Visualization of a Network Traffic Monitoring System

Edward Swing

National Security Agency


This page is designed as an adjunct to the Hot Topics paper of the same name. All of the sample VRML files displayed in the paper are included here for browsing, and for others to freely use.

The text of the Hot Topics paper is available in the following formats:


The slides for the presentation are also included here. They are Web-pages with links to the VRML worlds and Java work.

VRML Displays

This VRML display shows the different servers, colored by type. The volume of traffic on each server is shown by the height of the cylinder. The servers are radially arranged; the distance from the edge is a function of the time since the last signal; each ring on the platter is an hour's time (24 in all). Thus the servers which are approaching the center are those needing attention. <IMAGE>

In this case, we have animated the servers, showing (at a greatly accelerated rate). This is an earlier display, but it makes clear how the servers will move over time,

Presently, each server simply restarts after reaching the center. This is obviously not accurate; however this VRMLworld also allowed us to measure the performance of the system.
Here we display the servers which are located around the world. Each server is tied to its (randomized) location; the altitude indicates the time since the last signal. The tethers are color coded by type, while the spheres at the end of the tethers change from green to red as their situation worsens. <IMAGE>
This display is used for the servers which are in the local facilities. Representations of the buildings allow a network traffic monitor to check local servers. The servers are again color-coded by type, and the radius represents the volume of traffic on the server. The time is mapped to the transparency; the servers needing attention appear more solid. Positions are again randomized. <IMAGE>

Incorporating Java

The actual software uses Java to provide a connection to the database which maintains this information. Updates are provided thru the VRML External Authoring interface (EAI). The Java integration was done by Frank Gauthier at Raba Technologies.