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Multi-Institutional Projects To Test Future Internet Architectures

Three multi-institutional projects are advancing their efforts to develop the architectures that may underlie the Internet of the future.

Through a $15 million from the National Science Foundation, the projects will move their development work into the limited test phase. The projects had been awarded three-year, $8 million grants back in 2010 to begin work on building a "more trustworthy and robust Internet." With the new funding, the work done to date will be tested in real-world settings, which follow on some limited pilot tests.

The awards are being made under the Future Internet Architectures–Next Phase (FIA-NP) program.

"These deployments will leverage, and enable us to deepen, our work on secure network operations, including providing a highly available infrastructure and secure authentication mechanisms," said Peter Steenkiste, professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and principle investigator for one of the projects awarded an NSF grant, called Deployment-Driven Evaluation and Evolution of the eXpressive Internet Architecture (XIA). "They will enable us to build and test a robust XIA network, and establish best practices for using our architecture, including support for mobility and enhanced cybersecurity."

The aim of XIA is to address "the growing diversity of network use models, the need for trustworthy communication, and the growing set of stakeholders who coordinate their activities to provide Internet services. XIA addresses these needs by exploring the technical challenges in creating a single network that offers inherent support for communication between current communicating principals — including hosts, content, and services — while accommodating unknown future entities."

In its new phase, XIA will be tested "a vehicular network deployment in the city of Pittsburgh and a large-scale video delivery environment," according to NSF.

Partners with CMU on the XIA project include Boston University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Duke University.

The second project, Named Data Networking Next Phase, is being led by the University of California, Los Angeles. Its aim is to shift "the communication paradigm from today's focus on 'where,' i.e., addresses, servers and hosts, to 'what,' i.e., the content that users and applications care about."

"The success of a new architecture requires broad community involvement and widespread experimentation across the world," said Lixia Zhang, lead researcher for the NDN project and professor of computer science at UCLA, in a prepared statement. "NDN has built significant momentum through a commitment to a similarly open approach that has spurred substantial interests from both academia and industry. We are in the planning stage of establishing an industry consortium grounded in an open innovation model that aims to limit proprietary intellectual property claims on core elements of the architecture," Zhang said.

For its next phase, the NDN project will be tested in partnership with UCLA Facilities Management and Open mHealth.

Partner institutions in the NDN project include University of Arizona; University of California, San Diego; Colorado State University; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of Memphis; University of Michigan; and Washington University.

The final project funded under FIA-NP is being led by Rutgers University. Called "Next-Phase MobilityFirst Project - From Architecture and Protocol Design to Advanced Services and Trial Deployments" (or just "MobilityFirst"), the project is geared toward creating an architecture for the Internet that centers on mobility "as the norm, rather than the exception."

"The Internet is at a historic inflection point, with mobile platforms and applications fast replacing the fixed-host/server model which dominated the Internet since its inception," said Dipankar Raychaudhuri, distinguished professor and director of WINLAB at Rutgers University and principal investigator for the MobilityFirst project, in a prepared statement. "This fundamental shift presents a unique opportunity to develop an efficient, robust and secure next-generation Internet architecture in which wireless devices and mobile applications are primary drivers of a new design."

According to NSF, "MobilityFirst will be tested in three distinct network trial environments: a mobile data services trial with a wireless internet service provider (5Nines) in Madison, WI; a content production and delivery network trial involving WHYY and other public broadcasting stations in Pennsylvania; and a context-aware public service weather emergency notification system with end-users in the Dallas/Fort Worth area."

Partner institutions in the MobilityFirst project include Duke University; University of Massachusetts-Amherst; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of Michigan; University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"Our goal with FIA-NP is to support research that builds upon the tremendous success of the FIA projects to date," said Keith Marzullo, director for the Computer and Network Systems Division at NSF, in a prepared statement. "Specifically, we are seeking to take the existing FIA designs from early prototypes to more sophisticated architectures that are tested and evaluated via advanced prototypes in one or more relevant environments. These projects are just the beginning of what it would take to create a full scale Future Internet, but the ultimate goal is the design and deployment of a network that serves all the needs of society."

Additional details about the program can be found on the NSF Future Internet Architecture Project site.


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