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Edgy with a Chance of RIOTs

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Report from IRTF T2TRG Meeting, RIOT Summit, ACM ICN Conference, and IRTF ICNRG Meeting

 

 

Berlin saw a remarkable series of research, coding, demonstration and open discussion events on the Internet of Things and Information-Centric Networking last week. It brought together an interesting mix of researchers, developers, entrepreneurs and thought leaders, which facilitated making real progress and moving the needle in next-generation networking for IoT, edge computing and decentralized operations. In my view the whole setup (although demanding in terms of commitment by organizers and participants) can likely serve as a prototype for future un-conference (and un-standards-meeting) events that want to put emphasis on constructive discussions and progress making instead of paper publication and marketing. For those who have been unlucky to miss it, I have written this (eclectic) summary (please refer to the respective events’ web pages for a complete view). Also note, I am not speaking for the organizers of the different events.

Introduction & Executive Summary

The Internet of Things, Edge Computing, Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality are popular buzzwords in the networking industry and academic community. Unfortunately, the popularity and the associated revenue expectations often lead to proposed solutions that try to leverage (often failed) foundations from related domains (e.g., the telco area), that compromise on security and performance and that lead to complex point-solutions. For example, in IoT, past experience in factory automation, home networking etc. have led to the popular assumption that most IoT networks will be built with the notion of a gateway that connects controllers, sensors on different incompatible fieldbus networks to cloud backends, employing significant translation magic to enable connectivity and semantic interoperability. People often use the term convergence to describe the fact that a zoo of different technologies will be integrated in such frameworks.

Converting to Internet Technologies

However, the Internet research and technology development community has demonstrated before (when multi-media real-time communication made telephony just another service on the Internet) that conversion (not convergence) is what actually creates an interoperable and extensible set of technologies. In IoT, protocols such as 6lowpan (IPv6 over Low power WPAN) and CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol) are enabling an efficient, secure, end-to-end communication service for the Internet-of-Things, where the Internet does not necessarily terminate at a predefined gateway. Instead, the Internet communication semantics can be extended to constrained devices — providing one stable platform of communication, obsoleting a lot of cruft that current IoT “industry standards” represent.

Semantic Interoperability

Beyond the fundamental connectivity layer, it is important to agree on they way Things in the IoT actually interact with one another, i.e., request-response type of interaction, publish-subscribe, RESTfulness, group communication etc. CoAP enables different interaction types on a Thing-to-Thing-based communication model. But when you compose/deploy/re-program IoT networks, how do you actually know how to communicate with your Things? How do you learn about available resources and the correct way to interact with them? How do Things and their users understand the physical-world effects, and, finally, how can you (reliably and securely) create larger applications that leverage Things in the IoT?

There are different approaches for describing and discovering resources. In the age of Service-Oriented-Architectures, people came up with resource description frameworks etc., enabling a first level of semantic interoperability. In the IRTF Thing-to-Thing Research Group (T2TRG), we are trying to find a sweet-spot between expressiveness, simplicity and flexibility with respect of re-using and re-combining resources for new purposes. This work is leveraging ideas from the web (hypermedia in general) so that “simple things should be simple; complex things should be possible”. Information-Centric Networking (ICN) also has a relation to semantic interoperability — I will talk more about it when summarizing the ICN conference below.

Data-Oriented Networking and Forwarding Abstractions

In IoT most interactions are actually not about sending bits from host A to host B — most often, we are interested in accessing names resources such as sensor readings, the result of an actuation request — regardless of network and host addresses. Similar considerations apply to other applications, too — for example web applications, video streaming and virtual reality. Realizing these applications today requires a stack of overlays for secure communication (server authentication and confidentiality through TLS), storage for resource sharing and latency reduction (CDN), and application-specific in-network processing (for example, routing IoT data to intended and authorized consumers).

In more advanced and/or challenging network scenarios such as multipath communication or data sharing in the IoT, the trade-offs that the traditional overlay approach requires are becoming increasingly painful. For example, TLS-based connection-oriented security may be a good approach for tele-banking, but it clearly gets into the way when we want to communicate in dynamic environments (with changing IP addresses etc.) or when we want to disseminate and consumer data from multiple producers securely in the IoT.

Being able to access named data regardless of current node addresses is a concern in more traditional frameworks such as CoAP, too. ICN addresses this by providing access to named (and authenticated) data as a first-order service. The network relies on named data access on the Internet layer, so that security (name-content binding, access control, confidentiality) does not depend on from where a particular data object has been retrieved. Obviously, this can facilitate communication in dynamic network topologies (mobility, disruptions) as well as enhance efficiency and reliability (caching) and is thus attractive for IoT but also for most other application domains.

The way that ICN implements the accessing-named-data service on the Internet layer enables peers and intermediary nodes to support forwarding and effective data dissemination in a network. For example, compared to IP, a router has slightly more visibility of request-response latency and data availability (potentially per name prefix) which can inform queue management, forwarding behavior and caching strategies. This is the basis for better transport performance in more conventional networks. In IoT, an enabled forwarding layer can help to optimize data availability in the presence of disruptions, power-saving and improve mesh network routing by leveraging information about data interest at certain parts of the network.

Because ICN can enable application-independent in-network caching directly on the Internet layer (as opposed to on the application layer as CDNs do) you can also characterize ICN as a democratizing technology: it enables data production and efficient sharing over the network by everyone and for any application — without requiring permissions from ISPs or contracts with CDN providers.

Regardless of ICN or any other technology, the technical question is “what is an appropriate forwarding abstraction?”  — for the new Internet that includes the IoT and other domains. From an Internet perspective, it would certainly be good if one could find a suitable comprise and arrive at a functionality set that is as powerful as needed — but not too powerful in terms of requiring application-specific knowledge and functionality at too many places in the network to be useful. To that end, ICN is inspired by IP and provides a minimal thin-waist (in the Internet stack hour glass model) but provides more functionality for in-network forwarding and caching strategies.

The ICN Conference and the ICNRG meeting last week discussed technical aspects of applying this technology to different application domains such as IoT: how to automate trust management, how to map ICN protocols efficiently to lower layer protocols such as IEEE 802.15.4, how to manage/bootstrap such networks securely, and how use the ICN protocol semantics for IoT use cases, for example asynchronous data generation.

