Reconstruct Sensor Network Dynamics with Passive Monitoring

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University

Last updated April 24, 2008


LiveNet is a set of tools and analysis methods for reconstructing the complex behavior of a deployed sensor network. LiveNet is based on the use of multiple passive packet sniffers co-located with the network, which collect packet traces that are merged to form a global picture of the network's operation. The merged trace can be used to reconstruct critical aspects of the network's operation that cannot be observed from a single vantage point or with simple application-level instrumentation. We address several challenges: merging multiple sniffer traces, determining sniffer coverage, and inference of missing information for routing path reconstruction. We perform a detailed validation of LiveNet's accuracy and coverage using a 184-node sensor network testbed, and present results from a real-world deployment involving physiological monitoring of patients during a disaster drill. Our results show that LiveNet is able to accurately reconstruct network topology, determine bandwidth usage and routing paths, identify hot-spot nodes, and disambiguate sources of packet loss observed at the application level.

Packet traffic breakdown analysis.

Papers, Slides, and Photographs

Disaster Drill Deployment, August 2006:

  • Deployment photographs
  • LiveNet: Using Passive Monitoring to Reconstruct Sensor Network Dynamics, Bor-rong Chen, Geoffrey Peterson, Geoff Mainland and Matt Welsh. To appear in Proceedings of the 4th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Distributed Computing in Sensor Systems (DCOSS 2008), Santorini Island, Greece, June 2008.(pdf)

Software Release


Data Release

Traces collected at disaster drill in August 2006. Available upon request.



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