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New Trends in Internet Technologies

In today’s Internet, performance problems are often solved with cross-layer optimizations or middleware concepts. However, these solutions are hard to support efficiently in heterogeneous environments. They are inflexible and result in troublesome enhancements or even incompatibility for future networks. If we consider the commonly used ISO/OSI layer model for communication networks, interoperability between different technologies is solved on network and transport layer but not optimized for future Internet (e.g. TCP over wireless, multicast, ...). P2P overlays and technologies might solve these problems of heterogeneity and complexity by creating their own name spaces, overlay routing algorithms, load distribution mechanisms, and scalable functionality. However, they need to be adapted to the underlying layers in order to increase the overall efficiency (e.g. by including proximity into the overlay) and to increase robustness (e.g. by installing mechanisms to react to faults and node failures). As a result, cross-layer approaches are used to realize an efficient implementation of P2P mechanisms for today’s technology, as introduced by ETM for example.

All these observations lead to a new layering concept for the future Internet [5]. The architectural design is minimized to three necessary layers addressing the above mentioned aspects: a connectivity layer, a mediation layer, and an application layer. The task of the connectivity layer is to optimize individual physical access networks while including the mobility of users to allow handovers between different access technologies. The future network is designed for and focused on services for end users, i.e., the end-to-end user perceived quality is taken into account. This necessarily requires autonomic networks and autonomic network management mechanisms which will be a task on the next layer, the mediation layer. The advantages of P2P technology are utilized to mediate signaling information and user data, resulting in self-organized routing (which includes also source-routing or content-based routing) and a distributed resource access (e.g. bandwidth sharing among peers). Additional tasks like security and storage of third-party information for billing and accounting have to be considered to allow dependable direct communication between users and to offer service and network providers the possibility to charge for their added value to the future Internet. The top-level layer is the application layer which is user-oriented, allows end-to-end QoS and supports QoE management.

Network virtualization appears to be a promising solution for realizing the new layering concept by segregating the provisioning of services and applications from the physical infrastructure. Thus, the mediation layer offers a virtual network to the application layer which is utilized by well-defined interfaces and APIs. In general, the concept of virtualization can be regarded as a high level abstraction principle that hides the underlying implementation details. This permits the construction of multiple coexisting virtual network architectures by different service providers, which all share the common physical substrate network managed by one or more infrastructure providers. This decoupling of service and infrastructure leads to a different view from the traditional concept of an ISP as they are known today. Users perceive each virtual network as tunnel and are free to choose their topology that suits best to their demands, whereas also infrastructure providers benefit from such concept by not having to be forced to deploy all new functionalities to support certain services at each node. This task can be shifted to the service providers to manage and reprogram their network architectures offering the end users a service-specific end-to-end quality. Therefore, an end user can connect to multiple service providers, which offer exactly their custom-made services without any interaction to the actual infrastructure. A reference architecture for setup, control, and monitoring of virtual networks on a provider- and operator-grade level as well as its building blocks and interfaces are introduced in [2]. This virtual network architecture is derived by means of relevant use cases [3, 4]. Beside the technological benefits, the introduction of virtual networks would lead to entire different business and pricing models from an economical viewpoint. A major challenge of network virtualization is to isolate and control the resources allocated for individual virtual networks. Realizing such resource allocation requires deliberate design of the router enhanced specifically for handling a large number of virtual network flows. [1] discusses fundamental challenges on modeling the architecture of modern routers for the support of the virtual networks.


[1] Tobias Hoßfeld, Kenji Leibnitz, and Akihiro Nakao. Modeling of Modern Router Architectures Supporting Network Virtualization. In 2nd International Workshop on theNetwork of the Future (FutureNet II) in conjunction with IEEE GLOBECOM 2009, Honolulu, Hawaii, December 2009.

[2] Sebastian Meier, Marc Barisch, Andreas Kirstädter, Daniel Schlosser, Michael Duelli, Michael Jarschel, Tobias Hoßfeld, Klaus Hoffmann, Marco Hoffmann, Wolfgang Kellerer, Ashiq Khan, Dan Jurca, and Kazuyuki Kozu. Provisioning and Operation of Virtual Networks. Electronic Communications of the EASST, Kommunikation in Verteilten Systemen 2011, 37, March 2011.

[3] D. Schlosser, M. Hoffmann, T. Hoßfeld, M. Jarschel, A. Kirstaedter, W. Kellerer, and S. Köhler. COMCON: Use Cases for Virtual Future Networks. In TridentCom 2010, Berlin, May 2010.

[4] Daniel Schlosser, Michael Jarschel, Michael Duelli, Tobias Hoßfeld, Klaus Hoffmann, Marco Hoffmann, Hans Jochen Morper, Dan Jurca, and Ashiq Khan. A Use Case Driven Approach to Network Virtualization. In accepted at IEEE Kaleidoscope 2010, published via OPUS Würzburg under OpenAccess, Würzburg, Germany, December 2010.

[5] Phuoc Tran-Gia, Tobias Hoßfeld, Michael Menth, and Rastin Pries. Emerging Issues in Current Future Internet Design. e&i Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik, Special Issue ’Future Internet’, ISSN: 0932-383X (print), ISSN: 1613-7620 (online), 126, July 2009.