Edge Computing

Edge Computing is becoming increasingly popular these days, and there are many good reasons to rethink current cloud-centric compute service architectures. For example, in industrial IoT, there are strong trust-sensitivity reasons for not shoveling all data to the cloud by default for processing and redistribution. Instead the data needs to be processed, potentially stored and shared close to the producers and consumers in an industrial IoT network. Or, as another example, infrastructure support for Virtual Reality  has low-latency requirements that mandate placing the compute function close to the display device.

There are different ways to do edge computing though — some approaches can be seen as extending today’s cloud infrastructure to the edge — to so-called edge gateways or to multi-tiered arrangements of compute platforms (fog computing). Also, popular CDN platforms provide some form of in-network computation already, so it seems attractive to extend these platforms to the edge.

From an Internet technology perspective, it is important to understand the implications of different architecture with respect to security and privacy (does edge computing mean we have to entrust unknown proxies to intercept our communication sessions?), permissionless innovation (can anyone run distributed computations in the network, or do you have to be a big content/service provider?), and generality (if edge computing means shipping VMs images to edge gateways, what about constrained networks/platforms?).

In the Thing-to-Thing context, we are discussing options for light-weight in-network computing that does not necessarily have to rely on an ossified architecture of constrained IoT network, edge gateway, and cloud backend. Similarly to thing-to-thing communication, would it be possible to design IoT edge computing in a way that allows some nodes in the network to offer compute services for other (possibly more constrained) nodes, and can this be achieved without complicated, and in the worst case, manual orchestration?

In ICN, the combination of accessing static named data and dynamic computation results in the same framework seems to be a very elegant and powerful approach to edge computing. For that reason, Intel and the NSF have recently decided to fund three research projects on ICN in wireless edge networks. One interesting aspect in this context is the idea not treating edge computing (and its applications) as a very special case in a distributed computing architecture. Instead, applications such as Virtual Reality could essentially just be web applications that leverage standardized protocols, media formats and dynamic code execution.

One particular proposal blending static data access with dynamic in-network computation in ICN is called Named Function Networking (NFN). NFN applies functional programming concepts (expression reduction, code as data, memomization) to networking and thus provide a light-weight in-network computation platform that can ultimately provide similar features as stream processing and distributed data bases under one single abstraction.

Going Cloudless

The Internet was designed as a distributed, decentralized system. For example, intra- and inter-domain routing, DNS, and so on were designed to operate in a distributed manner. However, over time the dominant deployment model for applications and some infrastructure services evolved to become more centralized and hierarchical. Some of the increase in centralization is due to business models that rely on centralized accounting and administration. However, we are simultaneously seeing the evolution of use cases (e.g., certain IoT deployments) that cannot work (or which work poorly) in centralized deployment scenarios along with the evolution of decentralized technologies which leverage new cryptographic infrastructures, such as DNSSEC, or which use novel, cryptographically-based distributed consensus mechanisms, such as a number of different ledger technologies.

One example that was mentioned at the T2TRG meeting on Sunday was the coordination of different wireless networks that compete for spectrum in a geographic context. For large-scale, managed spectrum sharing you could employ centralized databases for recording who is entitled to use what frequency band in a certain geographic location. In more dynamic settings like a multi-vendor, multi-radio technology IoT network deployment, this centralized approach may not work that well.

Decentralizing trust management, identity management, name resolution etc. could thus be another interesting factor towards democratizing network and application usage on the Internet. Less applications in the future may have to depend on centralized cloud services, and new players may be able to introduce innovative services. These ideas touch upon T2TRG work as well as ICN (that promote decentralized operation by itself). We are therefore kicking off a new proposed Research Group on Decentralized Internet Infrastructure in the IRTF.

Open Source and Free Software

In IoT one crucial element is the operation system platform for constrained devices. There are a few one that a freely available, and some companies have developed their own OSes, sometimes also marketed as Open Source. Open Source IOT OS software is important for two reasons: 1) For providing a platform that people can start new developments at minimal cost; and 2) For providing a platform that is reviewed and ideally governed by an open community process. If you think about security bugs/fixes, it has been demonstrated that the ability to review code and to propose changes improves the security and stability of software systems significantly compared to closed-source approaches, also with respect to agility when quick response to a new security threat is required.

Unfortunately, Open Source has become a marketing term these days, and many people confuse the availability of for-free software with Open Source. In addition to actually obtaining source code, two other important factors are licensing models and the project governance. Who actually decides about integrating proposed changes and future directions?

The RIOT OS project has developed a modern UNIX-like, very modular, very lightweight IoT OS that licensed under LGPL. The project is governed by a transparent and open community process, which has led to many useful extensions in the past, for example the addition of ICN support through integration of CCN-Lite or the addition of CAN bus functionality. RIOT’s architecture, its modularity and flexibility has led to increasing popularity and its wide availability on many different target platforms, which was demonstrated at the RIOT summit last week.

TL;DR

There is lots of activity in making the Internet better and bringing it to new places. Last week’s series of research events on IoT and ICN demonstrated new approaches towards Internet-inspired, direct communication. The most important meta aspects (in my view) are disintermediated communication, semantic interoperability, data-oriented communication and edge computing, and democratizing network operation and innovation through decentralizing communication and network infrastructure. The following sections represent my eclectic summary of theses meetings, focusing on these aspects.

IRTF Thing-to-Thing Research Group

The T2TRG meeting took place on Saturday/Sunday (September 23/24). One particular technology in T2TRG’s activities on semantic interoperability is the Constrained RESTful Application Language (CoRAL) by Klaus Hartke that “defines a data model and interaction model as well as two specialized serialization formats for the description of typed connections between resources on the Web (“links”), possible operations on such resources (“forms”), and simple resource metadata” (presentation slides from the meeting). CoRAL is essentially a constrained-environment-compatible hypermedia framework that can be used by IoT applications to discover node capabilities in a modern, flexible way.

On the topic of coordination and consensus using decentralized network infrastructure, Laura Feeney talked about “A role for higher layer protocols in mitigating wireless interference”, illustrating the use case of coordination between different (unknown) wireless networks that may compete with each other for spectrum (slides will become available here). Pekka Nikander introduced an upcoming EU H2020 project on Secure and Open Federation of IoT Systems (SOFIE) that is going to start 2018. The project plans to investigate use cases and ledger federation approaches to connect different types of IoT applications and their ledger infrastructure. I gave a talk on decentralized network infrastructure and considerations for T2T edge computing (as described earlier).

