A Scalable Way to Measure Cellular Networks

Enabling Geographically Decoupled Measurements in Cellular Networks

About MobileAtlas


MobileAtlas is an international measurement platform for cellular networks that takes roaming measurements to the next level.

Although mobile cellular networks have become a major Internet access technology, mobile data traffic is surging, and data roaming has become widely used, well-established measurement platforms (e.g., RIPE Atlas) are not well-suited for measurements in the mobile network ecosystem. This includes measurements of metered connections and consideration of roaming status and zero-rating offers.

MobileAtlas implements the promising approach to geographically decouple SIM card and modem, which boosts the scalability and flexibility of the measurement platform. It offers versatile capabilities and a controlled environment that makes a good foundation for qualitative measurements.

We want to establish the framework with more than twenty probes and open up the platform for shared usage with scientists and Internet activists.

Finished Milestones

  • Probe hardware design finished + tested.
  • Hardware description + Software available.
  • Successful field test with 9 probes.
  • Check our GitHub Repo for more.

In The Works

  • Grow the network to 20 probes with external hosters.
  • Finalization of the Management Dashboard.
  • Better measurement metrics.

Get Involved

An international measurement platform is only possible with the help of multiple people. We're looking for early adopters, who share interest in the topic and like to contribute to the success of MobileAtlas.

Right now, we need people that host measurement probes.

  • 01Get in touch

    Send us an email (mobileatlas@sba-research.org), providing your contact details and the location (city, country) where you could host a measurement probe.

  • Once your request is approved, we'll send you a measurement probe by post at no charge. After receiving the probe you just need to plug in the power supply and connect the probe to your network (via ethernet). The probe will retrieve an IP address via DHCP and connect to our management server via VPN.

    We do not test anything on the local network, do not test anything with the local Internet access and only access the VPN to our management server. All tests are conducted on modem side.

  • We'll keep you informed about our latest accomplishments and you'll be among the first people to actively use the MobileAtlas network as soon as we open up the platform for shared access.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

We hope that we can answer your questions here. If you have any further, please contact us.

  • What are you measuring exactly?

    We plan to support a wide range of measurements. Right now, our interests are mainly Net Neutrality tests.

  • The probe is only testing the mobile network. The local network interface is only used to connect to the management server via VPN. Although we fully control the probes and secure them, we recommend to limit network access to our management server (fixed IP range) via your firewall.

  • Right now, we are deploying the MobileAtlas probes and testing the large-scale setup. In the future we plan to grant access to researchers and Internet activists, but right now please contact us and we can chat about your ideas and how MobileAtlas can help.

  • You only need to provide network access (with DHCP) via ethernet and a free power outlet for the power supply. The probe should also have mobile network coverage. You plug the probe to network and power, and it automatically connects to our management server via VPN.

  • We currently have ten probes deployed over eight European countries. We plan to deploy up to 30 probes in 30 different countries. They will be shown in an interactive overview soon. Help us by hosting a probe yourself.

  • We are a small group of researchers interested in mobile network security and net neutrality and are currently working at SBA Research. This project is currently funded by SBA Research. This project is also funded through the NGI0 PET Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 825310.

  • We tunnel multiple different SIM cards to each measurement probe.

Contact

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or if you are interested in the project.

Location:

Floragasse 7, 5th Floor, 1040 Wien, Austria

Call:

+43 (1) 505 36 88

Acknowledgments

This project is funded through the NGI0 PET Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 825310.

This research is also funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): P30637-N31.