Software defined networking - The EXPRESS project

Software defined networking

The EXPRESS project, Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Telecomunicazioni (CNIT)

Future networks will be increasingly defined by software, and work is under way on software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). The EXPRESS project by CNIT researchers in Italy has the goal of designing and evaluating an innovative, resilient SDN system able to withstand attacks, failures, mistakes, and natural disasters and able to keep operating in fragmented and intermittently connected networks. Such a system will also be able to easily glue together separated networks or to form networks (e.g., mesh networks).

EXPRESS is designing SDN solutions for the setup and maintenance of the routing functionality necessary to discover the network topology and install and maintain the routing protocols, and for the setup and maintenance of associated SDN controllers.

Once the infrastructure is up and running, SDN will allow one to change the device configurations, if needed; to install/update policies for access control, tailored to specific environments and categories of users, or traffic engineering rules; to program security or launch monitoring actions, as a function of anomaly detection warnings; to offer a large set of virtualization functionalities.

The EXPRESS project researchers are testing their technology on OneLab, implementing their SDN infrastructure over three of its testbeds: PlanetLab Europe, NITOS, and w-iLab.t.

Education by experimenting online - FORGE

Education by experimenting online

FORGE, Students of Open University, iMinds, UPMC, University of Patras, NICTA

Forging Online Education through FIRE (FORGE) is an FP7 project bringing the FIRE and eLearning worlds together.

FORGE specifies development methodologies and best practices for offering experimentation facilities to learners and to the learning community in general. FORGE relates to communications and IT, as well as to other disciplines including the physical and social sciences. It will lead to a strong connection between the learning community and existing FIRE platforms and supporting tools.

The eLearning community will benefit from the use of very high performance facilities, provided as reusable learning solutions. Educators, content providers and students will acquire access to world-class facilities and use them to create and execute scientific experiments.

The FIRE eLearning tools and services developed by FORGE, as well as the associated learning materials will be made available as OERs, so that they can be reused and repurposed by the eLearning community for a variety of learning contexts.

The testbeds providing access to learners and preparing the prototype experimental online courses in FORGE are: Open University, iMinds, UPMC, University of Patras and NICTA. Thereby the OneLab testbeds made available are Planetlab Europe and w-iLab.t.

EVOLVE - D2D communications and cognitive radio systems


D2D communications and cognitive radio systems, WINGS ICT Solutions Ltd., Greece

Device-to-Device (D2D) communications and Cognitive Radio Systems (CRS) are emerging technologies that are expected to characterize the beyond 4G and 5G networks. According to the D2D paradigm, mobile devices are enabled to communicate directly with less dependency on the infrastructure, whereas according to CRS principles, they can use radio resources in an opportunistic and adaptive manner, so as to optimally serve their communication and application needs in specific time and location. D2D-CRS can take optimal decisions when they are fed with always up-to-date information that includes all layers of the protocol stack. This information can be obtained through Control Channels for Cognitive Radio Systems (CC-CRSs). CC-CRS convey information and knowledge on the context of operation (traffic/ mobility/ interference conditions, etc.), involved profiles (users/ applications/ devices) and the valid policies (set by the stakeholders). The goal of EVOLVE was to conduct Experiment-based Validation of Control Channels for Cognitive Radio Systems with the goal to showcase how they can be exploited in order to resolve coverage outage and network congestion through the exploitation of neighboring devices and the creation of D2D-CRS constructs.

EVOLVE was implemented in the w.iLab-t testbed, where mobile robots where exploited to act as mobile nodes (MN), while fixed nodes acted as access points (APs) and as relay nodes. Each node was enhanced with Java-based agents that add functionalities according to the role of each and also implemented the control channel through which the control messages are exchanged. The D2D-CRS were implemented through the use of the IEEE 802.11s standard that creates wireless mesh networks. In the experiment, a MN was served by a specific AP and thus, it could have access to various applications (ping, video streaming, file transfer). Due to the fact that other APs were also transmitting, thus causing  interference to the received signal of the MN, the MN was experiencing low Quality of Service (QoS) or even was going out of the coverage of the AP. Therefore, the proposed solution was to maintain the connectivity (or to improve the QoS) of the MN by exploiting the opportunities available because of the presence of neighboring relay nodes. Specifically, a path was identified that led to the AP through the exchange of control messages among the nodes that contained profile and contextual information, as well as valid policies, and the most suitable nodes (according to a fitness value) created a wireless mesh network (i.e. the D2D-CRS construct). In the MN, the received signal quality from the AP was monitored and if it dropped below a certain threshold or if the MN lost its connectivity, the procedure of the identification of a path to the AP through the neighboring nodes was initiated in order to create the mesh network. When the mesh network was established, the applications mentioned above were executed in the MN in order to measure their performance (in terms of throughput, delay, jitter, packet drop probability) in relation with the number of hops and the distance from the node that executed the traffic generation (i.e. the AP).

Regarding the obtained benefits, the user can achieve sufficient throughput and delay even when 5 hops are needed to communicate with the AP, due to the proximity of the devices. In addition, the operator can reduce its operating expenditure due to the fact that the devices can exploit their neighbours in order to maintain their QoS and there is no need for deployment of more infrastructure nodes. Finally, it should be noted that the developed solution takes into account the overhead of the signalling load. Therefore, in our experiment with 20 terminals the signalling load was around 2 Mbps.

DIGGING - IOT exercises before building the system


IOT exercises before building the system, HiKoB

We are creating a world of sensors. Their effective and reliable communication is an important R&D topic as such. Before installing sensors into their intended contexts, their durability, communication restorability, and performance over time under varying conditions need to be tested.

HiKoB is a French SME developing and manufacturing sensor systems, which a) collect in-field physical data, b) turn the raw data into useful information, and c) store or route information through wireless communications. Application areas range from human body measurements to route condition control systems. Before launching an expensive digging project to install weather condition sensors in the streets of Greater Lyon, the sensors benefited from testing and development on FIT-IoT LAB platforms.

  • 9 sites connected via the Traffic Light Optical Fiber Network or 3G network
  • 60 deployed sensors
  • Real-time information: environment condition and road condition.

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