RIOT Summit 2017

The RIOT summit 2017 took place on Monday/Tuesday (September 25/26).  The keynote on Permutation-based Cryptography for the Internet of Things was presented by Gilles van Assche. The rest of the agenda was split up into topical sessions on IoT Security, Virtualization & Bootstrappping, Use Cases, and Networking. The second day featured different tutorials and coding sessions. In addition, there were many demos and posters on specific applications of RIOTs, new ideas etc.

In the Virtualization and Bootstrapping session, Marcel Enguehard talked about Cisco’s “Large-scale experiments on virtual ICN-based IoT networks with vICN“, an automated emulation platform, allowing for connecting physical devices for experiments.

In the Use Cases session, Michael Frey gave a presentation titled “Cloudy with a chance of RIOTS — Towards an Open Industrial Internet“, describing the R&D work at MSA on RIOT-based IoT appliances. In the same session,  Joern Alraun gave an introduction to the “Calliope mini“, a single-board computer for teaching. I am personally interested quite a bit in didactics of computer science (and am deploring the sad computer science education situation at most schools…).

In the Networking session, Vincent Dupont talked about “RIOT and CAN” and reported on OTAkeys’ development of a CAN implementation for RIOT (that has been integrated into the project) and its application to a commercial product related to vehicle on-board diagnosis (OBD). This resonated well with me, because I know how limited closed-source commercial OBD-2 adapters typically are, so the availability of an open platform sounds great for working with cars that use proprietary extensions etc.

Overall, the RIOT summit exhibited a vibrant community, and it was great to see an increasing number of commercial applications.

ACM ICN Conference

The ACM ICN 2017 Conference took place from Tuesday through Thursday (September 26 — 28). The first day saw three tutorials on 1) NDN, CCN-Lite, RIOT, 2) FD.io/cicn, and 3) Umobile, all of them were really well attended. The conference itself was organized into 6 technical sessions on Security, Architecture, Forwarding, Caching & Mobility, Infrastructure, and miscellaneous topics. In addition, there was a panel discussion on ICN & Operating Systems.

Jon Crowcroft presented the keynote on Private Namespaces in ICN. In his talk Jon made the connection of earlier work on reliable multicast (PGM — Pragmatic General Multicast) to ICN — both technologies can achieve scalable data distribution, albeit in different ways. He also made the connection of ICN and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) — as both technologies can be characterized as democratizing networking in their respective ways. ICN can provide a general-purpose multicast-like distribution infrastructure that can be used by anyone for any application without requiring prior contractual agreements, and DLT can be a basis for decentralized digital currencies and other ledger-based services in communication networks.

The best paper was titled “Jointly Optimal Routing and Caching for Arbitrary Network Topologies” (slides) by Stratis Ioannidis and Edmund Yeh. The paper presents polynomial time approximation algorithms for the (normally NP-hard) problem of jointly optimizing routing and caching for arbitrary topologies. This paper is noteworthy because the proposed solution can reduce routing cost in ICN dramatically, and furthermore, the work is applicable beyond ICN.

The Security session featured a paper titled “NDN DeLorean: An Authentication System for Data Archives in Named Data Networking” (slides) by Yingdi Yu, Alexander Afanasyes, Jan Seedorf, Zhiyi Zhang, and Lixia Zhang.  NDN DeLorean is  authentication framework to ensure the long-term authenticity of long-lived data, inspired by Certificate Transparency.   It is using a publicly auditable bookkeeping service approach to keep permanent proofs of data signatures and the times when the signatures were generated. I found this work interesting and important because it can provide a basis for trust management and attestation services in ICNs, with a purely data-oriented security approach.

In the Architecture session, there was a presentation of a short paper titled “Improved Content Addressability Through Relational Data Modelling and In-Network Processing Elements” (slides) by Claudio Marxer and Christian Tschudin. This work represents new ideas how relational database concepts can be applied to an ICN/NFN framework so that general-purpose processing of elements in ICN Named Data Objects becomes possible, which could be an interesting feature in NFN-based in-network computation, especially in application domains such as IoT. I found this work interesting and relevant because it can be seen as an ICN contribution to semantic interoperability, enabling application components to “talk” to each other across application silos.

The Forwarding session featured a paper titled “Path Switching in Content Centric and Named Data Networks” (slides) by Ilya Moiseenko and Dave Oran. The work described in this paper is leveraging the path symmetry in CCN/NDN for computing end-to-end label paths that can be used to steer forwarding of subsequent requests through the network. Over time, a consumer potentially different available paths for a certain prefix or set of prefixes and can then provide hints to forwarding nodes as to which particular path to use. I found this work interesting and relevant because it provides an MPLS-like functionality solely by leveraging data plane functions, i.e., unlike MPLS in IP, this approach would not need and label configuration and a corresponding control plane.

In the so-called Potpourri session, there was a presentation of a paper on ICN edge computing titled “NFaaS: Named Function as a Service” (slides) by Michael Krol and Ionnis Psaras, presenting an edge/fog computing extension to NDN that is leveraging very lightweight VMs, thus allowing dynamic code execution in a VM-based approach. Similarly to NFN, this work represents function names in Interest messages (that identify unikernel images). Some forwarding provide additional VM execution capabilities and can decide whether they want to fetch, store and execute the named images. NFaaS implements different forwarding strategies for delay-sensitive and for “bandwidth-hungry” services that can lead to different locations for the respective function execution. I found this work interesting and relevant because it proposes a framework for ICN-in network computation that enables certain useful optimizations with respect to function placement, without relying on centralized management with a  global network view.

A particular highlight of this year’s conference was the demo and poster session that featured 12 (!) demos and 13 posters, which was praised by many attendees. The best-demo award went to Nikos Fotiou, George Xylomenos, George Polyzos, Hasan Islam, Dmitrij Lagutin, and Eero Hakala for their demo on “ICN enabling CoAP Extensions for IP based IoT devices“. Another demo that impressed me was on “Panoramic Streaming using Named Tiles” by Kazuaki Ueda, Yuma Ishigaki, Atsushi Tagami and Toru Hasegawa. This demo showed how 360-degree video can be made more efficient through ICN by segmenting the video into named tiles that a consumer can request independently. A video renderer can thus request the required tiles for a particular field-of-view at a time only, thereby saving significant amount of bandwith. In conjunction with other ICN features such as caching and multipoint distribution, this approach can help to make 360-degree video much more viable in constrained networks.

