Overall Objectives
Scientific Foundations
Application Domains
New Results
Contracts and Grants with Industry
Other Grants and Activities

Section: New Results

Experimental Environment for future Internet architecture

Participants : Walid Dabbous, Diego Dujovne, Jahanzeb Farooq, Mathieu Lacage, Thierry Parmentelat, Bilel Ben Rhomdhanne, Thierry Turletti.

The Internet is relatively resistant to fundamental change (differentiated services, IP multicast, and secure routing protocols have not seen wide-scale deployment).

A major impediment to deploying these services is the need for coordination: an Internet service provider (ISP) that deploys the service garners little benefit until other domains follow suit. Researchers are also under pressure to justify their work in the context of a federated network by explaining how new protocols could be deployed one network at a time, but emphasizing incremental deployability does not necessarily lead to the best architecture. In fact, focusing on incremental deployment may lead to solutions where each step along the path makes sense, but the end state is wrong. The substantive improvements to the Internet architecture may require fundamental change that is not incrementally deployable.

Network virtualisation has been proposed to support realistic large scale shared experimental facilities such as PlanetLab and GENI. We are working on this topic in the context of the European OneLab project.

Testing on PlanetLab has become a nearly obligatory step for an empirical research paper on a new network application or protocol to be accepted into a major networking conference or by the most prestigious networking journals. If one wishes to test a new video streaming application, or a new peer-to-peer routing overlay, or a new active measurement system for geo-location of internet hosts, hundreds of PlanetLab nodes are available for this purpose. PlanetLab gives the researcher login access to systems scattered throughout the world, with a Linux environment that is consistent across all of them.

However, network environments are becoming ever more heterogeneous. Third generation telephony is bringing large numbers of handheld wireless devices into the Internet. Wireless mesh and ad-hoc networks may soon make it common for data to cross multiple wireless hops while being routed in unconventional ways. For these new environments, new networking applications will arise. For their development and evaluation, researchers and developers will need the ability to launch applications on endhosts located in these different environments.

It is sometimes unrealistic to implement new network technology, for reasons that can be either technological - the technology is not yet available -, economical - the technology is too expensive -, or simply pragmatical - e.g. when actual mobility is key. For these kinds of situations, we believe it can be very convenient and powerful to resort to emulation techniques, in which real packets can be managed as if they had crossed, e.g., an ad hoc network.

In the OneLab project, we work to provide a unified environment for the next generation of network experiments. Such a large scale, open, heterogeneous testbed should be beneficial to the whole networking academic and industrial community.


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