"Providing Services in Reconfigurable Overlay Networks"

Todd Sproull
Washington University in Saint Louis


Today, military networks are limited by bandwidth constraints and have limited node connectivity. New adhoc networks are needed to perform neighbor node discovery, user authentication, and tunneling of sensitive data. Optimal use of limited bandwidth requires more dynamic intelligent bandwidth management. Nodes with Programmable Logic Devices can be used to shape traffic and provide security. Distributed network management schemes can program the hardware to perform different queuing strategies and dynamically adjust policies based on network conditions.

In an unstructured Peer-to-Peer network, a significant amount of bandwidth is required to setup an overlay network. Once setup, the overlay network facilitates discovery of additional nodes to maximize global knowledge. To prevent flooding of traffic in the overlay network, Super Nodes can be established to coordinate communication between nodes. Super nodes implemented with reconfigurable hardware can perform data processing services for the network to enforce Quality of Service for Voice, transport Voice over IP (VoIP), and transcode video.

To validate the operation in dynamic hierarchical overlay networks, the Open Network Laboratory (ONL) has been augmented with a node that contains Field Programmable Port Extender (FPX) hardware. Integrating programmable hardware into other larger scale network testbeds, such as DETER and EMULAB, is possible. Experiments run on ONL demonstrates that enhanced QoS can be provided with Super Nodes. By integrating FPGA hardware into ONL, intelligent bandwidth management is demonstrated using metrics collected in real-time by ONL utilities integrated with the reconfigurable hardware modules on the extensible network switch.


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