It is becoming increasingly clear that a clean-slate architectural design of the network protocol stack is an essential target for next-generation IP networks and network routing applications. A major challenge in realizing the required enhanced capabilities in next-generation networks lies in overcoming the current limitations due to the rigid notion of network layering. To address the research agenda of future networking infrastructures, our goal is to achieve a cross-layer communication infrastructure to provide bidirectional information exchange between layers. Enabling programmable interaction with the optical substrate will allow the higher layers dynamic access to the full optical bandwidth. Our goal is to create an intelligent, dynamic, programmable, network and application layer aware optical substrate, where data introspection and optical performance monitoring measurement data can be leveraged for cross-layer communications to impact network routing and performance.
Challenges facing the access and core networks stem from the rapidly growing number of users and applications that demand dynamic reconfigurability in a highly aggregated network environment. CIAN, an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC), is a multi-university collaboration to address the bottleneck in the access network. Our role as part of the networking Thrust is to create a seamless high-bandwidth optical equivalent of the access network with cross-layer capabilities. The full endeavor includes developing a programmable and flexible platform for cross-layer information exchange and optimization based on an optical network test-bed. Modifications to the basic buffer architecture have allowed for the experimental implementation of an optical network interface buffer, realizing a control plane interface that transparently processes multi-wavelength optical messages and reconfigures the optical switching fabric to instantiate the lightpath topology. The interoperability between the implemented interface buffer and network test-bed demonstrates dynamic queue management and cross-layer signaling.
Our CIAN Thrust also drives the development of networking functionalities within the CIAN test-bed, such as programmable high-bandwidth multicasting. The network test-bed architecture has been uniquely adapted to support future cross-layer communication capabilities.