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Computer networks are used every day, but with a very limited understanding of the consequences of their cumulative aggregation. Network coding is the field that devises techniques for their optimal utilization to reach the maximum possible transmission rate in a network, under the assumption that the nodes are somewhat intelligent and able to alter the network flow and not just to forward it. It’s still nascent, so the practical impact of its results is quite limited: for example, it would very useful to have techniques and a tool to estimate the real network capacity in a multicast/P2P network, except it’s still an open problem. Fortunately, the following paper offers the first worthy approach to close this question:

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Although to be resistant to common Internet attacks, network coding should be accompanied with homomorphic signatures.

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