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Researchers Propose Application To Bypass Internet Traffic Jams

Researchers from Cornell University, the University of Southern California and University of Massachusetts have proposed an application to help network operators find the best routes for their data and bypass Internet traffic jams.

The IN-CONTROL (Programmable Inter-Domain Observation and Control) application will gather information from participating networks and store it in a database that network operators can query to find the best routes, bypassing faults and untrustworthy networks. The researchers said they think network operators will support the proposal because it will result in improved network performance.

While previously proposed "knowledge planes" have required extensive upgrades to network hardware, this one will rely instead on tools already available in modern programmable Internet routers. The application will build on ideas from a programming language developed by Nate Foster, assistant professor of computer science at Cornell, "that allows network programmers to write commands for what they want routers and other devices to do without having to understand the details of the hardware," according to a news release from Cornell.

Because some network operators may be reluctant to share details about how their systems are organized, IN-CONTROL will include security mechanisms to hide the detailed architecture of participating networks and to prevent the addition of false information intended to redirect traffic for the purpose of spying. According to Cornell, "the preliminary database will be assembled using the system’s own probes that gather basic information about forwarding paths."

The IN-CONTROL project is funded by a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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