Overall ACM ICN 2017 was a great research festival, and it was especially fascinating to see the all the different demos that applied ICN to a wide range of application domains, including IoT, video, tactical networks, robotics etc. I am really looking forward to ACM ICN 2018 that will be held at Northeastern University in Boston.

IRTF ICN Research Group

Finally, ICNRG had an interim meeting on Friday (September 29) that was focused on new research work and allowed a good amount of time for in-depth discussion (which is not always possible in the more rigid framework of an academic conference).

Michael Frey presented thoughts “Towards an ICN-powered Industrial IoT” and described specific requirements for MSA’s mobile safety appliances. The talk also provided some insights on the particular approach towards ICN for Industrial IoT at MSA and reported some intermediate experimentation results, for example using pub/sub communication in NDN.

Mayutan Arumaithurai and Dennis Grewe presented “Information-Centric Mobile Edge Computing for Connected Vehicle Environments: Challenges and Research Directions“. The talk featured the description of a mixed reality use case called “Electronic Horizon” for cars and a discussion of how its specific edge computing requirements can be met by ICN, pointing at interesting directions for future research.

Michael Krol talked about “Adapting ICN to Function Execution for Edge Computing” and the different research challenges he encountered such as PIT Expiry (when computations take longer…), security, authorization (for function execution), leveraging hardware-based cryptography and secure execution environments (SGX etc.).

This time, we tried a new interactive format at ICNRG which featured a panel-like discussion (with active participation from the rest of the group). The topic was “ICMP-like control-plane communication  for ICN“, following up on an earlier discussion at the last meeting and and on the mailing list. The discussion featured the following contributions:

  1. Non-Application Messages for ICN (Panel introduction by Dave Oran)
  2. Do we need an ICMP for NDN (Thomas Schmidt)
  3. Fraudulent Names (Christian Tschudin)
Full house at ICNRG when Dave Oran kicks-off a discussion in ICN control plane communication

Full house at ICNRG when Dave Oran kicks-off a discussion on ICN control plane communication

During the discussion we clarified what we mean by control messages and discussed several options for representing corresponding semantics in ICN (namespace, message types, header fields). Please consult our detailed meeting notes if you are interested in the discussion.

Bengt Ahlgren talked about “ICN Congestion Control — how to handle unknown and varying link capacity?” and kicked of a discussion on how ICN hop-by-hop congestion control should effectively work together with end-to-end (receiver-driven) congestion control.

Jacopo De Benedetto presented “Interconnection of testbeds to enable better testing” — proposing using the Geant Testbed Service (GTS) for future ICN testing.

Cenk Gündogan and Christopher Scherb provided an “update on CCN-lite and RIOT“. In 2017, the development of CCN-lite v2 has been kicked-off, with many improvements with respect to code modularity, functionality and implementation specifics. One of the planned changes is the introduction of static memory allocation which is deemed important on constrained platforms.

Cenk Gündogan also reported on his work on “CCN LoWPAN“, i.e., mapping the CCNx and NDN protocols to an IEEE 802.15.4 link layer, employing header compression for a more compact message format.

Finally, I provided a short summary of the IRTF T2TRG meeting earlier in the week (see above).

Disclaimer

I was not involved in the local meeting arrangement and general organization of these events. The heavy lifting has been done by Matthias Wählisch, Thomas Schmidt, Emmaniel Baccelli and many supporters at FU Berlin and HAW.

ChangeLog

  • 2017-10-12: Added correct link to ICNRG meeting minutes

Written by dkutscher

October 5th, 2017 at 12:13 am

Posted in Events

ICN Update after IETF-99

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Here is a quick (eclectic) summary of recent events in ICN at/around IETF-99 last week. ICNRG met twice: for a full-day meeting on Sunday and for a regular meeting on Wednesday. (Find a list of all past meeting, agendas, meeting materials, and minutes here.)

Edge Computing and ICN

We presented a summary of the recent Workshop on Information-Centric Fog Computing (ICFC) at IFIP Networking 2017, which featured a few papers on ICN edge computing in IoT and on Named Function Networking, one specific approach to marry access to static data and dynamic computing in ICN.

Moreover, Eve Schooler from Intel announced the three selected projects of the recent Intel/NSF-sponsored call for proposals for projects on ICN in the wireless edge:

Lixia Zhang presented an overview of the first project on Augmented Reality and described how the project conceives AR as one of several applications that can leverage a web of browsable named data, based on decentralized multiparty context-content exchange.

Finally, Yiannis Psaras presented his paper on Keyword-Based Mobile Application Sharing through Information-Centric Connectivity that won the Best Paper Award at ACM MobiArch 2016. In this paper, the authors describe a cloud-independent content and application sharing platform based on ICN.

ICN Demos

Luca Muscariello and Marcel Enguehard presented an overview of the Community ICN (CICN) activity in the Linux Foundation fd.io project and showed a demo of the software and their emulation environment.

IMG_20170716_123755

IMG_20170716_115833

CICN consists of several Open Source ICN implementations, including an efficient VPP-based forwarder implementations. Cisco made this software available after acquiring PARC’s implementation earlier this year.

ICN Specifications Moving Forward Towards Publication

ICNRG has completed its (research group) last calls on the two core specifications for the CCNx variant of ICN:

The fd.io CICN implementations are based on these specifications (that are intended to be published as Experimental RFCs).

ICNRG also started the Last Call for an Internet Draft on Research Directions for Using ICN in Disaster Scenarios that is intended to be published as an Informal RFC. There are a few additional documents that are nearing completion — see our Wiki for more information.

Upcoming Things

There a few exciting events around ICN taking place this summer/fall.

The ACM SIGCOMM ICN Conference 2017 is embedded into a week of cool ICN and IoT events:

  1. IRTF Thing-to-Thing-Research-Group meeting on September 23/24 (Saturday/Sunday)
  2. RIOT Summit 2017 on September 25/26  (Monday/Tuesday)
  3. The ICN Conference itself from September 26 through 26 (Tuesday through Thursday)
  4. IRTF ICNRG meeting on September 27 (Friday)

Moreover, ICNRG plans to meet at IETF-100, most likely on Sunday, November 11 and during the following week.

