Keren Tan. Large-scale Wireless Local-area Network Measurement and Privacy Analysis. Ph.D. Thesis, Dartmouth College Computer Science, August, 2011. Available as Dartmouth Computer Science Technical Report TR2011-703.

Abstract: The edge of the Internet is increasingly becoming wireless. Understanding the wireless edge is therefore important for understanding the performance and security aspects of the Internet experience. This need is especially necessary for enterprise-wide wireless local-area networks (WLANs) as organizations increasingly depend on WLANs for mission-critical tasks. To study a live production WLAN, especially a large-scale network, is a difficult undertaking. Two fundamental difficulties involved are (1) building a scalable network measurement infrastructure to collect traces from a large-scale production WLAN, and (2) preserving user privacy while sharing these collected traces to the network research community. In this dissertation, we present our experience in designing and implementing one of the largest distributed WLAN measurement systems in the United States, the Dartmouth Internet Security Testbed (DIST), with a particular focus on our solutions to the challenges of efficiency, scalability, and security. We also present an extensive evaluation of the DIST system. To understand the severity of some potential trace-sharing risks for an enterprise-wide large-scale wireless network, we conduct privacy analysis on one kind of wireless network traces, a user-association log, collected from a large-scale WLAN. We introduce a machine-learning based approach that can extract and quantify sensitive information from a user-association log, even though it is sanitized. Finally, we present a case study that evaluates the tradeoff between utility and privacy on WLAN trace sanitization.

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Copyright © 2011 by Keren Tan.