Home Networking

Most research in networking has focused on “traditional” issues, such as bandwidth, scalability, latency, and so forth. What if we were to look at networking instead from a human-centered perspective? What traits would we care about then? Most likely, things like understandability, maintainability, evolvability, and installability.

Our lab is engaged in a number of projects aimed at what we call human-centered networking. Through these projects we are seeking to understand the causes of digital complexity in the home and how householders cope with these difficulties, as well as develop new tools and technologies to improve the experience of home networking.

Our empirical work in this space includes in-home qualitative investigations focused on understanding users’ needs and practices, analyses of householder-generated sketches of their home networks to uncover end-users’ conceptual models of networking, the development of a range of “ground truth” datasets of home network performance and behavior, and a series of studies aimed at understanding the social dynamics of network use in the home.

We are also engaging in technical work aimed at creating a set of tools, infrastructures, and interaction techniques that provide a better match for users’ needs and practices. These projects include the development of visual tools for home network management, the creation of new infrastructure components (routers and access points) for the home network intended to improve the user experience for users, and exploration of new management protocols effective in the home network context.


  1. S. Sundaresan, N. Feamster, R. Teixeira, A. Tang, W.K. Edwards, R.E. Grinter, M. Chetty and W. de Donato. Helping Users Shop for ISPs with Internet Nutrition Labels. Proceedings of HomeNets Workshop at SIGCOMM 2011. Toronto, Canada. August 15-19, 2011.

  2. H. Kim, S. Sundaresan, M. Chetty, N. Feamster and W.K. Edwards. Communicating with Caps: Managing Usage Caps in Home Networks. Proceedings of SIGCOMM 2011. Toronto, Canada. August 15-19, 2011.

  3. W. Keith Edwards, Rebecca Grinter, Ratul Mahajan, David Wetherall. “Advancing the State of Home Networking.” Communications of the ACM, June 2011. pp. 62-71.

  4. K.L. Calvert, W.K. Edwards, N. Feamster, R.E. Grinter, Y. Deng, X. Zhou. “Instrumenting Home Networks.” To appear in ACM Computer Communications Review (CCR), 2011.

  5. J. Yang, W.K. Edwards, and D. Haslem, “Eden: Supporting Home Network Management Through Interactive Visual Tools.” In Proceedings of the 23rd ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST), New York, NY. October 3-6, 2010.

  6. J. Yang and W. K, Edwards. “A Study on Network Management Tools of Householders.” First SIGCOMM Workshop on Home Networks (HomeNets), September 3, 2010. New Delhi, India.

  7. K. Calvert, W. K. Edwards, N. Feamster, R. E. Grinter, Y. Deng, and X. Zhou. “Instrumenting Home Networks.” First SIGCOMM Workshop on Home Networks (HomeNets), September 3, 2010. New Delhi, India.

  8. Sarita Yardi and Erika S. Poole, “Please Help! Patterns of Participation in Online Technical Support Discussion Boards.” In Communities&Technologies 2009, State College, PA, USA, June 25–27, 2009.

  9. Erika S. Poole, W. Keith Edwards, and Lawrence Jarvis., “The Home Network as a Sociotechnical System: Understanding the Challenges of Remote Home Network Problem Diagnosis.” In the Journal of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work special issue on CSCW, Technology, and Diagnostic Work

  10. Rebecca E. Grinter, W. Keith Edwards, Marshini Chetty, Erika Shehan Poole, Ja-Young Sung, Andy Crabtree, Peter Tolmie, Tom Rodden, Chris Greenhalgh, and Steve Benford., “The Ins and Outs of Home Networking: The Case for Useful and Usable Home Networking,” In ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, ACM Press.

  11. W. Keith Edwards, Mark W. Newman, Jana Z. Sedivy, and Trevor F. Smith. “Experiences with Recombinant Computing: Exploring Ad Hoc Interoperability in Evolving Digital Networks,” In ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, ACM Press.

  12. Erika S. Poole, M. Chetty, T. Morgan, B. E. Grinter, W. K. Edwards., “Computer Help at Home:Methods and Motivations for Informal Technical Support.” In CHI ‘09: Proceedings of the 27th international conference on Human factors in computing systems, April 2009.

  13. Erika Shehan, Marshini Chetty, Rebecca E. Grinter, and W. Keith Edwards. “More Than Meets the Eye: Transforming the User Experience of Home Network Management” In, Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2008). Cape Town, South Africa. February 25–27, 2008.

  14. Kenneth L. Calvert, W. Keith Edwards, and Rebecca E. Grinter. “Moving Toward the Middle: The Case Against the End-to-End Argument in Home Networking” In Proceedings of the Sixth ACM Conference on Hot Topics in Networks (HotNets-VI). Atlanta, GA. November 14–15, 2007.

  15. Jeonghwa Yang and W. Keith Edwards. Proceedings of Eleventh IFIP Conference on Human-Computer “ICEbox: Toward Easy-to-Use Home Networking.” Interaction (Interact). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. September 10–14, 2007.

  16. Erika Shehan and W. Keith Edwards. “Home Networking and HCI: What Hath God Wrought?” In, Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’07). San Jose, CA. April 28-May 3, 2007.

  17. Erika Shehan, Shivam Goyal, and W. Keith Edwards. “Pinning the Tail on the Networked Donkey: Why IT@Home Needs Network Visualization” In, Presented at the CHI 2006 Workshop IT@Home: Unraveling Complexities of Networked Devices in the Home, April 23, 2006.

  18. Jeonghwa Yang and W. Keith Edwards. “ICEbox: Bring! Point! Get Configured!” In, ACM SIGCHI’06 IT@Home Workshop, April 2006.

  19. Rebecca E. Grinter, W. Keith Edwards, Mark W. Newman, Nicolas Ducheneaut. “The Work to Make a Home Network Work,” In, Proceedings of the Ninth European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW’05). Paris, France. September 18–22, 2005.