If you are working on ICN Security, there a current Call For Papers for an IEEE Communications Magazine Feature Topic on Information-Centric Networking Security.

 

 

 

 

Written by dkutscher

July 25th, 2017 at 11:52 am

Posted in Events

2015 ACM SIGCOMM ICN Conference has started

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The 2015 ICN conference has started in San Francisco today!

Program Overview

Wednesday

  • Tutorials on CCN and NDN
  • Posters and demostrations

Thursday

  • Keynote by Van Jacobson: Improving the Internet with ICN
  • Paper presentations on Routing, Node Architectures
  • Panel: ICN — next two years
  • Poster Presentations

Friday

  • Paper presentation on In-Network Caching, Content & Applications, Security
  • Posters and demostrations

 

 

Written by dkutscher

September 30th, 2015 at 6:53 pm

Posted in Events

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Managing Radio Networks in an Encrypted World

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I attended last week’s IAB/GSMA Workshop on Managing Radio Networks in an Encrypted World (MaRNEW).

The motivation for this workshop was the increasing trend of applying transport layer end-to-end encryption in major web applications such as Google services, YouTube, Netflix, Facebook and others. This trend will likely increase due to further deployment of HTTP/2 for which client implementations today try to setup TLS connections per default.

In mobile networks, traffic management but also additional services/functions have traditionally relied on being able to leverage knowledge about application type, application specifics. Example for such functions include policing/prioritization, optimized scheduling, caching, filtering, but also tracking, ad-insertion etc. In addition to functions that operators want to apply, there are also regulation requirements (depending on local legislation) for filtering, legal intercepting etc. that would become more difficult in the presence of ubiquitous encryption.

At the MaRNEW workshop, leading experts from network operators, vendors, application service providers, CDN providers and academic institutions discussed the impact of ubiquitous encryption as well as ideas for enabling an effective collaboration between the network, applications and users to enable optimal performance and resource efficiency.

In particular, the workshop addressed the following topics:

  • Understanding the bandwidth optimization use cases particular to radio networks;
  • Understanding existing approaches and how these do not work with encrypted traffic;
  • Understanding reasons why the Internet has not standardised support for legal interception and why mobile networks have;
  • Determining how to match traffic types with bandwidth optimization methods;
  • Discussing minimal information to be shared to manage networks but ensure user security and privacy;
  • Developing new bandwidth optimization techniques and protocols within these new constraints;
  • Discussing the appropriate network layer(s) for each management function; and
  • Cooperative methods of bandwidth optimization and issues associated with these.

Encryption: Technological and Business Aspects

It is not a secret that there are different aspects for discussing end-to-end encryption in public networks. Obviously, encryption helps with user privacy, and with the background of recent and current revelations of privacy breaches through pervasive monitoring, it has become common agreement that more (easily deployable) encryption would be useful to overcome this.

There is however also the business perspective: the Internet and specifically the eco system of mobile communication and service provision has multiple stake holders, each of those with their particular interests: network operators want to provide a useful service, in an economical way and may have an interest to enhance the overall service quality through various technical measures. Application service providers want their particular service to perform well over a range of different networks. Network equipment vendors have their product roadmaps and network architecture preferences etc.

Finally, there are the actual users of the system who have an interest in good quality of experience, cost-efficiency — and privacy. Privacy is not only a concern with respect to (illegal) pervasive monitoring by agencies, but also with respect to maintaining anonymity and confidentiality towards network and service providers. For many applications, user profiles, user-generated data etc. is also a key business asset — so there is a strong interest by different players to either get access to that data — or (depending on the nature of a player) to keep other players from accessing it — through encryption.

The MaRNEW workshop focused on the technological discussion.

Impact of Encryption

During the discussion the following main impacts of ubiquitous encryption on mobile network were identified:

  • Traditional ways of identifying and classifying network traffic (DPI) become more costly and potentially infeasible.
  • Traditional traffic management systems have relied on such classification, for different purpose: optimizing resource usage in access networks according to operator policies, forwarding of traffic through optimizers, caches etc., as well as filtering. Those approaches and the actual requirements behind them need to be revisited.
  • Content and service provisioning in both mobile and fixed networks today is heavily relying on CDN and in-network application functions. In addition, new approaches such as Mobile Edge Computing may shift more of such functions to access networks. The motivation is to provide better performance and cost efficiency through offloading networks (CDN cache hits) and through reducing latency and transport protocol performance (local control loops, reduced RTT to caches). Introducing more and more end-to-end encryption makes it impossible for operators to provide any application (or CDN-provider)-independent optimization functions. The alternative of running individual instances for each individual CDN provider does not seem promising. It could also be a major road block for future network and application innovation — because each of those individual functions might require upgrading to introduce in-network support for it.

Way Forward

cooperative-traffic-management

 

(Copyright 2015 NEC)

At the workshop, different solutions were discussed.

  • First, it was agreed that the actual impact needs to be understood better and ought to be quantified. For example, assuming that some knowledge about application types (or corresponding service quality expectations) could be leveraged by base stations for more efficient transmission scheduling (e.g., by delaying packets of non-latency-sensitive flows or by operating multiple queues for different flow types), networks should at least be able to obtain corresponding hints from senders. However, the actual impact and potential benefits have to be demonstrated. Operators will work on that issue.
  • The (Internet) transport protocol community has made significant progress in recent years on several fronts: Active Queue Management (AQM) such as fq_codel and PIE have been demonstrated to be able to improve load balancing and reduce latency in router queues. Moreover, transport protocol research has led to promising results (for example PCC — Performance-oriented Congestion Control). It was suggested that those mechanisms should be implemented and deployed where possible.
  • Several options for Cooperative Traffic Management have been discussed. For example this could included exchanging certain information between the network and senders/receivers. The network could inform endpoints better about congestion and non-congestion-induced problems (for example in an extended ECN fashion), or endpoints could inform the network about relevant meta information (application type, QoS requirements etc.). The latter could leverage existing technologies such as DiffServ. Potentially, it would be sufficient to distinguish delay-sensitive flows (e.g., for interactive real-time) and delay-tolerant flows (file download etc.). One interesting question is how endpoints would be incentivized to use such signaling correctly and how corresponding APIs would look like.
  • Overcoming the general limitations of connection-based security and its tendency to require application-specific (or CDN-provider-specific) in-network functions could require a more fundamental rethinking of network architecture and protocol layering. For example, Information-Centric Networking (ICN) would leverage object-security (authentication, encryption), hence enabling the network to implement functions such as caching, local transport strategies etc. in an application manner. This could be of particular relevance for 5G networks where a higher level of dynamicity in the creation and deployment of new OTT services are expected.

