In the last five years, the networking research community has worked on active technology. The main focus on this effort has been on developing technology that allows the rapid deployment of new functionality, such as data processing or control protocols, by dynamically inserting mobile code segments, which we will call delegates, into the network. In this proposal we will demonstrate that active networking can also help in addressing the scalability and complexity issues described above. In particular, we believe that coordinated groups of distributed locally-customized delegates can implement both advanced core-network and value-added services. The key observation is that not all network nodes need to implement identical functions. By properly assigning delegates with different functionality to nodes that have different scalability constraints or that face different traffic conditions or functional requirements, and by coordinating the actions of these delegates, it is possible to implement a wide range of advanced services with a level of scalability and efficiency that so far has been impossible to achieve with conventional techniques.
We will build a set of core networking and value-added active services. Core networking services includes supporting multicast routing, quality of service for both individual flows and flow aggregates in a highly scalable manner by eliminating the need for per-flow or per group state in the core of the network. The value-added services include scalable video distribution based on dynamic replication, multicast, and transcoding, private virtual network service in which the QoS, signaling and management can be customized by the client, and a mobile client service that will allow mobile nodes to leverage the infrastructure as they move around. The value-added services will be based on a common set of middleware services that support common requirements in terms of performance, reliability and security. The project is headed by Peter Steenkiste and Hui Zhang.
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