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Groundbreaking Demonstration Sets Stage for New Interdomain SDN Applications and Research Collaborations

Oct 14, 2014, by Edward Moynihan
Tags: Advanced Networking, African Research and Education Community, International, International Community, international partnerships, Research Solutions, Research Support, Research Support Center, Research Technology, Software Defined Networking

Applications use fine-grained routing policies for optimal performance across domains

A groundbreaking demonstration at the Chinese American Networking Symposium CANS2014, held at New York University, showed how innovative interdomain software-defined networking (SDN) applications and supporting services can deliver the same advantages to cross-domain applications as already benefit single-domain applications. This is important news in a world that depends more and more on a multidomained Internet.

SDN extends the power of programming into the network infrastructure itself, enabling the fine-tuning of network performance to meet the unique demands of particular applications. But due to the challenges of the multidomained Internet, implementations have been confined to one domain at a time. For global research to fully realize the advantages of SDN technology, it must be integrated at a global, interdomain level. The CANS Future Internet Working Group (FIWG), created at CANS2012, set out to do just that.

From the CANS FIWG (from left): Jun Bi, Tsinghua University/CERNET; Stephen Wolff, Internet2; John Hicks, Internet2

Supported by a remote research team in Tsinghua University, Jun Bi, Tsinghua University/CERNET, presenting on behalf of the FIWG on September 15, 2014, built on the group’s CANS2013 demo. The 2013 session highlighted how SDN views could be exchanged by the enhanced version of WE-Bridge mechanism between domains to compute routing paths and support multiple paths to the same destination based on different source Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. This year, FIWG demonstrated how fine-grained routing policies can be set between SDN domains using IP addresses that belongs to VIP customers and transport-layer user datagram protocol (UDP) ports, allowing separate domains to create cooperative, service-specific paths.

As Steve Wolff, Internet2 interim vice president and chief technology officer, explained, “This capability is important because different applications and services often have different routing performance requirements. For example, real-time streaming must have a reliable communication channel in case of link failure, while peer-to-peer (P2P) file transport is less sensitive to physical path failure.”

Using the FIWG’s SDN testbed, two network-intensive applications—a videoconference and video on-demand—were pitted against each other. In the case of the videoconference, an alternative VIP path was set through the other domains, but not for the video on-demand application. When a critical link failure was introduced, the videoconference could be continued via the alternative path, whereas the video on-demand service was broken.

“In traditional Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routing, it is difficult to assign particular routing policies to specific applications,” said Jun Bi. “With interdomain SDN, it’s easy.”

FIWG interdomain SDN testbed contributors include Tsinghua University/China Education and Research Network (CERNET), Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT), China Science and Technology Network (CSTNET), Internet2, and SURFnet (the national research and education network of the Netherlands). Contributors pioneer the first wave of interdomain SDN research, participate in testing novel support mechanisms for interdomain SDN applications, and study ways to meet their own large-scale, global research and collaboration requirements.

The FIWG is looking for new partners to support an expanded demonstration at next year’s Asia Pacific Advanced Network APAN39 meeting in Fukuoka, Japan.