For the discussion of such solutions, I (together with several colleagues) have made two contributions to the workshop: 1) Enabling Traffic Management without DPI, and 2) Maintaining Efficiency and Privacy in Mobile Networks through Information-Centric Networking.

Enabling Traffic Management without DPI

Is DPI really needed for traffic management in mobile networks? Our position is “no”. Traffic management is usually realized through relatively simple mechanisms like rate shaping, prioritization, and dropping packets. Compared to these mechanisms, the semantics of applications that can be exposed through DPI are much richer; traffic classification anyway maps these semantics down to a simple set of categories.

The question then arises whether operators are really helped by brittle, insecure and expensive mechanisms for gaining higher fidelity information for the coarse traffic information for traffic management, or whether simple signaling would suffice for traffic classification for mobile network management purposes.

Obviously, when relying on endpoints to signal information about the underlying application which may be used to change the network’s treatment of that application’s traffic, questions of trust arise: how can the network be sure the endpoints are being honest, and prevent endpoints from gaming the system to their advantage (and the disadvantage of others); can these signaling approaches be used as an attack vector. Here the approach is to define the vocabulary of the signaling protocol to properly incentivize honest cooperation, while allowing the network to verify this cooperation.

We discuss two application-independent approaches for traffic management that are based on network-compatible metrics: ConEx Policing and low latency support with SPUD.


Congestion Exposure (ConEx) is a mechanism that enables senders to inform the network about previously encountered congestion in flows thus enabling senders and network infrastructure to respond to congestion based on operator policies. This information is provided in the IP header and can still be accessed even if the payload is encrypted. ConEx information is auditable by comparing the congestion level at network egress to the ConEx signal which incentivizes the sender to state its congestion contribution correctly.

Using ConEx would allow for a bulk packet traffic management system that does not have to consider application classes. Instead, with ConEx accurate downstream path information on incipient congestion are visible to ingress network operators. This information can be used to base traffic management on the actual current cost (which is the contribution to congestion of each flow) and enable operators to apply congestion-based policing/accounting depending on their preference and independent of application characteristics. Such traffic management would be simpler, more robust (no real-time flow application type identification required, no static configuration of application classes) and provide better performance as decisions can be taken based on the real actual cost contribution at each point in time.

The Substrate Protocol for User Datagrams (SPUD) is a new approach to selective information exposure designed to support transport evolution. SPUD is realized as a shim between UDP and an (encrypted) transport protocol. The basic SPUD protocol provides minimal sub-transport functionality by grouping of packets together into tubes and signaling of the start and end of a tube.

This will assist middleboxes in state setup and teardown along the path. Further, SPUD provides an extensible signaling mechanism based on a type-value encoding for associating properties with individual packets or all packets in a tube. The SPUD protocol can be used to signal low latency requirements from an endpoint to the network, or expose the existence of support for such services from the network to the endpoint. Therefore we propose to provide four SPUD signals: a latency sensitivity flag, a signal to yield to another tube, an application preference for a maximum single queue delay, and a facility to discover the maximum possible single queue length along the path.

Based on the latency-sensitivity flag a network operator can implement an additional service (as compared to today’s best effort service) that uses smaller queues and/or different AQM parameters without changing the service that is provided today. Signaling of lower queue priority or maximum single hop delay can further be used to preferentially drop packets of the same sender or within one flow. Information about expected queuing delays on the path can be used for buffer configuration at the endpoints.

The proposal is not intended as a blueprint for immediate implementation — but it demonstrates how cooperative traffic management could be implemented. In our view, cooperative traffic management requires a solid understanding of the interactions with transport layer and the corresponding performance impacts/improvements.

Maintaining Efficiency and Privacy in Mobile Networks through Information-Centric Networking

We present a solution to overcome the impasse of deploying confidentiality at the cost of breaking most of current network traffic engineering in mobile networks. Our proposition is based on Information-Centric Networking (ICN) which is a data-centric network architecture that gracefully incorporates security and traffic optimization.

Content-based security instead of connection based is the foundation of the Information-Centric Networking (ICN) architecture. In ICN, we provide a network service that directly implements the desired information-access abstraction. The network forwards requests for named data and corresponding responses containing the data. The name can be cryptographically bound to the data for ascertaining authenticity. This enables the network to replicate data objects in arbitrary locations, thus enabling ubiquitous caching. Object data can also be encrypted for user privacy, leaving other network-relevant information such as the name intact – thus maintaining options for traffic management, policing etc. The performance gains of having ICN in the mobile backhaul have been evaluated experimentally (see paper). ICN incorporates these ideas into a novel network layer providing all of the mentioned objectives without using man-in-the-middle like solutions.

ICN secures data itself by requiring producers to cryptographically sign every data packet: the signature constitutes the integrity meta-data. The data is uniquely identified by a name that is bound to the data via the signature. The producer’s public key to implement signature verification can be obtained by using the KeyLocator field which can be the name of the data containing the key of the producer. Authentication is implemented via the producer’s key that makes use of a trust model, e.g. PKI, Web-of-Trust that can be extended using key chaining to delegate trust to different sub-namespaces (for hierarchical naming). Confidentiality is obtained by encryption of the data payload using the producer’s key. Notice that authenticity, integrity and confidentiality are independent features.

Once data is published by the producer it can be stored in any location without affecting the security properties of the data which are location independent. Inter-networking of encrypted data is included by design in ICN and in-network caching is always possible with or without confidentiality. Authenticity might not be necessary in many cases so the authentication of the identity of the producer is optional. It is not mandatory either to verify the integrity of the data by verification of the signature. It is important to remark that ICN disantangles authenticity, privacy and integrity so that they can be handled in different ways and without the interaction of end-hosts.

