Connectivity Checking

Registered by Jason Warner on 2012-10-22

I suggested earlier in the Quantal cycle emabling connectivity
checking by default; the suggestion brought up quite a lot of
interesting discussion which we should bring back at UDS.

There are some clear benefits such as being able to handle captive
portals more gracefully, but there general idea of being able to know
whether an "online" state means having actual Internet access or not
brings some benefits, but introduces issues that we need to be
prepared to tackle, such as how to reasonably know whether the
Internet is reachable, what external servers to use, and how regular
traffic generated from this would affect these servers.

What needs to be done for connectivity checking to be working properly
and efficiently for everyone?
How can we make sure privacy and other concerns are taken into account?
How can we use connectivity checking to improve the user experience on Ubuntu?
Where does connectivity checking tie in to Ubuntu on different form factors?
Where could this fail horribly?
How can we best test such a feature?

Blueprint information

Status:
Not started
Approver:
Sebastien Bacher
Priority:
Low
Drafter:
Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre
Direction:
Needs approval
Assignee:
Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre
Definition:
Approved
Series goal:
Accepted for raring
Implementation:
Unknown
Milestone target:
milestone icon ubuntu-13.04-beta-1

Related branches

Sprints

Whiteboard

FYI: Windows does this for connectivity checking: http://blog.superuser.com/2011/05/16/windows-7-network-awareness/

FYI: Ubiquity installer already does this by checking
http://start.ubuntu.com/connectivity-check.html to have md5sum 4589f42e1546aa47ca181e5d949d310b
And start.ubuntu.com is suppose to be highly available as it is/has been used as default homepage?!

Goals:
- knowing when you're being a captive portal
- avoid sending data and seeing applications fail due to no Internet access
Concerns:
- Privacy?
- Scaling (to support load)
Potential Problems:
- What if the site used to test connectivity goes down? The computer *could* think that the internet was broken, when it wasn't. (Could we share connectivity with other distros? The pop-up to allow you to log in to the portal could have a "ignore" button to force the status to CONNECTED)
- Opening the default browser when prompting to log in to the captive portal could result in all pinned tabs showwing the "log-in to the portal" screen.
Notes:
Β - Project to connect to conective portals: WISPr, packaged (unknown)

(?)

Work Items

Work items:
[cyphermox] look at pooling connectivity "resources", is that been done before?: POSTPONED
[cyphermox] talk to dcbw about enabling conn checking in Fedora: DONE
[cyphermox] on demand checking (bug 1072675): POSTPONED
[doctormo] write conclusions/best practice to developer documentation: POSTPONED
[doctormo] ask design team, casually, about connectivity and report back: DONE
[cyphermox] look into privacy policy re: what happens to the logs from start.ubuntu.com: POSTPONED
[cyphermox] talk to James about whether the infrastructure can support the load of regular checking: DONE
[mpt] Evaluate changing network menu design for captive portal status <https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Networking#captive-portal>: DONE