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Routing for the internet's growth

Projects news & results: 18/03/2014 - 17:06
The EULER project has developed a blueprint for a novel distributed and dynamic routing system that can overcome the challenges posed by the internet’s rapid growth and evolution – along with the tools to help make the concept a reality.

Currently the internet’s routing mechanisms are not dynamic enough and not scalable enough to keep up with its expansion. Looking at possible solutions, the EULER team designed and experimentally valuated novel dynamic internet-wide routing
models and algorithms – taking into account future changes.

The project became among the first to conduct largescale routing experimentation involving thousands of emulated components on FIRE’s test beds, the team says. The experiments involved prototyping a routing engine and emulating routers to reproduce most of the actions an actual
routing engine performs.

THE BENEFITS OF EMULATION

EULER combined emulation with simulation experiments, which allowed the team to evaluate and compare the performance of routing models and algorithms. Emulation experiments complemented the results from simulation by focusing on trends and sensitivity in time and resource consumption of the routing components under different
conditions.

Emulation allowed the team to evaluate time-related metrics (for example, convergence time and the proportion of time needed performing routing sub-functions) in a more realistic
manner and in more detail.

All actions that corresponding routing engines could execute were also modelled in the emulated prototype. This approach allowed the research team to compare and infer trends under controlled but changing parameters of the same emulation prototype, or between similar software prototypes running
under comparable conditions.

The team was also able to evaluate resource-related metrics, such as CPU usage, and memory space, in a more detailed manner – the resources consumed by the prototype provided the means to estimate the actual resources integrated
production systems would consume.

FAR-REACHING RESULTS

As a result of the testing, EULER developed new approaches to measuring the internet’s behaviour, which are expected to be more widely appropriate for understanding complex networks. The project’s designs for routing schemes are aimed at helping sustain growth and evolution of the internet’s infrastructure; they can be scaled independently of the number of network nodes, links and reachable address prefixes. They also rely on an addressing system not subject to allocation policies, and support resiliency and recoverability when
network failures occur.

The project’s dynamic multicast routing scheme (referred to as GCMR for Greedy Compact Multicast Routing) positions itself as an alternative to the PIM/mBGP routing scheme currently used for IPTV. The first demonstration was conducted at the
Hands-On FIRE! event at the FIA-Dublin on May 2013.

SOME RECOMMENDATIONS

The findings led the EULER team to call for FIRE to extend its facilities by offering software platforms tailored to help researchers perform emulation experiments themselves, without relying on highly skilled system and software
engineers.

These platforms should be able to help researchers evaluate, validate and verify their state-of-the-art proposals instead of limiting their experimental work – as it is often the case today – to the execution of one of many designs on open software
engines, the team says.

Failing to extend experimental facilities beyond interconnected hardware would limit access by forcing researchers to perform experiments only by simulation, the team adds.


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