The development of intelligent methods of network management is one of the most relevant areas of research in the field of computer networks. Advances in this area will give us an opportunity to improve network performance by more efficient use of available resources and optimize network operation for specific applications . Such an optimization is often of fundamental importance because it can yield a competitive advantage. For example, it may be useful in the organization of cloud computing, in live streaming with content delivery networks, in building interactive online services and games, in consolidation of sensors and actuators which form the basis of IOT.
Our laboratory is working in several areas of adaptive communication:
- Adaptive configuration of network applications and switching equipment.
- Network protocols with configurable semantics.
- Programmable packet processing.
The idea of this area is to automate assignment of configurable network parameters of the network, as derived from the current state of the network environment. Laboratory staff has accumulated extensive experience in working with multipath transport connections, which distribute the data to several routes through the network. The original development of the laboratory is the FDMP Protocol, which provides a predetermined quality of network connections by the built-in mechanisms of changing the number of routes involved by them and redistribution of these routes over the network topology.
Modern network applications and services de facto are based on two main protocols: UDP, which is simple but unreliable, and TCP, which is reliable but not transparent. However, the abstractions and interfaces offered by these protocols are not well suited for all tasks which appear in practice. Research in this area suggests increasing connection performance by increasing flexibility of interfaces and services, which are provided by transport protocol, and adjusting these interfaces depending on the requirements of a particular distributed application.
Inside this issue our laboratory is working on building lightweight methods of processing network traffic packets, inter-layer optimization of the network stack, expanding the functionality of network equipment. One of the most urgent tasks of this topic is the development of proxy servers suitable for splitting long transport connections into sequences of shorter connections in order to optimize them for the correspondent network segments.
The specificity of the research in the field of adaptive communications is in close intersection of network engineering and software engineering, since networks are moving away from proprietary devices with fixed functionality and are moving towards open, programmable interfaces, and formal mathematical approach. The Laboratory provides its students have an opportunity to work with modern equipment (powerful servers, fiber optic lines, high-performance switches), to enhance programming skills (distributed architecture, network stack, Linux kernel), and to apply their mathematical knowledge in practice.