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Notice: As of August 1, 2023, the FCC no longer partners with SamKnows on fixed broadband performance data collection, and SamKnows is no longer authorized to collect MBA data or provide fixed broadband performance analysis on the FCC’s behalf. The FCC will continue its Measuring Broadband America program work internally as it assesses Agency requirements for future potential procurement action related to the measurement of fixed broadband performance.

To stop unauthorized MBA data collection by SamKnows, a user should remove the Whitebox from their network after sending a Termination Notice to community@samknows.com stating that they would like to terminate SamKnows’ Measurement Services. If the Termination Notice is emailed before 5:00 pm Eastern Time on a business day, the user should remove the Whitebox from their network on the same day after they email SamKnows the Termination Notice. Otherwise, the user should remove the Whitebox from their network on the next following business day. Questions can be directed to Mr. Rajender Razdan at rajender.razdan@fcc.gov.

MBA-Assisted Research Studies (MARS) cover projects that are distinct from the MBA program’s routine reporting and MBA measurement operations aimed at producing year-on-year longitudinal data and reports on network performance. As the name suggests, MARS projects mostly consist of standalone research experiments initiated due to requests from academic institutions engaged in advancing the “state of the art” in network measurements. In a few cases, this component of the MBA program also incorporates pilot efforts which require particularly close technical coordination across FCC teams.

1. Examples include:

  1. Making available both the MBA measurements infrastructure and assistance from FCC technical staff for a targeted duration, to facilitate research experiments. Typical projects stem from academic interest in the MBA measurement infrastructure as a resource that can facilitate the advancement of specific technical areas of network research. Candidate experiments feature technical topics pertinent to both the MBA Collaborative and the FCC.
  2. Collecting and providing (again for limited, pre-specified durations) more detailed data than is available through the routinely run MBA tests.
  3. Providing a concerted technical focus to selected new tests within the MBA suite that involve significant feature modification or innovation.

2. Before a MARS project can begin, the following steps are required:

  1. The academic teams involved formulate a project proposal describing the experiment proposed, and the associated intended use of the MBA infrastructure, for review within the FCC.
  2. In the cases of projects in categories A and B above:
    1. The Researcher Code of Conduct developed for this purpose, together with an experiment-specific addendum as needed, is shared with the research team for signing. A joint assessment as to the technical feasibility of supporting the project on the MBA infrastructure is made by the FCC, and the research team, as a preliminary gating function.
    2. Any discussions necessary between the FCC and University re the Code of Conduct/its addendum are completed and signatures from the appropriate university departments obtained.
    3. The proposed research is presented to the MBA Collaborative as an initial introduction to the project.
    4. Any new code involved is beta tested on the MBA platform, for functionality, stability, and security.

3. Deployment follows when the experiment is proven to run with no adverse impact to the networks underlying the MBA measurement infrastructure.

4. Some other specifics include the following-

  1. Scheduling of research experiments is based on research timetables, available MBA resources and existing program commitments.
  2. Further detail associated with MARS activity is contained in the associated Researcher Code of Conduct. In each instance, the code of conduct and addendum (if needed) are finalized in consultation with the academic team involved. The version provided at the link above is termed a ‘sample’ because the per-project code of conduct and addendum may vary on an experiment-specific basis, although they will be closely based on the general template provided here.
  3. The premises and conclusions of MARS experiments are solely those of the research team concerned (i.e. not necessarily endorsed by the FCC). However, when conducted successfully, besides benefiting the researchers involved, projects in this category are likely to provide valuable insights to the FCC, as well as the MBA Collaborative, and associated communities of interest, through an improved understanding of advanced technical issues in network measurements and architectures.
  4. Data and other information from completed projects are linked to this site if/ when available.

For questions about MARS that are not answered here, please contact padma.krishnaswamy@fcc.gov.