Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


Internet in a Can

By Fenella SaundersSeptember 1, 2003 5:00 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Computer programs that run over the Internet are extremely convenient, but they can fail or lead to data-routing problems if they are not properly tested, says Amin Vahdat, a computer scientist at Duke University. He and his colleagues hope to rectify the problem with ModelNet—a mock-Internet proving ground for new applications.

Vahdat's team linked a few dozen PCs to simulate the way computers connect to the Internet. Some individual PCs simulated the functions of 10 to 100 home computers, all with the ability to run different programs; the rest moved around packets of data, delaying them long enough to make it seem as if the data had traveled across the world. If parts of the network became overloaded, some packets got lost, just as on the real Internet. Vahdat could then simulate technical problems or changes in consumer behavior: "We can say, What if certain links fail? or, What if 50 percent of the population went to broadband?" ModelNet testing may lead to a new rating scale for software. "What I would like to see is some standard scale of the reliability of a system, as opposed to just its raw performance," Vahdat says.

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 50%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In