virtual positioning system that has a prime use in networking. The algorithm behind the system uses a distributed technique to estimate propagation times between peers in the network.

Through this scheme, network topology awareness can be used to tune the network behaviour to more efficiently distribute data. For example, in a peer-to-peer network, more responsive identification and delivery of content can be achieved. In the Azureus application, Vivaldi is used to improve the performance of the distributed hash table that facilitates query matches.

Advantages

  • Vivaldi is a fully distributed scheme, which achieves good scalability.
  • The Vivaldi algorithm is simple and easy to implement.

Drawbacks

  • Vivaldi is based on the Euclidean distance model, which requires the predicted distances to obey the triangle inequality. However, there are many triangle inequality violations (TIVs) on the Internet.
  • Lack of security design, very easy for malicious nodes to conduct various attacks.

Citation: Frank Dabek, Russ Cox, Frans Kaashoek, Robert Morris (2004). "Vivaldi: A Decentralized Network Coordinate System" (PDF). Proc. of the annual conference of the Special Interest Group on Data Communication (SIGCOMM'04).

Addressing the Drawbacks

Regarding the two drawbacks mentioned by the Wikiepedia article, quoted above:

  • Euclidean distance: The original paper proposed a height vector model which is superior to the Euclidean distance. This crate implements the height vector model. This provides reasonable accuracy and convergence while remaining simple to implement.
  • Lack of security: This is not addressed by this crate. Anyone sharing network coordinates among nodes in a network should use appropriate cryptography.

Usage

Getting Started

Add the crate to your project:

cargo add vivaldi-nc

Each node in the network should create a NetworkCoordinate (NC). The node uses this structure to track its latency position in the entire network.

use vivaldi_nc::NetworkCoordinate;

// create a 2-dimensional NetworkCoordinate to track my position
let mut my_position = NetworkCoordinate::<2>::new();

Normally 2 or 3-dimensions is plenty. Higher dimensions may add some accuracy, but not enough to be worth the extra costs.

Each node occasionally sends its NC to other nodes. Upon receiving a NC from a remote node, update your local node's position with the actual measured ping time to that node.

my_position.update(&remote_position, Duration::from_millis(measured_rtt));

Over time your NC will get more and more accurate as it's updated against more nodes in the network.

You can estimate your ping time with any other NC you receive, even if it was forwarded to you indirectly.

let rtt_estimate = my_position.estimate_rtt(&remote_position);

That's the entire interface for creating and iteratively updating NCs.

If you want to save/restore NCs, or send/receive them over a network, you'll want to serialize/deserialize them. NetworkCoordinate supports Serde by default. Many formats are supported by Serde, including text formats like JSON and compact binary formats like bincode and MessagePack.

See the module documentation for more detailed usage examples.

Cargo Features

By default, the internal data structures and operations all use f64, which is slightly faster on modern architectures. If you want to use f32 instead, you can enable it as a cargo feature:

[dependencies]
vivaldi-nc = { version = "(version)", features = ["f32"] }

Examples

The repository includes an example which loads a 490 node N-to-N latency sample from PlanetLab and iterates on NetworkCoordinates until some low-enough mean error is reached. The output is a JSON array of elements which contain the NC's position, its height (or stem latency estimate), and its estimation of error (lower is better) that look like this:

{
  "position": [
    5.563593,
    -2.332495,
    7.3957834
  ],
  "height": 55.56651,
  "error": 3.241348
}

Adding some detail to these three fields:

  • position: Estimated position of this node (or NetworkCoordinate) on the network core. Think of this like the node's endpoint into the Internet backbone. This is a cartesian coordinate in a multi-dimensional latency space (in this case 3D), measured in milliseconds.
  • height: Estimated stem time, which is the time from the node itself to the backbone. So, for example this might represent the latency between your node's actual location, like your home, and the point at which it gets into the highest-speed, core part of the Internet. Height helps adjust for triangle inequality violations, which are common on the Internet.
  • error: Estimated error of the current position, and height. Lower is better.

To run the example, first clone the repository locally:

git clone https://git.sr.ht/~swaits/vivaldi-nc

Then cd into the local clone and run the example:

cd vivaldi-nc
cargo run --example planetlab

Dependencies

One design goal of this crate is to minimize dependencies. When dependencies are required, I try to be very selective about them (re: bloat and licensing). This crate depends on:

  • rand: I started with nanorand; however, this is faster because of rand::thread_rng(); whereas with nanorand we ended up needing to reimplement that same functionality through something like lazy_static! plus Mutex, which is not worth it for a few percentage points of performance.
  • num-traits: A brilliant crate which makes it easier to operate on numbers in generics; like using Float as a constraint on a generic type. Its convenience outweighs its cost.
  • serde: I think NCs are usually meant to be shared across a network. That requires serialization/deserialization and serde is the choice for that. It might be big, but it's efficient.
  • serde_with: Because the inner Vector<T,N> uses a const generic length, we use this to help derive Deserialize.
  • array-init: Makes the array operations for the internal Vector so much nicer. Once we have feature(array_zip) stabilized, we could use that instead. Until then, this works well with zero performance impact.
  • cfg-if: Compile-time only macro which makes using cfg parameters much nicer in code.

Design Goals & Alternatives

Several crates implemented Vivaldi NC before this one. So, why another?

I had several design goals which the existing crates didn't satisfy, in order of priority:

  1. Provide the simplest interface possible. I just want to have some sort of Coordinate struct and be able to update it, and then use it to estimate round trip times (ie ping times).
  2. Don't require the consumer to bring their own vector or linear algebra library. The linear algebra required by this is extraordinarily simple. I want it to just work without me needing to inject some large, mostly-unused library.
  3. Serializable/Deserializable by default. These things are useful for sending across networks. The intent is to be able to do that without a bunch of rigamarole. Support serde traits by default.
  4. Well documented. Well tested. This varies in the existing crates.
  5. Performance. While it's a low priority, it should be reasonable. The library currently does about 10,000 NetworkCoordinate::update() calls per millisecond on my Macbook Pro (Intel i7-9750H (12) @ 2.60GHz).

Other Vivaldi NC Implementations

All of that said, those other rust implementations might work best for you. Here are the ones I know of today:

Other NC Algorithms

Vivaldi is about the simplest distributed NC algorithm out there. That simplicity combined with its reasonably good performance is a reason why it's popular.

But it's far from the only choice. Here are links to other NC algorithms:

Search your favorite research paper index for "network coordinates" and you'll find many more.

Getting Help or Contributing

To get help or discuss this crate, submit a ticket or post on vivaldi-nc-discuss@.

Discussion related to development or patch submissions should go to vivaldi-nc-devel@.

If you want to contribute code enhancements, fixes directly, you should create a free account on Sourcehut, clone the repo, and then use the UI to send patchets over.

Otherwise, you may send patchsets via git-send-email or through the sr.ht UI (easiest IMO).

Patch submitters implicitly agree that all contributions they submit fall under the MIT license.

License

MIT License

Copyright (c) 2023 Stephen Waits

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

Dependencies

~1.3–2MB
~42K SLoC