TLS provides web security by encrypting a layer 4 connection between two hosts. Authenticity is provided by the web of trust (certification authorities and a public key infrastructure) to authenticate the web server and symmetric cypher on the two end points based on a negotiated key. In presence of TLS many networking operations become unfeasible: filtering, caching, acceleration, trans-coding.

ICN takes a radically different approach to guarantee confidentiality, authenticity and integrity by embedding them into a redefined network layer. Indeed, ICN builds on the abstraction of data requested, accessed, cached and forwarded by name: the network forwards requests coming from the consumer for named data and routes back data packets on the identical reverse path (symmetric routing).

The ICN communication model allows network nodes between a web server and a web client to operate as forwarding and storage functions to implement various inter-networking functionalities like caching or load balancing without relaxing any security feature. As a fully fledged data-centric network architecture, ICN incorporates mobility, storage, security and multi-point communication by design.

Written by dkutscher

September 28th, 2015 at 12:49 am

ICN-2015 Conference Program

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Join us for the ICN-2015 Conference in San Francisco from Sep. 30 to Oct. 2.

ACM ICN is an annual conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication (SIGCOMM) on information-centric networking.

In a nutshell, this year’s conference includes
– 1 keynote given by Van Jacobson
– 19 full papers presented in single track format
– 8 posters
– 10 demos
– 2 full-day tutorials
– 1 industrial panel

Conference details:
http://conferences.sigcomm.org/acm-icn/2015/

Registration details:
http://www.regonline.com/icn2015

Keynote:
– Van Jacobson, Internet pioneer and core architect of Named Data
Networking (NDN), will talk about “Improving the Internet with ICN”.

Tutorials:
– CCN: Practical CCNx – Protocol and Code
– NDN: Security & Synchronization in Named Data Networking (NDN)

Panel:
– Next Steps for ICN: Research, Applications, Deployment and Economics

Topics of papers, posters, and demos include:
– Architecture design and evaluation
– Comparison of ICN architecture proposals
– Limits and limitations of ICN architectures
– ICN evaluation methodology and metrics
– Evaluation of ICN benefits
– Analysis of scalability issues in ICN
– ICN enabled applications
– Routing in ICN networks
– Mobility support
– Trust management
– Access control mechanisms
– ICN economics and business models
– Tools and experimentation facilities
– Measurement methodologies
– Experience from implementations and experiments
– Specific scenarios and implementation approaches
– Feasibility studies for high speed networking
– Privacy
– ICN Deployment
– ICN APIs

Check out the program.

Written by dkutscher

August 20th, 2015 at 10:42 am

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ICN Researchers Meet in Cambridge, MA

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The ICN Research Group of the IRTF has met for a two day meeting in Cambridge, MA on January 13/14. More than 30 researchers from the US, Europe, China, and Japan gathered to discuss hot research topics in ICN such as:

  • Native ICN-based video streaming
  • Security (authenticated denial in ICN)
  • IoT and ICN
  • Hop-by-hop control messages in CCN
  • Named Function Networking

In addition, different groups presented updates on their current implementations and their design decisions for packet formats and ICN protocols. For CCN-based protocols further steps towards a common format have been made.

The next meeting (planned for the week of March 23rd in Dallas, at IETF-92) will continue the packet format discussion and progress new topics such as Named Function Networking.

 

Written by dkutscher

January 15th, 2015 at 3:42 pm

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Call for Papers: 2nd ACM Conference on Information-Centric Networking (ICN 2015)

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ACM ICN 2015, September 30 - October 2, 2015, San Francisco, USA

The Call for Papers for the 2nd ACM Conference on ICN is out:

 

                         Call for Papers

** 2nd ACM Conference on Information-Centric Networking (ICN 2015) **

 

Sponsored by ACM and ACM SIGCOMM

 

http://conferences.sigcomm.org/acm-icn/2015

 

San Francisco, USA, September 30 – October 2, 2015

 

 

Information Centric Networking (ICN) is a new network architecture intended to provide access to information without requiring an explicit binding of that information to a particular location. By directly addressing information, ICN supports mobile users and mobile networked devices, offers a higher-level communication service to applications, and promotes authentication and efficiency in the transmission and dissemination of information. Over the last few years, a global research and development community has grown around the idea of ICN.

 

ACM ICN 2015 is the second edition of the ACM Conference on Information-Centric Networking, which follows a series of workshops on ICN held in conjunction with the ACM Sigcomm conference.  ACM ICN 2015 is the premier international forum for researchers and practitioners to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, experiences, and challenges in information centric networking.  ACM ICN 2015 will be a single-track conference featuring paper and poster presentations, panel discussions, and demonstrations.

 

The Technical Program Committee of ACM ICN 2015 invites high-quality submissions describing unpublished research results in all aspects of ICN, with particular emphasis on contributions to architectural designs and reproducible experimental evaluations.  Papers submitted for consideration should not have been already published elsewhere and should not be under review or submitted for review elsewhere during the consideration period.

Specifically, authors are required to adhere to the ACM Policy and Procedures on Plagiarism

(http://www.acm.org/publications/policies/plagiarism_policy) and the ACM Policy on Prior Publication and Simultaneous Submissions (http://www.acm.org/publications/policies/sim_submissions).

 

Topics of interest include:

 

* Architecture design and evaluation

* Comparison of different ICN architectures

* Interoperability across ICN architectures

* ICN evaluation methodology and metrics

* Analysis of scalability issues in ICN

* ICN enabled applications

* Routing in ICN

* Transport issues in ICN

* Caching

* Mobility support

* Trust management and access control

* Management in ICN

* ICN economics and business models

* Tools, experimentation facilities, and measurement methodology for ICN

* Experience from implementation

* Feasibility studies of ICN for high speed networking

* Privacy

* ICN Deployment

* ICN APIs

 

———————–

Submission Instructions

———————–

 

Submitted papers can be up to 10 pages in length following the SIGCOMM format. All submissions must be in English and in PDF format. Submissions that do not comply with these instructions will be rejected without review.

Papers must be submitted electronically through the ICN 2015 submission site.

