Hardware/Computing Resources in NSL

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The Network Systems Lab is well-equipped to conduct networking and multimedia research. The figure below depicts some of the computing resources available in the Network Systems Lab.


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Contents

Mobile TV Testbed

This testbed is used to evaluate several of our algorithms that aim to improve mobile TV quality and usability. We configure a commodity Linux workstation as our streaming server as well as IP encapsulator that converts a video over IP stream into a MPEG-2 traffic stream. This Linux workstation also hosts a PCI-based DVB-H modulator card that is connected to an in-door antenna. We currently use a few Nokia mobile phones as TV receivers, which enables us to gather several performance metrics such as video quality, CPU loads, and energy consumption (battery-life). In particular, this testbed consists of:

  • An Intel Quad-Core Xeon E5420 (2.5 GHz) PC running Ubuntu Linux.
  • A Dektec DTA-110T DVB-T/H Modulator and UHF Upconverter for PCI Bus.
  • A Nokia N-92 mobile TV phone.
  • Open source IP encapsulator software from http://amuse.ftw.at/downloads/encapsulator .
Mobile TV Testbed


Wireless Sensor Testbed

The testbed is used to implement and test our coverage and connectivity protocols for wireless sensor networks. It contains:

  • 10 sensors model xxx
  • software

Access to PlanetLab WAN Testbed

PlanetLab is composed of several hundred machines distributed all over the Internet. We are a member of this testbed. We use this testbed to test the systems that we develop in realistic environments. For example, our pCDN system was tested with thousands of clients distributed over a few hundreds PlanetLab nodes.


Servers and Cluster

There are several decent servers in our Lab, as well as a cluster of machines for conducting large-scale experiments and simulations.

  • nsl: Lab web and file server. Has more than 2 TB of (RAID) storage. It has 8 cores (4 cores per processor), 8 GB memory.
  • nsl-cpu: Fast compute server to run simulations and large-scale experiments. It has 8 cores It has 8 cores (4 cores per processor), 8 GB memory.
  • nsl-win: Windows Terminal Server for remote access. It has most of the needed Microsoft software.
  • nsl-cluster: A number of machines (currently 12) interconnected through a gigbit Ethernet switch. They can be configured in different topologies to test our code. They could form an isolated network for experimentation. They also can be used for general processing such as running multiple replicas of a simulation code. Technical specifications for the cluster machines can be found here. Reservation page for cluster usage is here.
  • Workstations: For use by students.

Miscellaneous Items

  • Wireless Interface Cards (3): D-Link WDA-1320 802.11g PCI cards. They use Atheros chips that have open-source Linux driver. We use them to build a WLAN testbed to test power-aware video streaming in wireless networks.
  • Routers and NAT boxes (5): Different mades/models: D-Link/EBR-2310, Trendnet/TEW-452BRP, Dynex/DX-E401, Linksys/WRH-54G, Belkin/Wireless G router. We use them to test our NAT traversal schemes being developed for the pCDN system.
  • Ethernet Switches (2): A Netgear GSM-7224 24-port Gigabit-Ethernet switch and a Linksys SD-205 5-port Fast-Ethernet hub (loaned from the department). We use these switches in our cluster to organize cluster machines into different topologies to test our code.
  • KVM (1): A Starview SV1631DUSB 16-port USB KVM switch. This is used to access nsl cluster machines.
  • Antenna (2): Spectrum LP49-DTV in-door antenna. We use them to receive over-the-air HDTV programs and to transmit DVB-H modulated signals.
  • Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) (4): Nvidia Quadro FX-570 (3) with memory bandwidth 12.8GB/sec and Nvidia Quadro FX-4600 (1) with memory bandwidth 67.2 GB/sec. These programmable processors have superior memory bandwidth compared to state-of-art general-purpose central processing units (CPUs). We develop software on these GPUs to conduct general-purpose computing that exceeds the capability of CPUs.
  • HDTV cards (2): MyHD MDP-130 and Dvico Fusion HDTV 7. We use them to receive and capture digital TV signals into video sequences to test our video streaming algorithms. These two cards can also be used to test software based real-time decoder/transcoder implementations.
  • Headsets and Webcams (5): Logitech ClearChat Pro USB headset and Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 Webcam. We use them to set up video conference testbed. We also use them occasionally for conference calls occasionally.


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D-Link WDA-1320 802.11g PCI D-Link/EBR-2310 Trendnet/TEW-452BRP Dynex/DX-E401 LinkSys/WRH-54G
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Belkin/Wireless G Netgear GSM-7224 Linksys SD-205 Starview SV1631DUSB Spectrum LP49-DTV
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Nvidia Quadro FX-570 Nvidia Quadro FX-4600 MyHD MDP-130 Dvico Fusion HDTV 7 Logitech ClearChat Pro
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Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 Logitech R-10 Speakers WinTV-Nova-T Digital Terrestial TV Stick Nokia SU33W Mobile TV Receiver Nokia N92
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Nokia N96 DekTec DTA-110T DiviCatch RF T/H EnenSys 1W Power Amplifier

These computing resources are partially funded by an NSERC RTI Grant.