Monitoring CNs: Report on Experimentations on CNs (v2)

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Draft Available
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This Deliverable reports the advancements in the development and in the application of the monitoring instruments for Community Networks (CNs). In Deliverable D2.5 a set of metrics, and the related source code needed for their computation, were described, which allowed to “feel the pulse“ of a CN and understanding the level of decentralization and the possible presence of single points of failure. Such metrics are applicable to the network graph of a CN, but also to the social network graph, as derived by the analysis of the communication instruments used by the community (e.g. mailing lists). With these instruments it is possible to perform a multi-layer analysis able to identify the nodes that are critical for the network to be operative, and the people that are critical for the community to thrive. Since people own nodes, the two factors are strongly correlated and must be analysed together. This deliverable further develops this theme in two directions. The first is the development of new metrics, new source code and the realization of new scientific publications to strengthen the methodology (in Chapter 2). The analysis of two running networks suggests that CNs, albeit being part of the family of “Spatial Networks” behave in a different way depending on the external conditions. In fact, models that describe spatial networks (networks in which the nodes have a spatial position, which does not normally happen with other networks, such as social networks) tend to generate networks with a strong spatial hierarchy, in which every node “influences” a geographical area that is disjoint by the area of other nodes. One of the analysed CN confirms this, while another shows a different pattern, which is an important result, since it suggests that CNs may have some peculiar features that distinguish them from the other similar networks. The second direction deals with the integration of the mentioned metrics with the existent software monitoring tools of CNs. In this regard, the work focused on two currently used platforms, NodeShot and OpenWISP2. These two pieces of software have been created in the context of the network (the first one) and by a community of people including some developers from the ninux (the second one). While NodeShot is used only in the ninux community OpenWISP2 is of larger interest, thus, we decided to focus on developments on this platform, which we detail in Chapter 3.