 

Submissions will be reviewed and evaluated on the basis of originality, importance of contribution, soundness, evaluation, quality of presentation and appropriate comparison to related work. The program committee as a whole will make final decisions about which submissions to accept for presentation at the conference. The program committee may propose that authors present their work with a poster accompanied by a 2-page extended abstract. ACM ICN 2015 also invites proposals for demos, tutorials and panel sessions.

 

—————

Important Dates

—————

 

Full Paper Submission: May 22, 2015

Acceptance Notification: July 20, 2015

Camera Ready Due: Aug. 15, 2015

Conference: September 30 – October 2, 2015

 

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Conference General Chairs

————————-

 

– Nacho (Ignacio) Solis (PARC, USA)

 

———————————-

Technical Program Committee Chairs

———————————-

 

– Antonio Carzaniga (USI, Switzerland)

– K. K. Ramakrishnan (UC Riverside, USA)

 

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Technical Program Committee Members

———————————–

 

– Mayutan Arumaithurai (University of Goettingen, Germany)

– Giuseppe Bianchi (University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Italy)

– Nicola Blefari-Melazzi (University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Italy)

– Jeff Burke (UCLA, USA)

– Kenneth Calvert (University of Kentuky, USA)

– Giovanna Carofiglio (Cisco)

– Patrick Crowley (Washington University, USA)

– Christian Esteve Rothenberg (UNICAMP, Brazil)

– JJ Garcia-Luna-Aceves (University of California Santa Cruz, USA)

– Toru Hasegawa (Osaka University, Japan)

– Jussi Kangasharju (University of Helsinki, Finland)

– Satyajayant Misra (New Mexico State University, USA)

– Vishal Misra (Columbia University, USA)

– Luca Muscariello (Orange Labs, France)

– Kiran Nagaraja (Ericsson)

– Dave Oran (Cisco, USA)

– Jörg Ott (Aalto University, Finland)

– Christos Papadopoulos (Colorado State University, USA)

– Craig Partridge (BBN, USA)

– Diego Perino (Alcatel Lucent, France)

– George Polyzos (AUEB, Greece)

– Yiannis Psaras (UCL, UK)

– Dipankar Raychaudhuri (Rutgers University, USA)

– Jim Roberts (IRT SystemX, France)

– Dario Rossi (Telecom ParisTech, France)

– Thomas Schmidt (HAW Hamburg, Germany)

– Jan Seedorf (NEC Labs Europe)

– Nacho (Ignacio) Solis (PARC, USA)

– Karen Sollins (MIT, USA)

– Christian Tschudin (Uni Basel, Switzerland)

– Arun Venkataramani (UMass, USA)

– Matthias Wählisch (FU Berlin, Germany)

– Roy Yates (Rutgers University, USA)

– Lixia Zhang (UCLA, USA)

 

 

————

More Details

————

 

Please see http://conferences.sigcomm.org/acm-icn/2015

 

Written by dkutscher

January 9th, 2015 at 9:57 am

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Open Standards, Open Source, Open Loop

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Dave Ward (Chief Architect at Cisco) gave an interesting lunch talk on the relationship between Open Standards and Open Source Software at IETF-91 today. Technologies such as OpenFlow and NFV are increasingly being advanced through Open Source Software projects that develop both individual components as well as larger systems. The developed artifacts are  sometimes being referred to as de-facto standards.

Dave gave some perspectives on how Open Source Software can help to speed up collaborative technology development and related this to standards work in the IETF and other bodies. Dave emphasized the importance of Open Standards for the development of Internet technologies but he pointed out that Open Standards can leverage Open Source to speed up specification development and to validate architecture and protocol specifications.

The talk suggested embracing Open Source Software development for standards work in the IETF, pointing at new working models and skill sets that were required for that.

Obviously, the IETF has always had a focus on running code for validating specification and several recent efforts have been leveraging OSS succesfully — for example CORE, DTN and many others. Still, there was agreement that there is room for extending and potentially institutionalizing this.

 

 

 

 

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November 14th, 2014 at 4:37 am

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1st ACM Conference on Information-Centric Networking (ICN-2014)

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ICN Conference Logo

Four days to go until our first ICN conference!

It’s going to be a blast of an event with a high-quality program, tutorials, demos, and panel discusions.

Check out the program: http://conferences2.sigcomm.org/acm-icn/2014/

Hope to see you in Paris at the conference.

 

Written by dkutscher

September 20th, 2014 at 6:25 pm

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SIGCOMM-2014 Workshop on Capacity Sharing (CSWS-2014)

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The program of our Capacity Sharing Workshop at SIGCOMM-2014 (CSWS-2014, August 18th in Chicago) is online. This should be an interesting workshop — we have received many interesting submissions and were able to compile a real good program:

 

Queuing and Scheduling

  •  Revisiting Old Friends: Is CoDel Really Achieving What RED Cannot? (Nicolas Kuhn, Emmanuel Lochin and Olivier Mehani)
  • Managing Fairness and Application Performance with Active Queue Management in DOCSIS-based Cable Networks (James Martin, Gongbing Hong and James Westall)
  • WQM: An Aggregation-Aware Queue Management Scheme for IEEE 802.11n Based Networks (Ahmad Showail, Kamran Jamshaid and Basem Shihada)

Transport Protocols

  • Coupled Congestion Control for RTP Media (Safiqul Islam, Michael Welzl, Stein Gjessing and Naeem Khademi)
  • Experimental Evaluation of Multipath TCP Schedulers (Christoph Paasch, Simone Ferlin, Özgü Alay and Olivier Bonaventure)

Mobile Networks

  • ConEx Lite for Mobile Networks (Steve Baillargeon and Ingemar Johansson)
  • Mobile Network Sharing Between Operators: A Demand Trace-Driven Study (Paolo Di Francesco, Francesco Malandrino and Luiz Dasilva)
  • Network Assisted Rate Adaptation for Conversational Video over LTE, Concept and performance evaluation (Ylva Timner, Jonas Pettersson, Hans Hannu, Min Wang and Ingemar Johansson)
  • Self-clocked rate adaptation for conversational video in LTE (Ingemar Johansson)
  • Dynamic Bandwidth Allocation for Multiple Network Connections: Improving User QoE and Network Usage of YouTube in Mobile Broadband (Florian Wamser, Thomas Zinner, Phuoc Tran-Gia and Jing Zhu)

 

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June 7th, 2014 at 2:59 pm

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