Edge of Privacy

Nikolay Melnikov

Computer Networks and Distributed Systems

Jacobs University Bremen, Germany

[email protected]


Abstract – The Internet is omnipresent and so are its users. The goal of my research is to differentiate and identify Internet users without any privacy-violations. In order to achieve that, I use flow level network traffic of individual users.

Keywords — NetFlow traffic trace; Internet users differentiation; network traffic measurement, analysis and modeling.


As a bachelor student of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science program at Jacobs University Bremen, I was introduced to several statistics and signal processing courses, which shaped my interest and enabled me to feel comfortable in my current domain. During my Master’s studies in the Communications, Systems and Electronics program my focus got fully shifted towards computer networks. I joined the Computer Networks and Distributed Systems Group (CNDS), and completed my Master’s Thesis under the supervision of prof. Jürgen Schönwälder.


At the start of my PhD research, some of my effort was dedicated to investigating the performance and application scenarios of a newly-developed tool for stream-based IP flow record query processing language NFQL [1, 3, 4]. In the same period of time I performed an extensive related literature investigation and ran initial tests on a sample set of Internet users using some statistical approaches [2]. This work defined the scope of my PhD research. At CNDS group we try to combine fun with progressive, and sometimes that leads to innovative products [5]. Together with a team of Master’s students we developed an IPv6-based telemetry platform called WattsApp. The platform fits well in the scope of the Internet of Things, and monitors a number of electrical devices within our office premises. CNDS group also likes to question different statements, which led us to investigate the potential difference between what a mobile operator promises and actually delivers to its customers [7]. We managed to identify discrepancies between mobile network operator’s claims and the services delivered to its customers.


I am part of the FLAMINGO project. FLAMINGO develops a joint program of research activities to contribute to the development of network management and operation frameworks for the Future Internet (FI).


At present I collaborate with Ricardo de Oliveira Schmidt from the University of Twente. We would like to establish a “rule of thumb” for relating the Gaussianity level of traffic aggregate to the set of individual hosts that generate it. Previously I collaborated with Markus Trauber from the University of St Andrews. We showed [6] that certain variants of IEEE 802.11 standards are better suited for specific applications rather than using a single WLAN standard for the mix of all applications.


A PhD student operates at the edge of science, and I surely want to believe that my research will leave a "dent" at the edge of human knowledge. Make sure to check out the other research projects we work on.


I would to thank my colleagues at the CNDS group for independent opinions and valuable input to my research.



K. Kanev, N. Melnikov, J. Schönwälder: Implementation of a Stream-based IP Flow Record Query Language. 4th Conference on Autonomous Infrastructure, Management and Security (AIMS 2010), Springer LNCS 6155, June 2010.


N. Melnikov, J. Schönwälder: Cybermetrics: User Identification Through Network Flow Analysis. 4th Conference on Autonomous Infrastructure, Management and Security (AIMS 2010), Springer LNCS 6155, June 2010.


V. Perelman, N. Melnikov, J. Schönwälder: Flow Signatures of Popular Applications. 12th IFIP/IEEE International Symposium on Integrated Network Management, Dublin, May 2011.


V. Bajpai, N. Melnikov, A. Sehgal, J. Schönwälder: Flow-based Identification of Failures Caused by IPv6 Transition Mechanisms. 6th Conference on Autonomous Infrastructure, Management and Security (AIMS 2012), Springer LNCS 7279, June 2012.


V. Bajpai,  V. Bashko,  C. David,  S. Kuryla,  V. Perelman,  J. Schauer,  N. Melnikov,  A. Sehgal,  J. Schönwälder: Design and Prototype Implementation of the WattsApp Telemetry Platform. IEEE International Conference on Internet of Things (iThings 2012), November 2012.


M. Tauber, S.N. Bhatti, N. Melnikov, J. Schönwälder: The Case for Heterogeneous WLAN Environments for Converged Networks. International Conference on Computing, Networking and Communications (ICNC 2013), January 2013.


V. Bashko, N. Melnikov, A. Sehgal, J. Schönwälder: BonaFide: A Traffic Shaping Detection Tool for Mobile Networks. 13th IFIP/IEEE International Symposium on Integrated Network Management (IM 2013), May 2013.