57/STATUS-Simple-Scaling #

Status Simple Scaling #

Abstract #

This document describes how to scale 56/STATUS-COMMUNITIES as well as 55/STATUS-1TO1-CHAT using existing Waku v2 protocols and components. It also adds a few new aspects, where more sophisticated components are not yet researched and evaluated.

Note: (Parts of) this RFC will be deprecated in the future as we continue research to scale specific components in a way that aligns better with our principles of decentralization and protecting anonymity. This document informs about scaling at the current stage of research and shows it is practically possible. Practical feasibility is also a core goal for us. We believe in incremental improvement, i.e. having a working decentralized scaling solution with trade-offs is better than a fully centralized solution.

Background and Motivation #

56/STATUS-COMMUNITIES as well as 55/STATUS-1TO1-CHAT use Waku v2 protocols. Both use Waku content topics (see 23/WAKU2-TOPICS) for content based filtering.

Waku v2 currently has scaling limitations in two dimensions:

  1. Messages that are part of a specific content topic have to be disseminated in a single mesh network (i.e. pubsub topic). This limits scaling the number of messages disseminated in a specific content topic, and by extension, the number of active nodes that are part of this content topic.

  2. Scaling a large set of content topics requires distributing these over several mesh networks (which this document refers to as pubsub topic shards).

This document focuses on the second scaling dimension. With the scaling solutions discussed in this document, each content topics can have a large set of active users, but still has to fit in a single pubsub mesh.

Note: While it is possible to use the same content topic name on several shards, each node that is interested in this content topic has to be subscribed to all respective shards, which does not scale. Splitting content topics in a more sophisticated and efficient way will be part of a future document.

Relay Shards #

Sharding the Waku Relay network is an integral part of scaling the Status app.

51/WAKU2-RELAY-SHARDING specifies shards clusters, which are sets of 1024 shards (separate pubsub mesh networks). Content topics specified by application protocols can be distributed over these shards. The Status app protocols are assigned to shard cluster 16, as defined in 52/WAKU2-RELAY-STATIC-SHARD-ALLOC.

51/WAKU2-RELAY-SHARDING specifies three sharding methods. This document uses static sharding, which leaves the distribution of content topics to application protocols, but takes care of shard discovery.

The 1024 shards within the main Status shard cluster are allocated as follows.

Shard Allocation #

shard index usage
0 - 15 reserved
16 - 127 specific (large) communities
128 - 767 communities
768 - 895 1:1 chat
896 - 1023 media and control msgs

Shard indices are mapped to pubsub topic names as follows (specified in 51/WAKU2-RELAY-SHARDING).


an example for the shard with index 18 in the Status shard cluster:


In other words, the mesh network with the pubsub topic name /waku/2/rs/16/18 carries messages associated with shard 18 in the Status shard cluster.

Implementation Suggestion #

The Waku implementation should offer an interface that allows Status nodes to subscribe to Status specific content topics like

subscribe("/status/xyz", 16, 18)

The shard cluster index 16 can be kept in the Status app configuration, so that Status nodes can simply use

subscribe("/status/xyz", 18)

which means: connect to the "status/xyz" content topic on shard 18 within the Status shard cluster.

Status Communities #

In order to associate a community with a shard, the community description protobuf is extended by the field uint16 relay_shard_index = 15:

syntax = "proto3";

message CommunityDescription {
  // The Lamport timestamp of the message
  uint64 clock = 1;
  // A mapping of members in the community to their roles
  map<string,CommunityMember> members = 2;
  // The permissions of the Community
  CommunityPermissions permissions = 3;
  // The metadata of the Community
  ChatIdentity identity = 5;
  // A mapping of chats to their details
  map<string,CommunityChat> chats = 6;
  // A list of banned members
  repeated string ban_list = 7;
  // A mapping of categories to their details
  map<string,CommunityCategory> categories = 8;
  // The admin settings of the Community
  CommunityAdminSettings admin_settings = 10;
  // If the community is encrypted
  bool encrypted = 13;
  // The list of tags
  repeated string tags = 14;
  // index of the community's shard within the Status shard cluster
  uint16 relay_shard_index = 15

Note: Currently, Status app has allocated shared cluster 16 in 52/WAKU2-RELAY-STATIC-SHARD-ALLOC. Status app could allocate more shard clusters, for instance to establish a test net. We could add the shard cluster index to the community description as well. The recommendation for now is to keep it as a configuration option of the Status app.

Note: Once this RFC moves forward, the new community description protobuf fields should be mentioned in 56/STATUS-COMMUNITIES.

Status communities can be mapped to shards in two ways: static, and owner-based.

Static Mapping #

With static mapping, communities are assigned a specific shard index within the Status shard cluster. This mapping is similar in nature to the shard cluster allocation in 52/WAKU2-RELAY-STATIC-SHARD-ALLOC. Shard indices allocated in that way are in the range 16 - 127. The Status CC community uses index 16 (not to confuse with shard cluster index 16, which is the Status shard cluster).

Owner Mapping #

Note: This way of mapping will be specified post-MVP.

Community owners can choose to map their communities to any shard within the index range 128 - 767.

