Earlier this year I attended StudentHack and formed a team with Fares Alaboud and Callum Spawforth. For 24 hours we worked on a project called Musical Packets.

Musical Packets is a Python application that listens to your aggregate network traffic and plays it back as music! It also comes with a web interface that visualises the aggregate packets received.

Musical Packets web interface.

The way it works at the moment is by converting the rate of packets received per second to a musical tone. Although it sounds pretty good as it is right now, the original idea (which wasn’t developed further due to the 24 hours time constraint) was to assign a different instrument to each network protocol or port. For example, HTTP would sound different than HTTPS.

The application also logs packets into a MongoDB database, so it has the capability of playing back the musical packets.

The project won two of the six prizes at StudentHack:

  • Best Use of MongoHQ
  • Best Fresher Hack

The source code is available on GitHub.

From left to right: Callum Spawforth, me and Fares Alaboud.