1:1 Chat #

55/STATUS-1TO1-CHAT uses partitioned topics to map 1:1 chats to a set of 5000 content topics. This document extends this mapping to 8192 content topics that are, in turn, mapped to 128 shards in the index range of 768 - 895.

contentPartitionsNum = 8192
contentPartition = mod(publicKey, contentPartitionsNum)
partitionContentTopic = "contact-discovery-" + contentPartition

partitionContentTopic = keccak256(partitionContentTopic)

shardNum = 128
shardIndex = 768 + mod(publicKey, shardNum)

Infrastructure Nodes #

As described in 30/ADAPTIVE-NODES, Waku supports a continuum of node types with respect to available resources. Infrastructure nodes are powerful nodes that have a high bandwidth connection and a high up-time.

This document, which informs about simple ways of scaling Status over Waku, assumes the presence of a set of such infrastructure nodes in each shard. Infrastructure nodes are especially important for providing connectivity in the roll-out phase.

Infrastructure nodes are not limited to Status fleets, or nodes run by community owners. Anybody can run infrastructure nodes.

Statically-Mapped Communities #

Infrastructure nodes are provided by the community owner, or by members of the respective community.

Owner-Mapped Communities #

Infrastructure nodes are part of a subset of the shards in the range 128 - 767. Recommendations on choosing this subset will be added in a future version of this document.

Status fleet nodes make up a part of these infrastructure nodes.

1:1 chat #

Infrastructure nodes are part of a subset of the shards in the range 768 - 985 (similar to owner-mapped communities). Recommendations on choosing this subset will be added in a future version of this document.

Desktop clients can choose to only use filter and lightpush.

Note: Discussion: I’d suggest to set this as the default for the MVP. The load on infrastructure nodes would not be higher, because they have to receive and relay each message anyways. This comes as a trade-off to anonymity and decentralization, but can significantly improve scaling. We still have k-anonymity because several chat pairs are mapped into one content topic. We could improve on this in the future, and research the applicability of PIR (private information retrieval) techniques in the future.

Infrastructure Shards #

Waku messages are typically relayed in larger mesh networks comprised of nodes with varying resource profiles (see 30/ADAPTIVE-NODES). To maximise scaling, relaying of specific message types can be dedicated to shards where only infrastructure nodes with very strong resource profiles relay messages. This comes as a trade-off to decentralization.

Control Message Shards #

To get the maximum scaling for select large communities for the Status scaling MVP, specific control messages that cause significant load (at a high user number) SHOULD be moved to a separate control message shard. These control messages comprise:

  • community description
  • membership update
  • backup
  • community request to join response
  • sync profile picture

The relay functionality of control messages shards SHOULD be provided by infrastructure nodes. Desktop clients should use light protocols as the default for control message shards. Strong Desktop clients MAY opt in to support the relay network.

Each large community (in the index range of 16 - 127) can get its dedicated control message shard (in the index range 896 - 1023) if deemed necessary. The Status CC community uses shard 896 as its control message shard. This comes with trade-offs to decentralization and anonymity (see Security Considerations section).

Media Shards #

Similar to control messages, media-heavy communities should use separate media shards (in the index range 896 - 1023) for disseminating messages with large media data. The Status CC community uses shard 897 as its media shard.

Infrastructure-focused Community #

Large communities MAY choose to mainly rely on infrastructure nodes for all message transfers (not limited to control, and media messages). Desktop clients of such communities should use light protocols as the default. Strong Desktop clients MAY opt in to support the relay network.

Note: This is not planned for the MVP.

Light Protocols #

Light protocols may be used to save bandwidth, at the (global) cost of not contributing to the network. Using light protocols is RECOMMENDED for resource restricted nodes, e.g. browsers, and devices that (temporarily) have a low bandwidth connection or a connection with usage-based billing.

Light protocols comprise

Waku Archive #

Archive nodes are Waku nodes that offer the Waku archive service via the Waku store protocol (13/WAKU2-STORE). They are part of a set of shards and store all messages disseminated in these shards. Nodes can request history messages via the 13/WAKU2-STORE.

The store service is not limited to a Status fleet. Anybody can run a Waku Archive node in the Status shards.

Note: There is no specification for discovering archive nodes associated with specific shards yet. Nodes expect archive nodes to store all messages, regardless of shard association.

The recommendation for the allocation of archive nodes to shards is similar to the allocation of infrastructure nodes to shards described above. In fact, the archive service can be offered by infrastructure nodes.

Discovery #

Shard discovery is covered by 51/WAKU2-RELAY-SHARDING. This allows the Status app to abstract from the discovery process and simply address shards by their index.

DoS Protection #

Note : DoS protection will be specified in a soon-to-follow update of this RFC (while in raw state). The following sketches basic approaches. DoS protection might move in a separate document and be referenced here.

Statically-Mapped Communities #

Basic idea: Each Waku message is signed with key material provided by the community owner. Relay nodes only relay messages that have the correct signature. Community infrastructure nodes are provided with the necessary key material, too.

Owner-Mapped Communities #

Basic idea: Tokenized load.

1:1 Chat #

An idea we plan to explore in the future: Map 1:1 chats to community shards, if both A and B are part of the respective community. This increases k-anonymity and benefits from community DoS protection. It could be rate-limited with RLN.

Security/Privacy Considerations #

This document makes several trade-offs to privacy and anonymity. Todo: elaborate. See 45/WAKU2-ADVERSARIAL-MODELS for information on Waku Anonymity.

Copyright #

Copyright and related rights waived via CC0.

References #